Despite launching much later, Apple Music is currently on top in its battle with Spotify, boasting more subscribers in the United States than the competition. And if you have at least one family member that uses the service, there’s a good chance that you and your family might be able to save a few bucks by opting for a family account instead of separate accounts. Apple Music is far from the only service to offer family subscriptions, but its plans do work a little differently, which can be confusing.
While Spotify and plenty of other services are stand-alone, making adding family members a fairly straightforward process, Apple Music is tied into the entire Apple ecosystem. That’s great if your entire family is already all-in on Apple, but if you’re trying to add family members that use different devices to an Apple Music subscription, it can be a little tricky. Don’t worry, though — we’re here to help.
Before you get started
In order to follow the instructions in this guide, you’re going to need a few things, some of which are more obvious than others. First off, you’ll need an Apple ID, which, assuming you either use at least one iOS or MacOS device or at least one Apple service, you probably have. Second, you’ll need an iOS device running iOS 8 or later, or a Mac running OS X Yosemite or later.
You’ll also need an Apple Music Family subscription. If you’re setting Apple Music up from scratch, be sure to choose a Family subscription instead of an Individual subscription. If you’ve got an Individual Apple Music subscription you’d like to change to a Family subscription, it’s a fairly quick process, and detailed instructions are available via the support section of the Apple website.
Setting up Family Sharing
Instead of functioning independently, Apple Music’s Family plan piggybacks on Apple’s Family Sharing infrastructure. If you already have Family Sharing set up and are just looking to add new family members, skip to the next section. If you’re setting up your Family subscription for the first time and have never used Family Sharing, read on.
Setting up Family Sharing on iOS
If you’re reading this article on your iPhone or iPad, you’re in luck: You can set up Family Sharing right now in a few simple steps.
- Find the Family Sharing settings: Open the Settings app and either tap on your name at the very top, or on older iOS devices, scroll down and open the iCloud settings.
- Tap Set Up Family Sharing: Then tap Get Started. From here, follow the prompts until setup is completed.
- Invite family members: If you’re using iOS 11 or later, you’ll be invited to choose the first feature you want to turn on for sharing. From here, follow the instructions to invite family members via Messages.
Setting up Family Sharing on Mac
If you’re using a Mac, setting up Family Sharing is as easy or perhaps even easier than using an iOS device. The steps are just a little different.
- Open iCloud settings: Click on the ever-present Apple logo in the top left of the screen, then select System Preferences. Once the preferences window is open, click on iCloud.
- Start the setup process: Simply click Set Up Family, then follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.
Invite family members
Whether you’ve already set up Family Sharing or just followed the above steps, the next step is to add family members so they can use Apple Music, too. You can do this on your Mac, iOS, or Android device. Steps for each are below.
- Find the Family Sharing settings: As mentioned above, all you need to do is open the Settings app and tap on your name at the very top, or on older iOS devices, scroll down and open the iCloud settings.
- Add a new family member: This is as easy as tapping Add Family Member and entering their name or email address. Then just follow the onscreen instructions.
- Finish setup: If you’re using iOS 11 or later, you can choose whether you’d like to invite the family member via Messages or in person.
- Open iCloud settings: Click the Apple icon in the top left of your screen, then open System Preferences and click on iCloud.
- Open Family settings: Just click on Manage Family.
- Add a new family member: Click the + icon, then follow the onscreen instructions.
- Open Apple Music settings: Open Apple Music, then tap the menu icon in the upper left corner.
- Navigate to Account settings: Tap on your photo or name at the top of the screen.
- Open Membership settings: Tap on Manage Membership, then enter your iCloud password if prompted.
- Open Family settings: Tap on either Family or Family Setup.
- Add family members: If you tapped Family Setup, follow the onscreen instructions to add family members. If you tapped Family, tap Add Family Member at the bottom of the screen and follow the prompts.
Now, you should be all set on your end. All that’s left is for your family members to actually start using Apple Music. All they need to do is log into Apple Music with the same credentials they use for Family Sharing, and they’ll be ready to start listening. That said, every once in a while, things don’t go as smoothly as you hoped.
If you run into trouble
One of the most common issues is that a family member might be using multiple accounts and is either logging into Apple Music or iCloud (in the case of Family Sharing) with the wrong one. If somebody is having trouble accessing Apple Music, this is the first thing you should check.
Sometimes, logging out and back in can fix issues preventing you or a family member from accessing a Family subscription. First, try logging in and out of the affected Apple Music account. If this doesn’t solve the problem, try logging out and back in to all of your Apple services. Finally, if this doesn’t work, you can try removing everyone from Family Sharing and adding them back. This isn’t fun, but following the steps above should make quick work of it. In a worst-case scenario, you can always cancel your account.
And that’s all there is to it. If reading this has you considering using another service with your family, be sure to read our roundup of the best music-streaming services.