iTunes as a family was one of the new features announced with great fanfare with the introduction of iOS 8. It was really a big advance, very interesting for those families with more than one iPhone among its members. Thanks to this we could create an ecosystem that would benefit all members of the family unit .
Why create multiple iTunes accounts when you can have them all in one account? This is the main reason and in iOS 9 we have seen how the possibilities increased by including Apple Music (well, actually this one came with one of the latest iOS 8 updates). Today at Apple we are going to unlock its main features.
As we have already said everything is part of a basic premise, that all members of a family are sponsored under a “mother” account that will have full control of access to the other members that are invited to be part of that “family” account.
Basic principles of configuration
At first we will have to set up a base account. This account will be assigned a “mother” credit card which will be responsible for all the purchase costs made by all the members of the family.
The “mother” account will be responsible for pooling all iTunes purchases under a single credit card
This account will be in charge of inviting all the members of the family by sending these invitations to the different user accounts that you want to include. Each user we invite to the family iTunes account can be assigned roles. What does this mean?
We may create profiles for minors , so that we can ensure that they do not have access within iTunes to content that is not suitable for their age, be it music, applications, books or movies. They will have “age-appropriate” access to the iTunes Store.
But that’s not all. We can share everything we’ve bought on the iTunes Store with our “family” account members. This way we don’t have to buy the same application, the same album or the same book twice, but we can share it with up to 6 people.
And where is this set up? Very simple, from the settings, entering iCloud we will have a section called “Family”. This is where we can enter the users we want to be within this family unit, being allowed, as we said, up to a maximum of 6 users .
We will only have to enter the name (that appears in our address book) or the email address that we want to add and we will have to decide at this point if the person we are going to include is a minor or not.
Common elements and differentiation between normal and underage accounts
The elements that can be shared among all the elements of the family are mainly the reminders, the photos, the videos that we want… So far, so good. But that’s not all, we can also create a common calendar to organize all the activities or appointments to be made as a family.
Accounts for minors (up to age 14) will have limited access and will not be able to view iTunes content that is not appropriate for their age
The location of the members of the family unit can be accessed and we can even locate lost iOS devices, block them, etc.
As mentioned above, purchases made on iTunes (whether the app store, the iBooks Store or iTunes itself) will always be charged to a single credit card (sponsored by the “mother” account) and the owner of that account will authorize or not the purchase . Possible purchases within applications will also be controlled. And everything that is bought can be shared between all members.
The main account may also assign another member as “parent” or “guardian” so that they also have the power to authorize or not the purchases of other accounts.
Sharing purchases can be done easily. These purchases can be shared on both iOS devices and OS X computers. The only requirement is to have iOS 8 or Yosemite (or higher) installed. Within the iCloud section found in the iOS settings (or in the OS X system preferences) we will only have to choose family and in our account will give us the option to share or not what we buy.
It is more convenient not to have automatic sharing of purchases, as family members can access a history of everything purchased
If we have it activated, automatically, any application, book, or multimedia content that we buy will be installed in all the devices that are within the family. But this can be a nuisance, since you can end up filling your partner’s or your child’s iPhone with content that they don’t really need, forcing them to have to uninstall it.
The most comfortable way, in my opinion, is to have this option turned off. This way, we won’t fill up the content that other family members don’t need, but can they still access it? Yes, of course they can and in a simple way.
Whether we’re in the App Store, the iTunes Store or the iBooks Store, we’ll have the option of seeing what the different members of the family have bought , always in the “bought” section. This way we can download everything we want to have to our device.
The “Find my iPhone” application will also show us where the different devices belonging to that family unit are located.
Apple Music also among all members of your family.
If you’re wondering how to share Apple Music with your family, the process is as simple as we’re used to from Apple. When it comes to activating Apple Music, which continues with its three month free trial for new additions, we’ll have to choose the family subscription option.
Apple Music Family Membership gives unlimited access to all family members
The cost is 14.99 euros per month (after these three months) and at the time of purchase, all family members will have unlimited access to Apple Music. They will be able to access lists created by experts according to their tastes, the “For You” recommendations or the option of being able to use iTunes Connect to keep up to date with the latest news from their favourite artists or groups.
They will also have access to Beats 1, unlimited playback without skipping between songs from different Apple Music stations, the ability to listen to the entire Apple Music collection or download music to their devices to listen to music without having access to a WiFi network.
Setting up iTunes under Family and purchasing an Apple Music Family subscription is as simple as making sure all your configuration options are within the settings in iCloud . This will be the fundamental access and configuration pillar for all family members.