There’s an old saying that sharing is caring.

We’re taught to share from the moment we’re born. It starts with our toys as little nippers, our clothes with our siblings throughout our teens.

And then when we get older and settle down, there’s not much we’re allowed to keep to ourselves between our spouse and our children.

There’s nothing quite like sharing the things we love with our family and Apple have been quick to realise this. They’ve designed a feature that makes it easier for you to share content, purchases, and even storage across multiple iOS devices.

It also saves you money on subscriptions and lets up to six people share iTunes, Apple Books, Apple Music and more. We thought you’d like a handy guide on how to use Family Sharing and how to get the most out of it.

Where do I start?

The hardest part of all this is choosing who Apple call ‘the Organiser’. This is essentially your house admitting who wears the trousers and who is in charge – which we think some of you may find difficult.

Maybe you can rock-paper-scissors it to decide, but when you do, this person will be able to select what features are shared and can invite up to five family members to join their Family Sharing group.

Once the rest of the family accept the invite, that family member will see Family Sharing setup on their device, automatically.

To set up Family Sharing on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, follow these 10 easy steps.

1)     Open Settings and tap of your name at the top.

2)     Select ‘Set Up Family Sharing’.

3)     Tap ‘Get Started’.

4)     Select the first feature you want to share with your family from the list.

5)     Select ‘Continue’.

6)     Choose a ‘Shared Payment method’. Be aware that this card will be used by family members to pay for things on their device.

7)     Select ‘Continue’.

8)     Tap on ‘Invite Family Members’.

9)     You may be prompted to enter the security number for your Shared Payment card. If so, enter this and then select ‘Next’.

10) An iMessage will flag up with a link to the Family Sharing Invitation. You should then send this message to your individual family members, the same way you’d normally send an iMessage. When you’ve done this step, click ‘Done’.

In order for Family Sharing to work, all of the invited family members must be using a device that supports iOS 8 and later. You can also only be in one family at a time, but if you do get sick of yours, you can switch to another family group once per year.

What can I share through Family Sharing?

There are lots of different things that can be shared with Apple’s fancy sharing feature, so we thought we’d give you the full scoop and tell you exactly what each thing entails.

Apple Music.

Instead of paying for lots of different Apple Music plans, Family Sharing lets you create an Apple Music Family plan that grants up to six people unlimited access for only £14.99. Now you can all jam out to your favourite songs!

A screenshot of Apple Music.
Share Apple Music and enjoy your own playlists.

If your daughter is a bit of a Taylor Swift fan and you’re more into your Motown, don’t panic. Each family member gets their own personal music library, so you won’t have to endure any music you don’t like.

iTunes and App Store Purchases.

Family members that are involved in the family plan will be able to view and download the music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books that you’ve purchased. So, the warning here would be to not reveal any embarrassing things like your hidden passion for Disney films…

Family Sharing means other people in your plan can download your own copy of these apps, without having to share Apple IDs and passwords – super-easy!

Share your location.

This is a great one if you want to keep track of where everyone in the house is. Perhaps you’ve made dinner and your teenager swore they’d be home in time but are an hour late.

A screenshot of Find Your Friends on an iPhone.
See where everyone is at all times!

Maybe you’ve asked your husband to pick up a bottle of wine on his way home from work and are tracking how long it’ll be before you get your first taste…

Whatever it is, family members will be able to view each other’s locations. If you did want some privacy, perhaps you’re hiding out at Asda for a break, you can switch off ‘Share My Location’ in iCloud settings.

Screen Time.

This may be a good one for lockdown and home schooling and will let you track how often your little one is going on their phone. You’ll also be able to set parental controls from your iPhone to determine how often they go on it.

Unfortunately, if you’re sick of your partner going on their phone during date night, there’s nothing you can do. This handy trick will only work on your kid’s phones.

Shared iCloud storage.

If you’re someone who uses up all their iCloud storage with photos of the dog or food from meals out, but your family members don’t quite take advantage of theirs, Family Sharing is perfect.

A screenshot of someone's iCloud Storage.
Share your iCloud Storage with your loved ones. 

You’ll be able to create a storage plan to be shared by everyone and with a choice of 200GB or 2TB, you’ll have all the room you could ever need to keep things safe and sound. Family members won’t be able to access each other’s files but will be able to see how much storage everyone else is using.

Shared Apple subscriptions.

This handy feature will let you save your pennies for something more fun, like a nice takeaway or maybe a new coat. If the Organiser has any Apple subscriptions like Music or News+, all members of the family will be able to access it on their devices.

A screenshot of Apple News.
You'll be able to share just one subscription instead of paying for six!

This way you won’t have to pay for lots of individual subscriptions and can enjoy personal recommendations sent directly to you.

Share photo albums.

When you set up Family Sharing, a shared photo album will be automatically created. You can then use this album to share photos, videos, and comments with your loved ones. This is perfect for lockdown and means you can see what everyone is up to, without being there.

Share your calendar.

Like the shared photo album, a shared calendar will be automatically set up the minute Family Sharing is created. Each member of the family will be able to add events into the calendar, so birthdays and anniversaries will never be forgotten again.

The reminder for each event will flag up on everyone’s device and you can even set up reminders for that extra peace of mind.

The fun never ends.

There are lots of different things to play around with when it comes to Family Sharing but one thing that’s certain is that it’ll save you a hell of a lot of time, money, and stress. Of course, you’ll need an iPhone to enjoy all of this.

Luckily for you, we’ve got lots of great deals on the very latest and best from Apple, just waiting for you to snap them up.