Apple’s previous devices, mobile operating systems were superb without any doubt, but they always lacked one facility, and that was – inability to share the purchased apps, books and music among family members. To make it happen, users had to sign out of their iTunes account, then to sign in to intended family member’s iTunes account, and then to download the copy of intended purchased app or music from there. Big thanks to Family Sharing feature of iOS 8, that we don’t need to follow this hassle process anymore. The said feature is easy to use and in this post, you will learn all about it.
Setting up Family Sharing
Of course, in order to use this superb feature, the very first thing you need to do is to setup this feature. It’s pretty easy to do. Just tap Settings > iCloud > Set Up Family Sharing in your iOS 8 based smartphone. Soon, Family Sharing window will come up on screen which describes all features that you get in it. To tell you short, the feature lets you share the purchased movies, music, books, and other apps with your family members with ease. Only eligible apps can be shared though; and unfortunately, for now, many apps are not eligible. In the Family photo stream, you can share photos and videos with ease. Family calendar helps you to schedule the events. You can also share your location with your friends and can help your family members search for the missing devices. To initiate the setup process, you just need to click Get Started link.
In the window that comes up, your role is of family organizer. You can easily invite members of your family to the Family Sharing account, and then pay for your or whatever they buy for themselves from the iTunes. You can see the image and email address linked with the account here only. Tap “Not [your name] or want to use a different ID?” in just the case you wish to use any other account. Go to iCloud Settings and there sign out of whatever Apple ID you are currently signed in. Sign in to the intended Apple ID now. Of course, you might be happy with already signed in ID. In that case, you just need to tap Continue.
In the window that follows, you will be told that iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases of yours will be shared soon. In case you go with the default settings and do not imply and restriction on family members, they will be able to see your purchased content and download it as well. Now, to proceed ahead, tap Continue.
Next you will see Payment Method which displays credit card associated with your account. Soon you will see Ask to Buy option. Here you can setup the things to make children of your family to have your permission before they buy anything from any of online stores of Apple. Managing Family Purchases link should be followed by you if you want to know more about this impressive feature. Once you are all done, just tap Continue to go ahead.
Share Your Location is the next window that comes up. This window allows you to share your location with your family members with ease. With this, you can know all the time where particular family member of yours is at the moment. When you use Share Your Location, your family members can tap Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod option to know the location of your device. If you want to skip it, tap the Not Now option. Of course, you can setup it anytime later you want to. If you want not to share your location with your family, then tap the Settings > iCloud > Share My Location. There, toggle off the switch meant for Share My Location option.
After performing all this, you will be taken to Family screen of iCloud settings. Organizer is the name you get here, and the Add Family Member link lies below it.
The family members you want to add must have their Apple ID. It’s well and good if they have them, but, if they don’t have, then can head over to Settings > iCloud to create one for them in no time.
On the Family Screen, there lies Create an Apple ID For A Child link, that is meant to create ID for children below 13. By clicking this link, you can start the creation process. You are required to enter birth date of child. You must agree to Parent Privacy Disclosure form. Enter child’s first and last name, create desired name for account, enter security code for the credit card that is linked with the account, answer three security questions, create password, setup Ask To Buy feature, agree to Apple’s terms and conditions. Once you are done with all these, you have successfully added child as family member.
You will soon be notified about this new addition via email. Name of child will appear below yours. You can impose the intended restrictions on child by heading over to Settings > General > Restrictions section.
Adding other family members
In the Family Screen, there is link that reads Add Family Member. This is meant to add new family members who have got an Apple ID already. Clicking on the said link will bring Add Family Member window. In this window, there is To field, in which you are supposed to enter the email address associated with their Apple ID. Once you are done with it, tap Next. In the window that follows, tap Ask This Person to Enter Password link to enter the password of intended member’s Apple ID. The alternate way here is to send email invitation to the intended member.
If you go with the latter option, then you need to select intended member’s address that you will see in the window that follows. You will find Invitation sent entry below the address. Select it and the person will receive email invitation in no time. The recipient need to tap View Invitation, which will take them to iCloud Invitations screen. Here they can either accept or decline the invitation. If they opt for the former option, they can then add photo to their identity. Clicking on Confirm will make sure that they confirm to be part of your Family Sharing account.
Share Purchases screen appears next on iOS device. Apple ID and password must be added by them to share the purchased items. Then they can select if they wish to share the location with other members. That’s how they become part of your Family Sharing account.
Managing existing members
In your Family Sharing group, you can have up to six members. Once you are done with adding intended members, the next thing you need to learn is managing the existing members. You can add or remove a member by tapping his/her name.
It you have tapped on adult member’s account, you can tap the switch meant for Parent/Guardian option. Here you will be able to see Ask to Buy requests from children. If, for any reasons, you want to remove any particular member, then also you can do it with ease. Just tap on that member’s name and then tap the Remove button. By removing the member, he/she will loose access to shared content in no time. The shared app or other content will still exist on member’s device, but he/she will have to pay from the own pocket to keep using that content.
Ask to Buy option is a boon if you have children in your Family Sharing account. You can enable or disable this option anytime you want to.
What about the children?
If you are going to add child members below age 13, then let me tell you that you can’t remove them at all. Still, you have power to transfer them to any other family group. For this, the new account holder must send invitation to the child. The current account holder needs to agree to it, which then brings the turn of new account holder, who is supposed to go through parental consent form, and to provide the security code for the credit card associated with his/her account. The child is finally removed from old account and is added to new one.
Once children below age 13 are up from this age, they can declare their independence. Since birth date is entered when making account, so device will automatically know when a particular child comes out of the age limit. Then, they can tap Settings > iCloud > Family and can tap Leave Family after selecting their name, to leave the family group.
Since you are organizer of family group, you can disband it anytime you want to. Simply tap on your name on Family screen and then tap Stop Family Sharing. All family calendar, shared photo albums, that you shared in the group with your family members once, are kept intact. But this will make family members loose access to them, and also they won’t be able to use Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod. Before disbanding the group, make sure to transfer the account of child if you have any.
Family Sharing feature of iOS 8 is indeed a boon, and I’m sure that you all know it by now. But, not to forget, it has some limitations too. As already said, you can have only up to six members in one group. One Apple ID can be linked to one family group only. You can switch between groups only twice per year.
Get in on the family plan
Like said already, what was a tedious task in previous iOS versions, was something that you did not like to do, is now a simple task, task that just requires few minutes of your. Once you get good experience of using this feature, you will be able to make impressive use of it for sure. Family Sharing feature is boon because of many reasons. Apple deserves pat on its back for commendable job.