How to Set Up and Use Family Sharing for iOS 8

Apple Family Sharing logo overlay on photo

With iOS 8, family members no longer have to purchase their own version of iOS apps, books, movies, and other iTunes media. Now users in a given family can use Family Sharing. As long as every purchase is made via the same payment method, users can share both old and new purchases across their devices without having to change their login names for iCloud or iTunes.

Best of all, if you have any children in your Family Sharing, you can control their purchases by requiring them to ask for permission before any purchase, which you can grant right from a notification on your iOS device.

Setting up Family Sharing is pretty simple, and along with the sharing of apps and media you even get easy calendar and photo sharing. Here’s how to set up Family Sharing for iOS 8.

Apple marketing graphic showing examples of different types of content on iPhones

Set Up Family Share

Before you get to all the sharing, you need to set up a few things on your iOS device first.

Using an iPhone as an example, open Settings on the head family member’s iPhone and tap on iCloud > Set Up Family Sharing > Get Started, then tap the Continue button. You’ll have to enter your Apple ID and agree to some Terms & Conditions. Once you do, you’ll verify your payment method and get started.

(Note: If you use a PayPal account to pay for iTunes purchases, you’ll have to change this to a credit card to enable Family Sharing.)

Next you’ll be prompted to enable location services, as another great feature of Family Sharing is being able to locate family members easily. This doesn’t need to be turned on for the basic Family Sharing to work, and you can turn it on or off at any time.

Once this basic setup is complete, it’s time to add some family members. Remember, anyone you add to this account can make purchases using your payment method, so make sure you add only close family members.

Add Family Members

Family Sharing allows you to add five other family members to your account, for a total of six users. To add new family members, go into Settings, tap iCloud and then tap Add Family Member.

Closeup of Add Family Member link on iPhone screen

You’ll be prompted to enter the family member’s email address. The family member will be sent an invitation that when tapped on will take them to the Family Sharing invitation page for them to accept.

Family Sharing invitation and Family Members screen on iPhones

Once the family member taps on Accept on their iOS device, they will be added to the page of family members viewable on your iOS device. You can choose the type of account each family member has right from the Family page in iCloud settings.

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Using Family Sharing

Once you have family members added, you can see how great Family Sharing really is. First, children in the account now must ask permission to install applications, and any family member listed as a Parent/Guardian can give it.

Ask Permission message on iPhone

The child will see the message above, and the parent will see this:

Child request message for Family Sharing on iPhone

To view previous purchases from other family members, tap on the App Store icon on your iOS device and then tap the Updates tab at the bottom of the screen. From here, tap on Purchased at the very top. In the My Purchases item that houses all of your past purchases at the top, you should now see a link for purchases from each family member. Tap on each to view and download copies of their purchases for no additional cost.

Sharing Photos – You can use Family Sharing to share photos between family members, too. Just go into the Photos app on your iOS device and you should now see a photo stream titled Family. You can add photos and videos to this stream and all members of the family will see them.

Removing Family Sharing

Let’s say you’re less than friendly with a family member and don’t want him or her sharing your account any longer. You can open their account up in iCloud > Family and tap Remove. This will remove them from your Family Sharing, and any apps or media they downloaded from other family member’s accounts will no longer be available to them.

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