How are you managing your digital purchases of Apps, books and music? How are you monitoring and organizing your kids’ digital purchases?
One game on an iPad mini, another one on an iPad Air, a song on the iPod touch… Did you lose track of your family’s digital assets yet?
iOS 8 now includes Family Sharing. A new way of sharing your Apps, iBooks and iTunes purchases among all members of your family. It is fairly easy to set up and it is a great way to have all your family’s purchases accessible on every iOS device.
But Family Sharing offers more than just sharing of your purchases. It allows you to share photos, a family Calendar and your location with the rest of the family.
There a few different roles defined by Family Sharing. The Organizer manages the main account and is the one who agrees to pay for all purchases. The Parent/Guardian can approve “Ask to Buy” requests from children in the family. Then family members (most likely your children) can request to make purchases. Kids under 13 can have an Apple ID account as well.
Enabling Family Sharing
To get started with Family Sharing, go to Settings > iCloud and sign in with your Apple ID and password.
Need help creating a new Apple ID? Click here.
Once signed in with your Apple ID, tap on Set Up Family Sharing…
The Family Sharing screen will appear with a brief explanation of what it is about. Tap on Get Started.
The Family Setup screen is displayed and shows the Apple ID account of the person who will become the Family organizer. Tap on Continue.
The Share Purchases screen appears. Tap on Continue.
Depending on whether your Apple ID account is missing a payment method or is already associated with a valid credit card you may see the following 2 screens:
If a payment method is required, tap on Go to Settings and follow the instructions to add one. If you already have a valid payment method, tap on Continue.
The next screen lets you to choose whether you want to share the location of the devices with the rest of the family. Among other things, Location Sharing allows you to help other family members locate their devices using the Find My iPhone App.
Adding Family Members
After deciding about location sharing, the Family Members screen appears under iCloud. From this screen you can add more family members by tapping on Add Family Member…
You family members will receive an email inviting them to join family sharing. Following acceptance, they will receive a welcome email from Apple.
After adding all your family members, you can go to Settings > iCloud > Family and tap on the names of other adults to set them as Parent/Guardian. In a similar way, you can tap on your children’s names and turn on “Ask to Buy”. This will send you an approval request each time they want to make a purchase from their device.
This new functionality of iOS 8 will help you stay organized while facilitating content and App sharing. It also gives you tools like photo and calendar sharing that encourages family union and integration.
Have you tried Family Sharing yet? What is your experience with it?
I welcome your feedback. Let me know by posting a comment below.
Image at top courtesy of photostock / freedigitalphotos.net