How to Set up Family Sharing on iPhone

Share apps, music, and more between iPhones in your household

Three kids on a bed, all using smartphones

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The Apple Family Sharing feature in iPhone and iTunes lets families share content that one member bought or downloaded. This feature saves money and lets entire families enjoy the same entertainment. This article shows you how to set up Family Sharing on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

The Apple Family Sharing feature requires an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 8 or higher; or a Mac running macOS 10 or later. It also requires an Apple ID for everyone in the Family Sharing group.

While Family Sharing runs on iOS 8 and up, the instructions in this article are demonstrated using recent models of the iPhone running iOS 12 and iOS 11.

Set up Family Sharing on the iPhone

A parent should set up Family Sharing. The person who initially sets up Family Sharing will take on the role of the Family Organizer and will have the most control over how the system works.

To set up Family Sharing:

  1. Go to Settings, tap your name, then tap Set Up Family Sharing.

    Set Up Family Sharing option on an iPhone
  2. Tap Get Started, then select the first category of purchases you'd like to share. Confirm the account you want to use for setup and tap Continue.

    Setting up Family Sharing on an iPhone
  3. You'll be asked if you want to be the Family Organizer. Confirm that you do and that you're signed in with your Apple ID.

  4. Confirm that the credit or debit card on file is the one that you want to use for shared purchases. You can do this on the payment screen. This card will be used for your purchases and for purchases made by everyone in your Family Sharing group.

    You can invite family members at this point, but you can skip it for the initial setup.

    Confirming payment and skipping inviting family members for Family Sharing
  5. Tap Share Your Location to enable a feature that allows your family members to see where you are whenever your phone is online and using Messages, Find My Friends, or Find My iPhone.

To learn more about location sharing on the iPhone, find out how to use Find My Friends For iPhone and iPad and how to share your location on iPhone or iPad.

Invite Others to Join Family Sharing

With Family Sharing set up, it's time to add members to your family. Technically, these don't have to be people who are related to you. You can create a Family Sharing group with anyone, but you have you be comfortable with them downloading your content and making purchases using your credit or debit card.

To invite other family members to join the group: 

  1. Open the Settings app and tap your name.

  2. Tap Family Sharing.

  3. Tap Add Family Member.

  4. Tap Create a Child Account to make a new Apple ID for someone under 13 or choose another option to send an invitation using a different method.

    Adding a family member to Family Sharing on an iPhone
  5. Follow the onscreen instructions. 

To see if someone you invited to your Family Sharing group has accepted the invitation, open the Settings app, tap your name, then tap Family Sharing.

After each new member of your Family Sharing group has accepted the invitation, they have to decide whether to share their location. This can be useful — it's valuable to know where your family is, both for safety and for purposes of meeting up.

When prompted, each family member should either tap Share Location or Not Now.

If the Family Sharing group includes other options such as a shared calendar, the user accepting the invitation will also decide whether or not to opt into those features.