Our Guide to Apple’s Family Sharing
What Is Family Sharing and Why You Should Set It Up
In order to take full advantage of Apple’s Screen Time functionality, parents must set up Family Sharing. The main benefits of Family Sharing include:
- The ability to manage Screen Time from your phone
- Paying just once for content purchased or downloaded through the iTunes or App Store (you can transfer it to other family members)
- Knowing where your family members are (at least the location of their devices)
- Requiring your approval before your child can download any app (this is the Ask to Buy feature)
- Access to Apple Music’s Family Plan
Children are required to have their own Apple ID and for children under 13, an Apple ID can only be created once Family Sharing has been set up.
An Apple ID:
- Creates a free email address which can be used to send and receive messages in iMessage, emails in Mail and calls in FaceTime
- Is required to set up iCloud (to store and back up data) and download from the iTunes and App Store
- Keeps downloads and purchases made in the App and iTunes Store separate from other family members
- Associates Photos, Messages, Notes, and Calendar with a specific user. Any device logged in under an Apple ID will display any of this data provided that the sync and backup to iCloud features have been enabled
- Helps you find a device when it’s lost by using Find my iPhone (we will remind you to set this up in a later step)
1) Make sure you’ve updated your and your child’s devices to access Screen Time features. To confirm:
3) Confirm that Family Sharing has not been previously set up
4) Before activating Family Sharing, a payment method must have been added to pay for any purchases made within the family.
Setting Up Family Sharing
After confirming the requirements above, initiate set up from your iPhone by going to:
- Go 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
- Follow the onscreen instructions (below we’ve focused on the most important ones)
1. Tap on iTunes & App Store Purchases:
If you want to share purchases between family members and/or require your children to ask permission before they can download content, begin by clicking on Set Up Purchase Sharing. Confirm your account and click Continue twice.
2. Tap on Location Sharing
Allow family members to see each other’s locations, or at least where devices are located whenever they’re online. Many families appreciate this feature as it helps them to keep track of devices through Find My.
3. Screen Time
Manage Screen Time for your child by adding or creating an Apple ID
4. Enabling Ask to Buy
If you’re going to give your child the freedom to explore the App Store, but want to approve purchases before they are made from the convenience of your phone, you can turn on the Ask to Buy feature.
How to Share Purchases between Family Members
Here’s how Ask to Buy Works:
When your child tries to download content, the ASK Permission screen pops up on their device. You will then receive a request on your phone which you can approve or decline