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Dublin: 16°C Saturday 19 June 2021

How to set up Family Sharing for your Apple devices

If your children use an iPhone or iPad, then Family Sharing will give you more control over what they download and purchase on their device.

Image: Apple

THERE WERE MANY improvements brought by iOS 8, some more useful than others, but a major focus has been placed on privacy and control.

One such feature is Family Sharing which allows parents to better control what content their children buy among other things. If you have an iPhone and your children use an iPad regularly, it’s worth setting up

Note: This is only really useful if you have two or more iPhone/iPad Apple devices. If you only have the one phone or iPad, or use an Android/Windows Phone device, you won’t be able to use it.

What Family Sharing does

Effectively, it allows parents to have more control over purchases and ensure that any items bought through iTunes or the App Store must be approved by you first before it’s completed. This ensures that no unexpected bills may occur from your child paying for in-app purchases or other content.

You can also share other details like photos, location (to keep track of where each member is), events, and help members find their missing devices. All content is shared with each family member’s device and can be downloaded to any device you own or control.

Up to six people can be included in the group, one organiser (usually a parent or guardian) and invite other family members to the service. Children under 13 can now have their own Apple ID, but it must be created by the organiser. Ask to Buy is turned on by default and the organiser can limit the content their kids have on their device.

Setting up

To start off, go into Settings >iCloud > Set upFamily Sharing. From there, it’s a matter of choosing the correct card for payment (if you have more than one) and choosing to turn on location sharing.


Once you’ve set up your account, you can invite family members by emailing them or entering their name (if you have their contact details). They must be viewing the invitation on their iPhone/iPad or a Mac before they can set it up.

Just to note, there might be certain content you will purchase that you might not want to share with your family. To ensure that these purchases aren’t shared, go into Family Sharing and turn off ‘Share My Purchases’. Not all content is made eligible for family sharing in case you’re worried.

Family sharing purchases Source: Apple

Sharing purchases

How you access them depends on the service you’re using but all of them have a purchased section. Here’s how you access each one.

App Store: Updates > Purchased
iTunes: More > Purchased
iBooks: Purchased

Here you will see each family member and the content they purchased. Simply tap on one, and if you want to download something, tap the cloud icon.

family_purchases Source: Apple

Some things to remember

- You cannot share in-app purchases with the family. They must be purchased individually.
- On a related note, ‘Ask to Buy’ also covers free downloads as well as paid content. Mainly because so many of them include in-app purchases.
- You can only use it for accounts of the same country. You can’t share a US purchase with an Irish account and vice versa.
- Not all apps can be shared with the family. Developers and those behind the content are the ones who decide if such functionality is allowed.
- Hiding content can also be done by other family members, not just yourself.

Read: Soon you’ll be able to top up your Leap card by touching it against your smartphone >

Read: Google received 1,440 right to be forgotten requests from Ireland >

About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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