Phones

Getting to know Apple's new Family Sharing feature

No longer will families be forced to share Apple IDs and passwords to share purchases. Rejoice!

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Jason Cipriani/CNET

In a move to make it easier for families to share purchased content, calendars, reminders, locations, and photo albums, Apple came up with a new feature we will first see in iOS 8. The feature, called Family Sharing, is one that allows up to six different people to connect and share content with one another.

The setup process is simple, requiring the family "organizer" to invite family members to join the group. Up to six people are allowed to join a family, with the caveat that the entire family must share the same credit card for purchases.

If you've shared the same Apple ID for iTunes and App Store purchases with family members, you only need to ensure one of the Family Sharing accounts is set up to share that Apple ID's purchases. In other words, each member of the group should sign in and share his or her Apple ID purchases when prompted.

Perhaps the most important benefit of Family Sharing isn't shared purchases, it's the fact you no longer have to share passwords.

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Apple, Inc.

More than sharing purchases

In one sense, you could think of Family Sharing as the modern-day refrigerator door. Family Sharing will create a shared calendar, Reminders list, photo album, and current location (opt-in) only.

For those with children under 13, an approval process is in place for purchase requests. Using iTunes or the App Store, a child can send a request to all parents or guardians in the family group, asking for permission to buy the content they'd like.

The parent will receive a push alert on his or her device, containing the name of the child, the price, and a link to view the content.

Going beyond sharing locations between family members in Find My Friends, Find My iPhone now allows members of the same family to track down a lost or misplaced device.

For more helpful iOS 8 tips, be sure to check out our complete guide to iOS 8.