Category Archives: Tech

Sharing Gmail

Gmail mailboxes can be shared with other users by delegating account access. Typical usages for this would be when you want someone to manage your emails while you’re on vacation, or providing access to a general purpose mailbox to several people. Google refers to this type of access as a delegated account.

Providing Access

The user owning the mailbox has to grant (and remove) access. The setting is located:

Gmail settings > Accounts and Import > Grant access to your account > Add another account

When providing access, you’ll need to decide on two options:

  • Mark as read – Should emails be marked as read when someone else opens them?
  • Sender information – Show who is responding on emails, or use the account name?

After granting access, the user receiving access has to accept an email invitation to monitor the delegated mailbox. Once the user has accepted the access invitation, it can take up to 30 minutes before the access is finally granted (available).

Accessing Delegated Mailbox

Once the user has permission to the delegated mailbox, they can access the mailbox from their account menu (upper right corner of the gmail window):

Gmail account icon > select delegated account

This will open a new tab with the delegated mailbox. The user can then perform email tasks as if it was their own account.

Revoking Access

The mailbox owner can revoke access. The setting is the same as granting access:

Gmail settings > Accounts and Import > Grant access to your account 

A list of users with account access will be listed. Simply remove accounts to revoke their access.

More Info

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 [email protected] or [email protected].  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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