Before Family Sharing, there was Home Sharing, which allowed you to share apps and media with your family by having an Apple ID that contained the purchases to be used on up to five computers and an unlimited number of iOS devices. For your family to make purchases with that Apple ID, they either know the password to that Apple ID (which also means they can access your passwords, credit card information, documents), or they have to go to the account holder every time they want to purchase an app or music.

Now with iOS 8 there is Family Sharing and it does not require sharing an Apple ID. Instead your family of five (six including yourself) each have their own Apple ID with the same credit card and can download apps and iTunes. Your family does have to have their Apple ID based in the same country. Also, parents can approve their kids’ purchases right from their device. Besides managing the App Store and iTunes purchases, Family Sharing can help you track where your children are using Find My Friends and can help find their lost devices using Find my iPhone.

Family Sharing also allows you to easily create a shared family calendar and shared family reminder list that anyone in the family can view and edit. It also creates a shared family photo album. In this how to, I will discuss how to set up Family Sharing and how to use it.

expand full story