My 7 and 6 year olds received iPod Touches (Generation 5) for Christmas today! I was excited to use the new Family Sharing plan for app sharing and purchasing because a) I wanted to try it out and b) I wanted them to use their own Apple IDs to keep their photos, iMessages, etc. separate from my own.
Here are a couple of things you should know BEFORE you get started. First, make sure you have iOS 8 on your devices. This plan doesn’t work without it. Second, a “valid payment method is required.” I have been using PayPal as my payment method ever since I started buying apps and I guess PayPal recently did something to make Apple mad and this has made life difficult for Apple/PayPal lovers. The message below is what I received when I tried to set up Family Sharing for the first time.
Sadly I had to update my payment method with the old Mastercard and I had to do it – get this – in iTunes! On my computer! This part was super annoying, but once I did all of the hard work, I was able to add the kiddos to the plan. The Family Sharing plan is AWESOME and I am totally in love with how easy it is to use. If you’ve recently purchased an iOS device for a family member under the age of 13, I highly suggest that you read on. (I haven’t tried this with Mac family users, but I’m sure it works just as well).
- To set this up for your family, go to your own iOS device. You, the parent, are the “Organizer.” Tap on Settings – iCloud – Set up Family Sharing. If you don’t see “Set up Family Sharing,” you probably don’t have iOS 8. Remember, this is a must!
- Tap Get Started
- Tap Continue
- Confirm that you are logged in with YOUR Apple ID and Tap Continue
- Tap Add Family Member
- IMPORTANT: Scroll down under your payment method and tap on Create an Apple ID for a child
- Tap Next
- Select your child’s birthday
- Verify your credit card info
- Enter your child’s name and tap Next
- Create your child’s new Apple ID (email)
- Choose a password that you and your child can remember. It must have at least 8 characters and include an uppercase letter, a number and a lowercase letter. (P.S. my kids can’t remember theirs yet, so I saved their passwords in a special app I use)
- You have to choose three ridiculous security questions and answers. I also put these in my special password app so that I don’t forget.
- Make sure that you leave Ask to Buy ON. This will force your child to get permission whenever they want to purchase an app with your credit card info.
- Tap Share Location. Then you can stalk your kids…fun!
- You’re Done!
Turn on your kids’ personal devices and have them log into iCloud, iMessage, FaceTime and the App Store with their new iCloud accounts.
I’ll share screenshots from my son’s iPod Touch for reference. If he wants an app that I’ve already purchased, he can go to App Store, purchased and search for the app he wants. I wanted my son to have Explain Everything, a premium app, that I had installed on my iPhone. I went to the app store on my son’s iPad and searched for the app, but to my surprise the app was listed as $2.99. I tapped on it and tapped Buy and the app installed for free on his device. The $2.99 was misleading because the app was shared for free with my son, so I’m not sure if this is some sort of glitch or what. The app did install and I did not have to purchase it again. Another install option is to tap on App Store – Updates – Purchased – Family Purchases – Jennifer (Family Organizer). Any of my past purchases are listed as free and available for download on my son’s iPod. I just tap on FREE – Install App on his device and the app installs. Notice how Superimpose is listed as free? That app is normally 99 cents, but it’s free for my son since I own it.
Now, if there is an app that he wants that is free or premium, that I have never downloaded, there is a different process entirely. He taps on Get – and is prompted to Ask permission before he can download. The Ask to Buy process occurs when my kids want to download a Free or Premium app that I have not personally installed on my device.
The next scenario is when you, the family organizer, has an iTunes gift card balance that you want to share with your family members. You need to access the App Store on your device and locate the app that your family member desires. Install the app using your gift card balance so that the app can be shared with your family members in the family sharing plan.
So far Family Sharing has worked seamlessly for me and I don’t have to worry about my kids downloading apps without my permission or sharing an Apple ID with everyone in my family. I highly recommend this method and I’m so glad Apple has made it easy for my little Apple users to set up their ecosystems correctly. Any apps that ones of us purchases can be shared across our devices – easy!