What’s Family Sharing all about?

“Dad, can I have your credit card? Can you type your Apple ID password?”

Apple has found a way to connect families digitally and make these questions of the past. Family sharing provides a great number of ways to link and organize your family digitally. We hope you’ll find this article to better help you understand why you should use Family Sharing, how to do so, and what it can do!

Setting up a Family Sharing account is as easy as just deciding who will manage the account and which credit card will be use to make the purchases in the group. Ready to get started? Read on.

Before you begin the setup, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Aside from you, five people can be added to Family Sharing, and you can only quit and restart the Family Sharing program two times in a year. Please make sure to plan ahead.

Family sharing does require your iOS device to be upgraded to iOS8; after doing so simply navigate to the Settings app, find the iCloud setting, and choose the option for setting up Family Sharing. You will need to be signed in to your Apple ID under the iCloud option.

Since each family member’s Apple ID has the person’s age associated with it, when the Family organizer starts naming the members of the family, the Apple ID will show as an adult or minor (for those under 18). If the child is under 13, there is an option on how to set up an Apple ID for those children. In order to be free from massive quantities of purchasing and excessive credit card charges, one of Family Sharing’s settings allows the implementation of requiring purchase requests from specific Apple ID Family Members. Approval or denial of these requests can be addressed quickly as the Family organizer will receive the message to confirm or deny the request. This process applies to all purchases, this means free downloads too, to insure the appropriate content is being downloaded.

The next major feature that is very useful is the shared family calendar. For those who need an organized calendar of all the family events on a daily basis, this feature can coordinate all the Sharing Plan members to one single calendar. Why is this great? The changes are instantaneous: if someone makes a calendar change, or needs a reminder, it can be set on any member’s device or all members‘ devices. Everyone is kept in the loop.

Additionally, sharing family events and photos is easy when Family Sharing is turned on. A new shared album is automatically set up in the Photos app on all family members’ devices! All members can add photos, videos, and comments to the album AND will be notified when something new is added to that album. No more need to email or text the photo to those members of the Family Sharing!

The last two major features of Family Sharing allow for location finding. The Find My Friends location finder allows members to track or locate other members to make sure they arrive when they have embarked on a destination. Of course, these features can be toggled off for privacy. Was your device lost or stolen? If so, now anyone in the family can use find my iPhone to track down that device.

Lastly, consider if you want to leave the Family Sharing group – you will no longer have access to your family members’ apps, music, movies, TV shows and books. The same goes for the shared photos, calendar, reminders and location information. Family Sharing is very versatile and allows for greater digital connections between its group members. Hopefully these tips allow for better organization and flexibility among the family or group.