Category Archives: Tech

Apple Accounts

Many households that having been using Apple products, especially iPhones, iPads and the old iPods, share the same iTunes account (now referred to as Apple ID) so that all the family members can have access to the iTunes purchases (music, movies, etc).  However, this setup eventually leads to problems with synchronizing information across multiple devices.  In particular, contacts get shared with everyone, messages/texts may be randomly delivered, and incoming calls to Facetime will be echoed across all the devices.

The solution to these problems is assign every user their own iCloud account.   Some of the additional benefits of having an individual iCloud account include the ability to locate your lost iPhone/Macbook, saving of passwords and backups of photos, etc. This article outlines the steps to provide each user with their own identity, while still allowing purchases in iTunes to be shared.

Select a permanent email address

Like the shared iTunes account, an iCloud account needs to have an email address associated with it.   It’s best to use a good long-term email address, not a school or work address.  Google provides free email accounts as part of a Google account.  Most people use their full name as part of the address, like bob.smith@gmail.com or bsmith@gmail.com.  Make sure you have full access to this email account, as you will receive some verification emails during the iCloud signup.

Create an iCloud account

Create your own iCloud account using that long-term email address.

If you already have your own, unique iCloud account you can skip this step.

Remove the old iCloud account

On your iPhone/iPad:

  • Open settings -> General -> iCloud
  • Signout
  • Delete account

On your Macbook:

  • Open System Preferences -> iCloud
  • Signout

Add the new iCloud account

On your iPhone/iPad:

  • Open settings -> General -> iCloud
  • Sign in with new iCloud account

On your Macbook/iMac:

  • Open System Preferences -> iCloud
  • Sign in with new iCloud account

Make sure you use the same iCloud account on all of your devices (iPhone, iPad, Macbooks, iMacs).

Finishing Up

Review your iCloud settings and ensure the following features are turned on:

  • Photos
  • Contacts
  • Calendar
  • Reminders
  • Safari
  • Keychain
  • Find My iPhone / Mac

Also ensure Message is setup on your iPhone:

  • Settings -> Messages
  • iMessage turned on

Family Sharing (optional)

While using separate Apple accounts for iTunes and iCloud will allow the sharing of iTunes purchases, Apple now has an official sharing program called Family Sharing.  It allows one Apple ID to be the primary purchaser, and then shares all the iTunes items like music, movies, apps and Apple Music plans, with up to five family members. It also provides extra services like locating other family members iPhones / Macbooks, family photo albums, and a family calendar (share schedules).

If you decide to switch to Family Sharing, then one person in the family will take over the old Apple ID (iTunes) and use that for their own account.   That person will then turn on Family Sharing, and share with the other family members by adding their iCloud accounts.   The rest of the family members will switch their iTunes accounts to match their iCloud account.

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