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  • Writer's pictureCarla Webb

Apple Family Sharing vs Home Sharing?

We love our Apple gadgets. And Apple loves to get us to subscribe to monthly payments for storage and music and pay for apps and movies etc. If you are an Apple family, you know that this can end up costing you all a fortune. To keep customers loyal, Apple has improved sharing and security options; unfortunately, it's not always crystal clear how it all works or how to set it up. After all, they still prefer us to just keep on spending. So I'm going to clarify the differences between Home Sharing and Family Sharing so that you can choose what you and your family need.

Family sharing

If you have kids - this is what you need. With Family Sharing, you can have up to 6 family members who can all share apps, movies and purchases. Each family member has their own apple id and their own password. This might seem strange when kids are young but will be easier to manage as they grow up and avoids them receiving your photos and messages on their devices.

  • Purchases - Mum can buy Toy Story 4 on her phone/iPad/laptop/apple tv and each kid (or Dad) can download it to their iPad/iPhone without having to pay again. This also works for music and apps.

  • Subscriptions - one Apple Music family subscription and one iCloud storage subscription for the whole family will save you considerable money. You can still have your own personal music library so that you're not stuck listening to Acid House on your morning run.

  • Content Control - each child can have different levels of content control based on their age. This helps control bad language, violence, adult content etc. from being accessed on your childs device. It's also useful for movie ratings. So if Mum and Dad purchase an 18 rated movie one evening, it will be in the family sharing library, but underage kids can't download it. This feature also prevents them from accessing age-inappropriate games and apps.

  • Screen time - Each child can have different settings for the times when they can/can't use their gadgets. You can configure exceptions so that they can still text, call or WhatsApp you 24/7, but not play games or snapchat during the night or school hours. Screen time also shows you what your child is spending their time doing. 'I was doing homework' doesn't work when you can see that they spent 2 hours on Instagram.

  • Permission to Purchase - rather than you having to log in to your kids' device to purchase a game or movie, the child searches for and requests the app/movie. You receive a message on your phone asking permission and you accept or refuse. This way you see exactly what your child is buying and how much it costs.

  • Location sharing - find your kid! They may get lost on the way home, or you just have a sneaky suspicion that they aren't where they say they are. Location sharing pinpoints exactly where their phone or iPad is.

  • Calendar and photo sharing - create a family calendar so there are no excuses for missing Grandma's birthday, and family shared albums mean that you can all access the same photos and videos without having to send them to each other creating unnecessary copies.

Family sharing is really flexible but also complex and constantly evolving. Once set up, you will have peace of mind about what your child can access and have a better idea of how they spend their time on their phones and iPads.

Home Sharing

The big difference is that Home Sharing uses one Apple ID whereas with Family Sharing, each family member has their own Apple ID. Home sharing enables one person to access all their purchases and streaming from a computer to any of their other devices such as Apple TV, Mac, iPad, iPhone or even on a PC using iTunes for Windows. Home Sharing avoids having to have multiple copies of videos, music, movies etc. on each device or having to purchase something more than once.

  • On each gadget, Home Sharing must be turned on.

  • You can share music, videos, books, photos, TV shows and movies

  • You can automatically transfer purchases to other devices when you buy them

  • You can listen to music or watch movies from a library stored on your laptop, iPad or iPhone using a different device or Apple TV.

  • Limitations - the devices have to be on the same wifi network for Home Sharing to work. Both devices you are sharing to and from have to be switched on and the Music or TV app open.

  • Beware that home sharing can sometimes create duplicates. It doesn't check if something already exists before downloading new content.

If you need advice on how to set up Family Sharing or Home Sharing, or just want someone else to do it for you - contact me on #webbconsulting #screentime #parentalcontrol #familysharing

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