Amazon Family Library vs. Apple Family Sharing: An in-depth comparison

ios 8 family library vs amazon apple copy
Amazon rarely announces it’s biggest endeavors while center stage. More often, the Seattle-based company quietly leaks announcements overnight, allowing tech publications across the globe to play catch up the next morning. Such was the case when the company unveiled its new sharing platform alongside a slew of new ebook readers, including the high-end Voyage. Much like Apple’s recently-detailed Family Sharing, the feature looks to extend your purchases — whether they be apps, ebooks, or audiobooks — to five other individuals, while allowing you to manage purchases and shared content with the rest of your family.

Moreover, the Library will work across all Amazon devices and the company’s third-party apps for Android and iOS platforms. It’s certainly a step in the right direction, but how does it compare to the Apple’s native feature baked into iOS 8? Take a look at our side-by-side comparison of Amazon Family Library and Apple Family Sharing below for a closer look at the standout features setting the two apart.

Related: Amazon launches high-end Voyage ebook reader and Apple unveils Family Sharing.

Amazon Family Library

Kindle Sharing

Apple Family Sharing

iPhone Sharing 2
Number of users permitted Six Six
Parental management Yes Yes
Purchased app sharing Yes Yes
Purchased eBook sharing Yes Yes
Purchased audiobook sharing Yes Yes
Purchased music sharing No Yes
Purchased movie sharing No Yes
Purchased TV show sharing No Yes
Calendar sharing No Yes
Photo album sharing No Yes
Location sharing No Yes
Ability to find missing devices No Yes
Availability Fall 2014 Now with iOS 8

Number of users

There isn’t much to compare when it comes down to the number of users each service permits. The Amazon Family Library allows six people to share content with one another, with up to two adults serving as managers for up to four children. Apple’s service allows the same thing, letting six family members to automatically share content purchased from the App Store, iTunes, and iBooks with minimal setup and an organizer to oversee purchases. Both services link the respective family accounts together, instead of sharing them, so you’re not purchasing content on the same account as another family member.

Winner: Tie

Sharing capabilities

The biggest draw of both services is their respective sharing capabilities — after all, there’s no reason everyone in your family should have to pay for their own individual copy of Angry Birds. However, while Amazon’s platform does tout the ability to share a plethora of purchased content across devices, it falls short when it comes to functionality. Both devices allow family members to share apps, ebooks, and audiobooks with one another, but Apple’s Family Sharing additionally allows users to share music, movies, and TV shows purchased through any of of its storefronts.

Apple Family Sharing
Apple Family Sharing

Amazon’s Family Library will allow family members to share movies and TV shows available via Prime Instant Video, but the service’s inability to share content individually purchased and downloaded through Amazon is a huge deterrent. Apple’s Family sharing allows users to immediately share all programming and content, regardless of when it was purchased, with all family members unless the buyer chooses to hide a particular purchase. It’s likely that Amazon’s service will allow users to hide purchases and download past offerings as well, but the company has yet to detail such functionality.

Unlike the Amazon Family Library, Apple’s service as more than just a way to share purchased content. Family sharing allows members to share their exact location with one another if they desire, or find a family member’s lost or stolen device in a similar fashion to Find My iPhone. The service also creates a family calendar where all members can view, add, or change events and appointments, with the option to set convenient alerts when something changes. The main organizer on the account can even approve purchase requests from other members, and a joint photo album in the Photos app ensures everyone can add photos, videos, and comments for everyone to see. As far as we know, the Amazon Family Library offers none of the aforementioned features.

Family Purchase
Apple Family Sharing

Winner: Apple Family Sharing

Available devices

Amazon may not have revealed an official release date for the Family Library, but the company guarantees the service will work with Kindle ebook readers, Fire tablets, the Fire Phone, and Amazon Fire TV, among other offerings, upon its debut. Additionally, the service will function on other popular device and platforms using the free Kindle, Audible, and Amazon Instant Video app. Apple’s Family Sharing currently only works on devices running iOS 8 — i.e. the latest iPads, iPods, and iPhones — rendering the service only accessible to those already tapped into the Apple ecosystem. Below is a complete list of all iOS devices compatible with Family Sharing, but considering Amazon’s service extends coverage across a variety of devices other than its own, it’s safe to say the Amazon’s service has the upper hand in terms of compatibility.

iPhones iPads iPods
iPhone 4s iPad 2 5th-generation iPod Touch
iPhone 5 3rd-generation iPad
iPhone 5c 4th-generation iPad
iPhone 5s iPad Air
iPhone 6 iPad mini
iPhone 6 Plus iPad mini with Retina display

Winner: Amazon Family Library

Conclusion

Considering both Amazon and Apple offer their family services free of charge, no one really loses. However, Apple’s sharing service offers functionality where it matters most — even if it isn’t available on non-Apple devices. The sheer girth of programming Apple Family Sharing allows users to access is more formidable than that offered through Amazon Family Library. Plus, the built-in feature is already available and allows family members to share their location and contribute to a collaborative calendar and photo album to boot. Amazon’s Library will likely become more robust as it goes along, but as of now, Apple’s offering has no real contender.

Product Review

Sleek and expensive, the Apple TV 4K will still delight the Apple faithful

Is Apple’s latest streaming set-top box a revolution, or too little too late? Find out in our Apple TV 4K review, and learn how this device wins in some big categories, but falters in others.
Product Review

If price is top of mind, Samsung’s Galaxy S10e is the flagship phone to buy

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus are joined with a new entry into the Galaxy S family -- the Galaxy S10e. It costs a little more than the original price of the Galaxy S9, but it’s meant to be the more affordable phone compared to the…
Gaming

Want to share your Xbox One games with a friend? Here's how to do it

Sharing games on modern consoles is possible, but it takes a few steps. Here's how to start sharing games on your Xbox One console, so friends and family can easily access your library.
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for February 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Mobile

Verizon is launching real standards-based 5G in 30 cities in 2019

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Mobile

Samsung’s wide range of Galaxy products means there’s something for everyone

Samsung launched a host of new products on February 20, with prices ranging from just $35, all the way up to nearly $2,000. This was not by chance, and the company believes it has something for everyone in 2019.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10e vs. OnePlus 6T: Can the Flagship Killer survive?

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is the new affordable flagship on the block, but at $750, it's $200 more than the OnePlus 6T. Does the Flagship Killer stand a chance against the new generation of flagship devices? Let's take a closer look.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for February 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Product Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are a brilliant combination of value and comfort

With six hours of battery life, an extremely comfortable fit, sweatproofing, and a very palatable price tag, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are putting all other true wireless earbuds on notice.
Deals

Amazon drops a sweet deal on the Kate Spade Scallop smartwatch for women

Unlike many other smartwatches geared toward women, the Kate Spade Scallop offers a more chic and minimalistic look. With this Amazon sale going on right now, you can get it for $109 off its retail price.
Cars

Lyft’s Shared Saver service offers cheaper rides, but you’ll have to walk a little

Lyft has launched a new ride option called Shared Saver that offers cheaper rides if you're willing to walk a little. Shared Saver designates a nearby pick-up point and drops you off a short distance from your final destination.
Deals

The 5 best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10e vs. iPhone XR: Cut-price flagship showdown

The Samsung Galaxy S10 range has been revealed, and it heralds a new age of powerful technology. The Galaxy S10e packs the new power and design into a cheaper price point. But is it better than the iPhone XR?