Sunday, November 20, 2016

Using Apple’s Family Sharing to Keep Your Family In Sync

The best software updates make our lives easier. Family Sharing on Apple devices is a feature that improves the process of approving purchases, sharing that purchased content with your family, and keeping the whole family in sync with calendars and reminders. Many parents may not be aware that Apple has made it very easy to set up a Family Sharing plan for any device using iOS 8 or higher such as iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

Family Sharing allows you to approve all purchases from the App Store and iTunes, track where your children are located using Find My Friends, and help find lost devices using Find my iPhone. It also allows you to create a family calendar, reminder list, and family photo album.

To set up Family Sharing, simply go to Settings on your device, select iCloud, select Set Up Family Sharing, and click Get Started. 

One family member will be the coordinator of the family. This person is known as the Family Organizer. Your family can consist of up to five members in the Family Sharing plan. 

You have the option to share purchases with up to five Apple IDs in your family. Family members will be able to view and download your purchased music, movies, TV shows, books, and apps. Please note for Family Sharing, you must have a valid method of payment on file.

Once your payment information is entered, you can add family members. If your child doesn’t have an Apple ID, you can click the link that says Create an Apple ID for a child. When you invite a family member, they will receive an email informing them that you have invited them to Family Sharing. They click View Invitation and it will immediately open their iCloud settings and ask if they want to accept the Family Sharing invitation.  When they accept, they become part of the family and can share apps. You will receive a notification on your device when family members accept your invitation.

Ask to Buy
With the Ask To Buy feature, parents can approve all purchases for children under 18.  Approving apps and movies allows you to know exactly what is being downloaded on your child’s device. If you don’t want the app he requests to install, you decline it. Nothing can be installed without your approval! The child sees a popup in the App Store with a link to ask to purchase the app. On your device, you will receive a request pop up when your child asks to get an app. 

Please note most apps are compatible for Family Sharing, but In-App purchases are not allowed in Family Sharing. In-App purchases are extra features within the app that cost money.  When you view the description of an app in the App Store, there is a Family Sharing label that says Yes if it allows other family members to download the app. 

If you want to see what your family members have purchased or to download their purchases, go to the Purchased section in the App Store, iBooks or iTunes. 

Location Sharing
You can choose to share your location with your family in the Family Sharing setup as well. This allows family members to see the location of your devices in Find my Friends. Once it is set up, you can ask Siri, “where is my son?” and your iPhone will show you!  way to check up on your children to make sure they arrived at their destination. 

Share a Family Calendar and To-Do List
If you choose to set up a family calendar, all family members can view the calendar and receive notifications when something changes or when something is added to the calendar. It’s a great way for the entire family to see what appointments, practices, and special events are coming up. 

Family Photo Album
A family photo album is set up automatically in the Photos app on devices on your family plan. Everyone can add pictures and video to the album. When items are added, the family is notified there is something new in the album. If you have grandparents with Apple devices, you can also create and share a family photo album with them.

With more and more students getting devices, we encourage you to set up Family Sharing, if your children are on Apple devices. Stay involved and know what they are listening to and what apps they are using. All of these options help make sharing content within your family easier. It’s a great way to stay informed with what your children are using on their devices.

Visit for a great guide to setting up and using Family Sharing.