I’ve had multiple Apple IDs over the years of being an Apple customer since I started buying music on iTunes in 2004. I eventually consolidated everything into two accounts back around the time I got my first iPod touch. I had one account for purchases (my Gmail account), and then I had my .Mac/MobileMe/iCloud account. Apple has always done a great job allowing you to keep a store account running alongside a data account on their devices. When I signed up for Apple Music in 2015, I took the time to set up Family Sharing with my wife and children. We had previously all shared an account, but with an Apple Music family subscription option at $14.99 per month, it was time to prepare for the future. I created a Family Sharing account, invited my wife as a parent, and then set up kid accounts for all my children. We then could each have our own Apple Music, iCloud data, but still access each other’s purchases. Apple really built a strong foundation for families to manage their data, have privacy, but also stay connected. And I think there is much work to do, and I hope that they add some much-needed Family Sharing additions in 2020 with future versions of iOS, macOS, and iCloud.
Shared iCloud Photo Library
I’ve written about this multiple times in the past, and I am going to keep writing about it until Apple builds a solution. If you want to share your iCloud Photos with a family member now, you have to use a variety of methods to do this like AirDrop, iMessage, or a Shared Album. The problem with these methods is they are manual, and you are likely to forget to keep the master library up to date. One spouse will have the “master library” on their device, while the other won’t. There are a variety of ways for Apple to address this, but a simple way would be able to let me shared my library with my wife, and she can browse it from her device and save anything she wants (and vice versa).
Spouse and child accounts for Apple Card
Earlier in August, Michael Potuck wrote about his desire to see Apple expand options for spouses to have cards under the same account (something many credit cards offer).
As you’ve probably heard by now, Apple isn’t offering the option of getting an additional Apple Card for a second user. If you’re in a relationship, that means both you and your significant other have to fill out separate applications for Apple Card on iPhone or iPad which if approved, will be tied to your Apple ID.
I’d love to see a couple of things here. I’d like to see Apple simply allow me to order a second card under my wife’s name, but also let her add the card to Apple Pay as well. I’d want her to be able to have unlimited access to any available credit. Another thing I’d love to see Apple offer is to let me give kids (when they are a bit older) an Apple Card with a monthly limit at various categories. Let’s say that I want to provide them with $100/month on gasoline, but only $50 in food. Once they run out of money for the billing cycle, they will have to wait. Apple could also have the option to “request” more allowance in the app, similar to how kids can request more screen time. This feature would help me work with them saving money and making wise choices. Apple could give parents the option of allowing kids to “save” some of their money from specific categories to use in months that follow.
Family Playlist on Apple Music
When we get into the car headed to school, each of my kids always wants something different on Apple Music. I have a “morning commute” playlist, but it only has five or so songs, and I always forget to update it. Apple could do a “Family Favorite Songs” and a “Family New Music Mix” that could take into account each person’s listening history and have a playlist that everyone will love. Apple has all the data about our ages, so they could take that into account when choosing songs (avoiding explicit language or inappropriate themes). It would take the guesswork out of the commute, and I could say, “Hey Siri, play my family favorite songs playlist.”
Wrap-up on Family Sharing
I love the foundation Apple has built with Family Sharing. Everyone has their own accounts, but we can share iCloud storage. We each get our personal Apple Music account, so we can add the music and playlists we love while each listening at the same time. I hope adding some additional features to it is on the agenda for the future.