How to use family sharing on iOS

If you and your family members are Apple people and you’re looking for an easy way to share apps, videos, photos, and music; Family Sharing is a convenient option that’s fairly easy to set up and free to use. Not all content can be shared, however, including songs not bought through iTunes, items no longer available through iTunes, or an individual Apple Music membership. If you already get most of your music through iTunes anyway, this may not be a huge issue. Apple also offers an Apple Music Family Membership, which allows multiple people to access Apple Music.

Below, we’ll explain how to set up Family Sharing on iOS before delving into how to use it and how to get the most out of it. This includes how to limit and control your child’s purchases, how to hide purchases you don’t want to share, and how to set up the aforementioned Apple Music Family Membership.

How to set up Family Sharing

Before you actually get started, make sure you have an active Apple ID and that you’re over the age of 18. You should also have a valid payment method either on file or at the ready, as all purchases made using this feature will use this form of payment. Lastly, make sure all your devices are running iOS 8 or later.

Step 1: On your iOS device, go to Settings > iCloud and tap Set Up Family Sharing.

Step 2: Tap Get Started, and confirm that you want to be the Family Organizer — AKA the person in charge. You’ll have to invite everyone else and provide the aforementioned payment method.

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Step 3: Follow the on-screen instructions, which will ask if you agree to share your purchases. You’ll also have to enter or confirm your Credit or Debit card. Afterward, decide whether you want to enable location sharing, which lets your family members share their location and even track each other’s devices via Find My iPhone.

Step 4: That’s it! You’re now the proud organizer of a Family Sharing group.

How to invite people to join your group

Step 1: Go to Settings > iCloud > Family > Add Family Member.

Step 2: You’ll need your family member’s name and the email address associated with their Apple ID in order to add them to your account. Even children will need an Apple ID to be added. However, since children under the age of 13 cannot create one on their own, the family organizer must provide verified parental consent. Once the organizer creates the ID for his or her child, it will automatically be added to the family group.

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Step 3: You can check the status of the invitation by going to Settings > iCloud > Family and looking at the status under the person’s name.

Joining a group

Step 1: If you’re on the receiving end of the invite, you can find it by going to Settings > iCloud > Invitations, or by checking your email if the invitation was sent to your email address.

Step 2: Accept the invite and confirm your Apple ID and password. Then, choose whether you want to share your own content purchases, and decide if you want to share your location. Consider enabling the latter feature if you want another way to locate your devices if they go missing, as other members will be able to find them using the Find My Friends and Find My iPhone apps.

Step 3: That’s it! You’re now part of the group and you can access shared music, videos, photos, and a wealth of other content.

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