iOS 8: A Take Control Crash Course
by Josh Centers

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All in the Family Sharing

Prior to iOS 8, if you wanted to share apps and media from Apple’s digital stores, you either had to figure out the awkward Home Sharing feature in iTunes or all sign in to Apple’s stores with the same Apple ID. Neither option was especially satisfactory. In iOS 8, Apple has introduced Family Sharing, which lets up to six people with separate Apple IDs share apps and media, as well as photos, a calendar, and locations .

① 	Family Sharing lets up to six people share purchases, photos, calendars, and locations.

① Family Sharing lets up to six people share purchases, photos, calendars, and locations.

The Family Organizer

The family organizer sets up and manages Family Sharing and is responsible for all charges incurred. The organizer can specify who is a parent or guardian, and who is a child.

The organizer can also require that all purchases made by a family member under age18 must be approved (the specific age may vary by your location).

Warning! An Apple ID can start or join a family group only once per year.

Family Sharing Requirements

To set up or join Family Sharing, you must use a device running at least iOS 8, 10.10 Yosemite, Apple TV 7.0, or iCloud for Windows 4.0, with one exception: Ask to Buy restricts purchases on devices running older software, but those devices won’t display shared content.

You need a credit or debit card on file with your Apple ID, and if a child under age 13 will be a group member, you’ll need a credit card. Adjust your payment info at Settings > iTunes & App Store. Tap your Apple ID, tap View Apple ID, sign in, and tap Payment Information.

Setting up Family Sharing

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud.
  2. Tap Set Up Family Sharing.
  3. Tap Get Started .
    ② 	Tap Get Started to, well, get started with setting up your family group.

    ② Tap Get Started to, well, get started with setting up your family group.

  4. On the Family Setup screen, after reading your responsibilities as family organizer, make certain that the Apple ID you want to use for Family Sharing is the one shown on this screen. If it’s not, tap “Not you or want to use a different ID?” at the bottom of the screen. Otherwise, tap Continue.
  5. Read the Share Purchases information and tap Continue.
  6. Confirm your payment method and tap Continue.
  7. Tap either Share Your Location or Not Now.

With Family Sharing setup complete, you can manage the group in Settings > iCloud > Family.

Adding a Family Member

  1. Visit Settings > iCloud > Family.
  2. If you need to create a new account for a child, do so from within this screen; read Creating an Apple ID for a Child, ahead.
  3. Tap Add Family Member. Enter that person’s email address to send an invitation (be sure that the person is signed in to iCloud on an iOS 8 or Yosemite device). Alternatively, enter that family member’s Apple ID and password and skip Step 4.
  4. When your family member receives a notification (in iOS 8 or Yosemite), she must open the notification and follow the prompts to be added to your group.

What’s Shared

Controlling Sharing

Tip: You can hide individual purchases from your history. See this Apple support article for instructions.

How Ask to Buy Works

  1. The child attempts to make a purchase in the App Store, iTunes Store, or iBooks Store.
  2. In the Ask Permission alert, the child taps Ask .
    ③ 	When Ask to Buy is enabled, a child must receive permission to buy items from the App Store, iTunes Store, and iBooks Store.

    ③ When Ask to Buy is enabled, a child must receive permission to buy items from the App Store, iTunes Store, and iBooks Store.

  3. A notification appears on all parent or guardian devices. The parent opens the notification and taps either Decline or Approve . If Approve was tapped, the parent also must enter his Apple ID password to complete the purchase.
    ④ 	After opening the notification, a parent or guardian must approve or decline the request.

    ④ After opening the notification, a parent or guardian must approve or decline the request.

  4. If the child is using iOS 8 or Yosemite, he receives a notification of the decision. If the parent approved the request, the purchase downloads automatically to the child’s device.

(If an Ask to Buy request isn’t acted upon within 24 hours, it will be deleted and must be submitted again.)

Using Family Sharing

⑤ 	You can select the shared Family calendar when creating an event.

⑤ You can select the shared Family calendar when creating an event.

Family Sharing Exceptions

For a full list of Family Sharing exceptions, see this Apple support article.

Removing a Family Member

You can remove a family member age 13 or older at any time:

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Family.
  2. Select the family member you wish to remove.
  3. Tap Remove.
  4. At the prompt, tap Remove again.

The removed person immediately looses access to shared purchases (though they will remain on any devices until deleted), the Family Photo Stream, Family calendar, and everything else Family Sharing entails.

The removed family member receives a notification of the removal.

Creating an Apple ID for a Child

Before iOS 8, you could not legally set up an Apple ID for a child under age 13 in the United States. But now you can:

  1. After setting up Family Sharing, go to Settings > iCloud > Family and tap “Create an Apple ID for a child,” near the bottom. (It’s in very small, blue type.)
  2. Follow the onscreen instructions, including providing the child’s birthdate and agreeing to the Parent Privacy Disclosure.

There are a couple of gotchas:

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“I see a Family card in Reminders for shared tasks when Family Sharing is on. If only Siri would do the laundry.”

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