My take on Family Sharing in iOS 8

Like many Apple users, my family is heavily invested in the Apple universe. We have 4 users, 3 iPhones, 2 Macs, 2 Apple TVs, and 1 iPad. All users have their own Apple ID for iMessages and FaceTime. My Apple ID has been used to purchase all services and media so we can easily share it between our devices.

The announcement of iOS 8’s Family Sharing feature looked to be a great addition and problem solver. I would love to be able to approve the purchases my kids make. I can’t tell you how many songs we’ve bought from iTunes that we already “owned” after ripping from our physical CD collection and sharing via iTunes Match.

Yesterday, we began the process of upgrading our devices and upgrading 2 of our 3 iPhones. Things seemed to go pretty easy setting up my wife’s iPhone. I had (accidentally) left my Apple ID as the iTunes user ID when restoring from the backup and accepted the Family Sharing invitation for her Apple ID. She has full access to all the media we have purchased.

Setting up my daughter’s phone has been another story entirely. I followed the same process to back up her old iPhone and restore to her new iPhone. I signed into her Apple ID account for iClould and accepted the Family Sharing invite. I used her Apple ID to initially sign into iTunes. Going to the App Store > All Purchases does NOT bring up the list of expected family members and our “Family Purchases”. So I changed the iTunes ID on her phone to my Apple ID. At this point the Apple Store appears completely borked. I get a message saying that her iTunes account is tied to a different iCloud account. IMG_4641

Another oddity, while I am getting this message (and unable to see my purchase history), I can download apps previously purchased with my Apple ID. If you try to buy a new app, you get the Ask Permission dialog box.

After several hours I changed her iTunes ID back to her iCloud account ID and she can now see all the media as expected.
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I honestly have no idea what is going on and if I want to continue using Family Sharing.

Why?

Let’s see what we’ve uncovered so far:

  1. Family Sharing feels like it is still in beta.
  2. iTunes Match does not appear to work with Family Sharing.
  3. How can you share iCloud disk space? It would seem to be a logical item to share just like iTunes Match.
  4. We already had a shared “Family” calendar that my apple ID owned and shared. Can this be merged with the Family Sharing calendar?
  5. It doesn’t look like 2nd generation Apple TVs will be able to use Family Sharing. This will probably spell the end of the line for my first Apple TV.
  6. You cannot correct the DOB for a user on the Apple ID site to have the true year of birth for a child that you previously had to lie about in order to get them an account in the first place. You must make a new ID.

I really hope things improve with Family Sharing.