Family Sharing is one of the greatest new features of iOS 8. If you and your family use iOS devices, you already know that up until now, you had to share the actual physical device with other members of your family if they wanted to use something you had purchased like music, movies and even apps. With Family Sharing, however, those days are gone as the whole family can now share purchases from iTunes and the App Store without even sharing the same Apple ID. I will first outline the features of the service and then tell you how to set it up so you can scroll right down to the end if that is all you are looking for.
An overview of Family Sharing
Although the feature is pretty fantastic, there are some limits to what you can do with the service. For example, not all purchased apps will be available to share with the feature as some of them require specific accounts in order to use them or have other limitations that prevent them from being used here and Apple obviously cannot make them change these in order to fit with the Family Sharing plans. However, there are a lot of other things you can do with the service:
-Share any songs, movies, books, TV series, eligible apps and any other digital content.
-Share your photos, either automatically or manually.
-Create and share family calendars, separate from your private ones.
-Easily restrict purchases for anyone under the age of 18.
-Share your location and locate the devices of other family members that belong to the same group.
Managing the family group is quite flexible but group creation is limited to two per year. That means that if you delete your first group, the second one is all you will get for one year. Fortunately, it is very easy to delete family members instead of closing down your group. Just make sure you remember this.
Another thing that is very much worth noting is that even if you delete family members, they will be able to retain access to whatever content you had shared with them before they were thrown out of the group. The content will be available to their specific Apple ID but any content purchased and shared with the group afterward will be locked to them.
Requirements of the service
Even though you probably understand it already, all devices you want to enlist in the program need to be running iOS 8 or above, otherwise they will not be able to use the service. Up to six family members can be added at any given time so that should not be a problem for most of you. Once you are in a group, any purchase you try to make will be billed to the “family organizer” (more on that later). The only time this is not true is if you have iTunes credit in your own account as that is used first. With all of that in mind, it is finally time to show you how to actually set the service up.
Setting up Family Sharing
The person who will set Family Sharing up will become the aforementioned family organizer. This person will have control over what happens with the other iOS devices in the group. Anyone under the age of 18 will be automatically restricted, meaning the family organizer will have to approve of their purchases before they go through. Such restrictions cannot be placed on adult members of the group for obvious reasons.
1. Launch the Settings app in your iOS device (iPhone or iPad, it does not matter).
2. Tap on iCloud.
3. Tap on Set Up Family Sharing…
4. Tap on the Get Started link.
5. Make sure the Apple ID it shows is yours if you are the family organizer. If it is, tap on Continue. Otherwise, log in as the appropriate user and then tap on it. Note that you might be required to log in again anyway.
6. Agree with the terms and conditions.
7. If your payment method is already listed, tap on Continue. Otherwise you will be required to add it before you can proceed.
8. Choose whether you want use the Share Your Location feature. You can always set this up later so skip it if you are unsure.
9. Tap on the Add Family Member… option.
10. Type the names of your family members and tap on them in order to add them to the group.
11. Revise your options. At this point you might also be required to verify your payment method.
Your role is pretty much done at this point. Each and every family member you added to the group will get both an email and a push notification that will ask them to accept your invite to the group. Once they do, the group and all that comes with it will be official.