How to Use Family Sharing

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Using Family Sharing on iOS

How to use Family Sharing

Last Updated: Nov. 25, 2014  

With Family Sharing, members of the same family can share each other's purchases from the iTunes Store and App Store—music, movies, TV, apps, books—for free. It's a great benefit to families and an easy tool to use, though there are some nuances that are worth understanding. 

Requirements to use Family Sharing:

With those requirements met, here's how you use it:

Downloading Other People's Purchases

The major feature of Family Sharing allows every member of the family to download each others' purchases. To do that:

  1. Open the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks apps on your iOS device
  2. In the iTunes Store app, tap the More button in the bottom right; in the App Store app, tap the Updates button in the bottom right; in the iBooks app, tap Purchased and skip to step 4
  3. Tap Purchased
  4. In the Family Purchases section, tap the name of the family member whose content you want to add to your device
  5. In the iTunes Store app, tap Music, Movies, or TV shows, depending on what you're looking for; in the App Store and iBooks app, you'll see the available items right away
  6. Next to each purchased item is the iCloud download icon—the cloud with a down-facing arrow in it. Tap the icon next to the item you want and it will download to your device.
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Using Family Sharing in iTunes

use family sharing in itunes

Family Sharing allows you to download other people's purchases through the desktop iTunes program, too. In order to do this:

  1. Launch iTunes on your desktop or laptop
  2. Click the iTunes Store menu near the top of the window
  3. On the main iTunes Store screen, click the ​Purchased link in the right-hand column
  4. On the Purchased screen, look for your name next to the Purchased menu in the top left corner. Click on your name to see the names of the people in your Family Sharing group. Select one of them to see their purchases
  5. You can select Music, Movies, TV Shows, or Apps from the links at the top right
  6. When you've found an item you want to download, click the cloud with the down-facing icon to download the item to your iTunes library.
  7. To add the purchase to your iOS device, sync your device and iTunes.
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Use Family Sharing with Kids

Enable to Ask to Buy Feature of Family Sharing

Turning On Ask to Buy

If parents want to keep track of their kids' purchases—either because the Organizer's credit card will be charged or because they want to control their kids' downloads—they can turn on the Ask to Buy Feature. To do this, the Organizer should:

  1. Tap the Settings app on their iOS device
  2. Scroll down to the iCloud many and tap it
  3. Tap the Family menu
  4. Tap the name of the child who they want to enable the feature for
  5. Move the Ask to Buy slider to On/Green.

Requesting Permission for Purchases

If you have Ask to Buy Turned on, when kids under 18 who are part of a Family Sharing group try to purchase paid items at the iTunes, App, or iBooks store, they will have to request permission from the group Organizer.

In that case, a pop-up window will ask the kid if they want to request permission to make the purchase. They tap either Cancel or Ask.

Approving Children's Purchases

A window then pops up on the Organizer's iOS device, in which they can tap Review (to see what their child wants to buy and approve or deny it) or Not Now (to postpone the decision to later).

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