Family Sharing is a very interesting and convenient iOS feature which allows you not to only unite devices inside your family or friends, but also save a lot on purchases, subscriptions and other services. Also, Family Sharing allows you to control what kind of content your children are using, how much time they are spending on their gadgets and where they are now. This article will introduce you to the iOS Family Sharing and tell you everything you need to know about it.
What is Family Sharing on iOS?
Family Sharing gives you a way to create a digital family with up to six people including you and share a lot of content inside this family. Even if you do not have literal family, you can have virtual one which consists of your friends or relatives. It will allow you to save a lot of money on digital purchases.
Inside Family Sharing you can share:
- Family Calendar on iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac, Photos and Reminders. Organize your family events and remind people to do important things with shared calendar and reminders on iOS. After you enable Family Sharing, the iOS will automatically create family calendar and Family Reminders List. If you do not need this feature, you can delete family calendar and shared Reminders list. Also, you can add photos to the family album inside your iCloud Photo library and everyone inside the family will be able to see these pictures;
- Shared purchases in the App Store and iTunes Store. You can give access to your purchased content from the App Store or iTunes to every family member. It will also give you access to other family members’ purchases, if they’ll allow;
- Apple Music. For a little more than individual subscription price, all six members get access to the Apple Music. It is a nifty way to save some money on an individual subscription;
- iCloud Storage. Just like with the Apple Music, iCloud Storage gives access to every member of your family. There is 200 GB and 2 TB. Each will receive the amount you have chosen;
- Location Sharing. This tool gives you a way to see your children’s location in a real-time using Find My Friends application. Moreover, you will be able to find family members’ devices inside the Find my iPhone app;
- Screen time. Set the rules for all participants to determine the amount of time they can spend on their devices, set content restrictions and see how they spend their time with devices. Please note that at the time of writing, Screen Time is available only on iOS.
There is no need to enable each type of shared features. You may choose one (Apple Music, for example) and later add something else. Family Sharing organizer can enable additional features in any time. The same goes with family members. They can disable some shared features. For example, if they don’t want to share your purchases or location.
Family Sharing allows to not only control the amount of time your child spends on its gadget, but also what content it downloads. If a kid wants to purchase something, parent or guardian will get a request notification. Appointed adults or family organizer will be able to decline or accept purchase. Thus, your kid won’t spend a lot of money without your notice on in-app purchases or the games you don’t want him or she to play. Adult family members do not need to send a purchase request.
How to Enable Family Sharing?
This process is very simple. You need to open Settings and press your name on top of the settings list. Then tap Family Sharing and follow the on-screen instructions. Select what kind of content you want to share with your family and send the invitations. After you have set up the family, you can enable additional content on the Family Sharing settings screen. Simply press the feature you want to enable and follow the instructions. Family calendar sharing, and reminders list are enabled by default and you don’t need to enable them manually.
If you want to add family member to the Apple Music or for whatever reason you have created family, open Family Sharing in the Settings and press Add member. Send the invitation using iMessage or create a new account, if the family member you want to add has no one. After you have sent the invitation, recipient should accept it in the Settings or from the received message. To do this he need to open Settings, tap his account name and select Invitations section.
What Do You Need to Know About Family Sharing on iOS?
Family can consist of six people or less including the organizer. In order to use Family Sharing, devices inside your family should be updated to the iOS 8 or newer. Apple does not limit the number of times you can delete or add family members, but the family itself can only be created twice per year. Keep in mind, that if you close your family twice during the one calendar year, Apple will force you to wait entire year and only after that you will have a chance to create another family.
Only organizer can add family member to the iPhone family sharing, but every adult member can leave the family whenever he or she wants. The same goes with the content that family members share. For example, if you want to use Apple Music, but do not want to share your location (or any other type of shared features), open Family Sharing settings and disable everything you want from the shared features list.
If your family does not share purchases, all family members can purchase content in the App Store or iTunes Store using their own credit or gift cards without any restrictions. If you enable purchase sharing, participants will be able to purchase content only using the payment method approved by the organizer. Simply put, only from the family organizer card (excluding the iTunes Gift cards). It is also worth noting that the App Store or iTunes can request verification of the payment method even when downloading already purchased or free apps, so make sure that you know the CVV code of the organizer’s card.
It is worth noting that you can’t share some purchased content. The developer himself decides whether to allow the use of his applications in the family or not. Content that can be used in a family is tagged with the special icon in the App Store and iTunes Store.
If you want to share Apple Music subscription, you need to switch to a family plan, which costs more. Before you add family to Apple Music subscription, turn off the individual subscription. To do this, open Apple Music, click on your profile picture, then select View Apple ID > Subscriptions.
Click on the family subscription. After you have set up the subscription, all participants will get the access to the Apple Music.
How to Turn Off Family Sharing or Remove a User from the Family?
If you are a family organizer and want to remove someone from it, go to the Family Sharing section in Settings and just click the name in the list of participants. Tap Remove [Name] and you are done.
In order to disable Family Sharing, you need to click on your name and then tap Stop Family Sharing button. This action will remove all participants from the family. It will also revoke their access to the shared features and paid from the organizer’s account subscriptions (Apple Music, iCloud). Moreover, it will also close access to the shared applications of other participants. After you disable Family Sharing, subscriptions will remain active on your account.
If you created a family only once, you can enable it again. If it was the second shutdown, you’ll have to wait a whole year until Apple gives you permission to create a family again.