How to set up Family Sharing on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac

Apple introduced Family Sharing way back in iOS 8, but we wouldn’t be surprised if you ignored it so far. It allows you to share iCloud storage and purchases, but that comes with some caveats that have made it undesirable for many. The biggest problem is that, if you share iTunes and App Store purchases, then every purchase from every family member are always charged to the “organizer” account—family members literally have no way to make any purchases on their own.

While Apple should definitely address that shortcoming, there are now far more reasons to enable Family Sharing than even a year ago. Apple’s new subscription services—Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Arcade—all support Family Sharing at no additional cost. Apple Music can be shared for an extra $5 per month, and new features like Screen Time and Apple TV Channels can be shared, too. 

Even if you don’t want to share purchases and force every App and iTunes purchase to go through a single Organizer account, you can share these other subscriptions and features. And that benefit makes the value of these subscriptions an absolute steal.

Here’s how to get Family Sharing set up on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

Setting up Family Sharing on iPhone or iPad

You set up Family Sharing the same way on an iPhone or an iPad.

ios13 iphone family sharing Apple

Tap on your Apple ID and then Set Up Family Sharing to get started on iPhone or iPad.

1. Go to Settings, and tap on your Apple ID account at the top.

2. Tap Set Up Family Sharing (if you already have a family set up, it will just say Family Sharing and list members).

3. Tap Get Started and follow the on-screen instructions. You’ll send a special iMessage to the people you invite. They’ll need to tap on it to accept.