How to Remove a Child From Family Sharing

Child grimacing in front of parents

Fabrice LEROUGE/ONOKY/Getty Images

Family Sharing is the feature of the iOS that lets families share their iTunes and App Store purchases without having to pay for them multiple times. It's convenient, useful, and pretty easy to set up and use. Pretty easy except when it comes to one thing: removing children from Family Sharing.

In one scenario, Apple has made it very difficult — and in one case to, but not quite, impossible — to end Family Sharing for some kids.

Removing Kids 13 and Older From Family Sharing

No problems here. The good new is that kids who are 13 years and older who are included in your Family Sharing group can be removed very easily. All you need to do is follow the same steps to remove them as you would to remove any other user from your Family Sharing group. 

Removing Kids 13 and Under From Family Sharing

Here's where things get complicated. Apple doesn't allow you to remove a child under the age of 13 from your Family Sharing (in the U.S., at least. The age is different in other countries). Once you've added a child that young to your Family Sharing group, they're there to stay — until they turn 13, at least. 

This means that if you've started Family Sharing and added a child under 13, you cannot remove them on your own. It's a weird and frustrating limitation, but there are a few ways you can potentially get out of this situation:

  1. Disband the family. Not your real-life family (that would be a pretty extreme reaction!), your Family Sharing group. If you want, you can disband the entire Family Sharing group and start again. When you do that, just don't add the child under 13 to the group and you'll be OK.
  2. Transfer the child to another family. Once you've added a child under 13 to Family Sharing, you can't delete them, but you can transfer them to another Family Sharing group. To do that, the Organizer of another Family Sharing group simply needs to invite the child to join their group. Learn how to invite users to Family Sharing in step 3 of How to Set up Family Sharing for iPhone and iTunes.
    The Organizer of your group will get a notification asking them to approve the transfer and, if they do, the child will be moved to the other group. So, the child's Family Sharing account won't be truly deleted, but it won't be your responsibility any longer.  
  3. Call Apple. If transferring a child to another Family Sharing group isn't an option, your should call Apple. While Apple doesn't give you a way to remove a child from Family Sharing using software, the company does understand the situation and can help.
    Call 1-800-MY-APPLE and talk to someone who can provide support for iCloud. Make sure you have all of the right tools handy: the email address for the account of the child you want to remove and your iPhone, iPad, or Mac so that you can log into your account. Apple support will walk you through the process of removing the child, though the official removal can take up to 7 days. 

After the Child Is Removed From Family Sharing

Once the child is removed from your Family Sharing group, all content they downloaded to their device from other Family Sharing users will no longer usable. It will remain on their device until it is either deleted or repurchased. Any content shared from that child to the family group that they're no longer part of becomes inaccessible to other people in the same way.