Home > Wiki Tips

An Introduction to Apple Family Sharing

Updated on Friday, June 14, 2024

iBoysoft author Amanda Wong

Written by

Amanda Wong
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


Summary: This post explains what is Apple Family Sharing, tells how to set up Apple Family Sharing, what can be shared among members of a family group, and other essentials you should know to use Apple Family Sharing.

apple family sharing

If several family members have used Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, you could enable the Apple Family Sharing feature to save costs. One purchases the app or makes a subscription, and all others in the Family Sharing group can use it without paying, which is really great.

More than that, Apple Family Sharing enables you to share locations with your families, locate your families' lost devices, set Screen Time for a child account, etc. Keep reading to know more detailed information about Apple Family Sharing and how to set it up on your Mac.

What is Apple Family Sharing

As a part of the Apple Ecosystem, Apple Family Sharing allows you to share content between individuals on a family plan. This Family Sharing service, based on Apple ID, was introduced in iOS 8 in June 2014. Although it has been there for a while, many Apple users are unaware of its existence, let alone know how it works.

If you set up the Family Sharing group, you are referred to as the family organizer, who can invite family members, remove family members, and disband the group. Each family member joins the family group with their own Apple ID. One Apple ID can only be a member of one family group. To use the Apple Family Sharing service, your devices should run in iOS 8 and later versions and OS X Yosemite and later versions.

With Apple Family Sharing, you can invite up to 5 other family members to access the shared Apple services such as iCloud+, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Fitness+, Apple News+, and Apple Arcade. If your family includes children, you can create Apple ID for them and create child accounts to control the contents they can access, approve what kids buy and download, etc. 

enable family sharing

If someone wants to know more about Apple Family Sharing, you can share this informative post with her/him.


How to set up Apple Family Sharing

You are only a few steps away from setting up Apple Family Sharing on your Apple devices. Follow the step below to turn on Family Sharing on your Mac and invite people to your family. 

Set up Family Sharing on Mac:

  1. Click on the Apple Menu and choose System Preferences.
  2. Tap on Sign In, then enter your Apple ID, password, and the verification code on your trusted devices.
  3. On the right side of your profile, click on Family Sharing next to Apple ID.apple family sharing
  4. Click Get Started to enable the Family Sharing feature, and you can tap Not Now there to set it up later.
  5. Choose Create Child Account for kids under 13 years old, click Next and follow the on-screen guide.
    create child account
  6. Choose Invite People to add family members to your group. Choose a way to send invitations on the pop-up window, including Mail, Message, AirDrop, and Invite in Person.send invitation family sharing
  7. After you accept the invitation, you will see their Apple IDs are added to the Family list.

If you have already enabled the Apple Family Sharing unconsciously on Mac, you can navigate to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Family Sharing, and then click the "+" button to add other family members.

Set up Family Sharing on an iPad/iPhone/iPod:

  1. Go to Settings and tap [Your name] or tap Sign in to your [device] to proceed.
  2. Choose Set up Family Sharing > Get Started and choose the first feature you want to use with Family Sharing. Add a payment method to your Apple ID account if you don't already have one.
  3. Follow the onscreen prompts to complete the setup and Invite Family Members.
  4. Choose a way to send invitations, via Message or invite in person.

Depending on the age, there are different types of Family Sharing members playing different roles, including:

  • Organizer: An adult who sets up a Family Sharing group. 
  • Adult: A member of the Family Sharing group who is 18 years or older.
  • Parent/Guardian: An adult member designated by the organizer to help manage parental controls for children in the group. 
  • Child or teen: A member under the age of 18. 

What can you share with Family Sharing

Once you enabled Family Sharing on your Apple devices, you will see some features and services provided to use in Family Sharing, we will explain some of these options which have been widely used with the Family Sharing service. You can select an option and click on Learn more to set up the service in Family Sharing.

  • Apple Subscriptions: All the services such as Apple TV, Apple Fitness, Apple News, etc., can be shared among Family Sharing members without no extra cost(Apple Music needs to pay for the family plan). When the purchase sharing is turned on, any shared subscriptions are billed directly to the organizer's default payment method.
  • App Store Subscription: When one of the Family Sharing members purchases a paid app from the App Store, billed with the organizer's payment method, every other member can free download the app on their apple devices with their Apple ID signed in. 
  • Location Sharing: With Location Sharing enabled, every Family Sharing member can view each other's location in the Find My and Messages apps. What's more, family members can also locate their devices of each other. This feature could help to find missing devices of your family members.
  • Screen Time: This feature is used to monitor any children in your Family Sharing group under the age of 18. You can view the screen time reports of the child account and set parental control including Downtime, App Limits, Content & Privacy, and so forth.
  • iCloud Storage: If you have subscribed to an iCloud storage plan with 200GB, you can share this with all your Family Sharing members to safely store everyone's photos, videos, and documents to sync contents across devices and release more storage space on devices.

Some apps may not support Family Sharing depending on locations. And you can also hide a subscription if you don't want to share it with other Family Sharing members. You need to find the purchase on your devices, and use the Hide/Hide Purchases button to unshare it with others. 

How to turn off Apple Family Sharing

When you don't want to use the Apple Family Sharing service anymore, you can turn off it with ease. If your family group contains any child account, you need to switch it to another Family Sharing group so that you can continue to disable the Family Sharing feature. Here's how to turn off Family Sharing on Mac. And the steps of that of iOS devices are roughly the same.

  1. Head to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Family Sharing.
  2. From the Family member list, select the name of a member and tap "-" to remove she/he from your family group.
  3. Tap on the Details next to your name and click Stop Using Family Sharing to remove yourself from a family group.
  4. To disband Family Sharing, you should remove all other members one by one, and then click Details next to your name(organizer), choose Turn off and tap Stop Family Sharing.stop family sharing

After reading, you have a deep understanding of Apple Family Sharing, click the button below to share it with others who want to use Apple Family Sharing to share content.