Our Complete Guide to Apple’s Family Sharing
What Is Family Sharing and Why You Should Set it Up
- Take advantage of Apple’s parental controls from the convenience of your phone (Screen Time iOS 12)
- Share any paid content downloaded through the iTunes or App Store with family members
- Keep track of your child, or more specifically, your child’s device
- Approve your child’s app downloads from your phone
- Join Apple Music’s Family Plan
- Create an Apple ID for a child under 13
Setting up an Apple ID allows your child to:
- Download and make purchases from the App and iTunes Store; purchases are kept separate from other family members
- Make and receive Facetime calls, send and receive messages in iMessage and send and receive emails in Mail
- Find a device when it’s lost by signing into the associated iCloud account (Find my iPhone must first be enabled).
An Apple ID, iCloud account and iTunes account are essentially synonymous.
- iCloud is essentially storage space for all data.
- Photos, videos, notes, contacts, calendar, downloads etc. are all backed up to iCloud and can be accessed via your iCloud account
- If syncing is enabled, iCloud keeps your data updated across devices, so that changes made on one device appear on all others
In the process of creating an Apple ID, an iCloud email will be generated for you. Select a password. Be sure to save this somewhere safe. These log-in credentials you will need to sign into your
child’s iCloud account.
- Make sure you’ve updated your iPhone/iPad to the latest iOS release: Go to Settings, General, About, Software Update
- If you’ve previously set up Apple IDs for your children, make sure you know their account login and password
- Confirm that no one else in your family has previously set up Family Sharing. If so, ask the Organizer to add you as a Parent/Guardian: From the Organizer’s iCloud, tap Family Sharing, tap your name, and toggle on Parent/Guardian
How do I set up Family Sharing?
After confirming the requirements above, initiate set up from your iPhone by going to:
- Settings > Your Profile (at top)
- Tap Set Up Family Sharing
- Confirm you want to be the Organizer and sign in with your own Apple ID
- If your spouse is already the Organizer, but has designated you as a Parent/Guardian, you can still add family members
- Follow the onscreen instructions.
Decide which Family Sharing features you want to activate:
1. iTunes & App Store Purchases:
2. Location Sharing
3. Screen Time
4. Enabling Ask to Buy
If you need to add a child:
- Under Family Members section, just tap Add Family Member (up to 6 people can be added)
- Create a Child Account and hit Next
- Enter your child’s birthday and tap Next
- Review the Parent Privacy Disclosure and tap Agree
- Enter the requested information for your payment method and tap Next