Family Sharing is an essential feature for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS devices. For starters, family sharing lets you share different services offered by Apple. Family sharing allows you to share everything from content, subscriptions, and even storage across multiple devices with different Apple IDs. Yes, all of this is done without sharing an Apple ID.
Using Family Sharing, you can share content, storage, and subscription with up to five other devices. You can share different Apple services like Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Arcade. Additionally, you can also share iTunes, Apple Books, and App Store purchases, an iCloud storage plan, and a family photo album among the group of six.
An additional advantage of using Family Sharing is any member can use their device to locate another one’s missing device. For parents, family sharing can help you manage screen time for your child among other things.
Ready to jump ship by using Family Sharing with your family? Here’s everything you need to know.
How to Set up Family Sharing
Family sharing is usually set by one person, known as the family organizer. The family organizer can set up a family sharing group easily using any of Apple’s devices; an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac.
Setting up Family Sharing on iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
1. Open Settings on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
2. Tap on your name at the top
3. Select ‘Set Up Family Sharing’
4. Tap ‘Get Started’
5. Select what you wish to share first and tap Continue
6. Choose a payment method(credit or debit card) for subscriptions and purchases if you selected to turn on purchase sharing.
7. Select ‘Continue’
After step 7, you can now invite family members to join the family sharing group.
8. Tap ‘Invite Family Members’. You might be requested to enter a security number for the added payment method.
9. Tap Next and you’ll receive an iMessage with a link to the Family Sharing invitation. Type the name or phone number of your family member(s) and tap Send then select Done.
Setting up Family Sharing on Mac
1. Select the Apple Menu on your Mac
2. Click on ‘System Preferences’ then select Family Sharing icon (on macOS Catalina) or iCloud for those still running macOS Mojave or earlier
3. Choose ‘Set up Family’ or ‘Add Family Member’ then enter a member’s name or email address or even their Game Centre nickname and click ‘Continue’
4. You’ll be needed to enter the security card for your card
5. After that, you can then send an invitation to a member or directly ask them to enter a password to their Apple ID.
How to check if your family member accepted the invitation
After inviting a family member to enter the family sharing group, they have the liberty to accept or reject the invitation. Apple let’s you check the status of the invitation directly from your device. Here’s how you can do check if your family member accepted the invite:
a) On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
1. Go to Settings, tap on your name and select Family Sharing.
2. Tap on the person’s name to check the invitation status
3. if they haven’t accepted, you can choose to ‘Resend Invitation’
b) On your Mac
1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Family Sharing if you’re running macOS Catalina. On macOS Mojave or earlier, choose Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud, then select ‘Manage Family’.
2. Select the person’s name. You’ll be shown the invitation status. You can choose to resend invitation if they haven’t accepted it already.
How to Join a Family Sharing group
If you’ve been invited to join a Family Sharing group, you can choose to accept or decline. An invitation is typically sent via text or email or respond directly from your device’s Settings app.
Here’s how to do it:
a) On iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
Open the Settings app, tap on your name and go to ‘Invitations’ and follow the prompts.
b) On Mac
Go to the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Family Sharing or iCloud then ‘Manage Family’. Follow the instructions to accept the invitation.
N/B: You can be a member of only one Family Sharing group at anytime. You can switch groups, but Apple only allows that once in a year per Apple ID.
How to Leave Family Sharing
Family organizers have the power to remove members at anytime. They can even disband the group.
As a member of a family sharing group, as long as meet the minimum age required to be regarded as an adult, you can choose to remove yourself. In the US, as long as you’re 13.
N/B: Leaving a family sharing group has consequences. Scroll down to know what happens when you leave Apple Family Sharing.
a) On iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
1. Open the Settings app, tap your name and select Family Sharing
2. Tap your name and then ‘Stop Using Family Sharing’
b) On Mac
1. Choose the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Family Sharing or iCloud then Manage Family.
2. Click on details adjacent to your name.
3. Select Leave from Family Sharing
4. On macOS Mojave and earlier versions, select your name and click the remove(-) button.
If you’re the family organizer, you can remove any member from your family sharing group.
How to Remove someone from your family sharing group
Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and tap on your name > Family sharing. Then tap the name of the member you want to remove and select ‘Remove [name] From Family.’
On Mac, choose the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Family Sharing or Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud > Manage Family on macOS Mojave or earlier. Click details on the name of the member you wish to remove and choose Remove from Family Sharing. On older systems, click the family member’s name, then select the remove (—) button located in the bottom-left corner.
Removing someone from a group can be tedious if you want to remove all the group members. Instead, it’s better to disband the family sharing group altogether. This will remove every member instantly unless there’s a kid aged less than 13 who will need to be transferred to another group.
How to Disband a family group
If you’re the group organizer, you can also disband the group if you like.
1. Open your settings app on your iPhone or iPad or iPod touch
2. Tap on your name and select Family Sharing
3. Tap your name and select Stop Using Family
On Mac, the process is similarly easy. There are two ways depending on the macOS version on your system.
Method 1: Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Family Sharing > Turn Off and select Stop Family Sharing.
Method 2: Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud > Manage Family and click on your name as the organizer. Click the Remove (—) button.
What happens when you Leave Family sharing Group?
Now that you know you can switch family sharing groups only once a year, Apple allows you to leave family sharing if you like. But before you decide to leave a family sharing group, it’s good to know the downsides. Since family sharing allows you to share lots of Apple services, leaving a family group has its consequences.
Here’s what happens when you leave Apple Family Sharing:
- You won’t access services shared by the family, like Apple Music family subscription or shared iCloud storage plan.
- Your device can’t be located using the family Find My iPhone list.
- Access to shared iTunes, Apple Books, and App Store purchases is revoked.
- You stop sharing any iTunes, Apple Books, and App Store purchases on your Apple ID, even those bought when part of the family group.
- Content shared by the family will be immediately removed from your account if you don’t own it.
- Downloads from other family members’ purchase history and in-app purchases will be revoked till you purchase them personally.
- You won’t manage your Apple Watch if it uses Family Setup.
- Cash in your Apple Cash a/c part of the Family Apple Cash Family will be transferred to the family organizer’s cash account.
- You won’t share photo albums, calendars, or reminders with other family members.