We have been keen to write this post for a while. Apple’s announcement of iOS8 came with the promise of greater support for family features. Encouraging family interaction across Mum’s iPad and little Timmy’s iPod touch seems well overdue, October’s iOS8 release has shown a commitment to giving families simple features which solve the confusions parents have faced with Apple products over the last few years.
The problem with having multiple iTunes accounts is that Dad’s might have Katy Perry’s new album but not Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits which is only on Timmy’s iPod touch. Family sharing solves this problem by allowing up to 6 family members to share purchases from iTunes, iBooks and the App Store.
All the family can now share photos to one album which is a nice move. It is easy to set-up and when a photo or video is uploaded, everyone can comment and favourite the content. The only thing to keep an eye on is the iCloud memory allowance being used, free up to 5GB which is adequate but could be reached quickly if memory heavy files such as long videos are shared regularly.
Children Have To Ask Permission Wherever They Are
One complaint Roosterbank parents have voiced in the past is that creating an Apple ID for children under 13 isn’t possible. You can now do that on the family screen and demand that children clear their purchase with you before they buy anything. This is nifty, parent’s get a notification and can approve or decline a purchase when out and about. Maybe they got the idea from Roosterbank!
I’m not sure how many families use an online calendar, and I’m not sure how useful it is for them either. Most parents we know are pretty traditional in keeping a paper calendar and it works well. If you are feeling techy then Apple offer a good solution for synchronising calendars across devices which can be useful for scheduling in homework or chores.
Is It Worth It?
In short, the family features Apple has added, although a long time coming, are well worth the wait. It is fun to comment on photos in the family album, and sharing all your purchases across devices is an essential that should save some money for families. Of course though, you need everyone in the family to have an Apple device or it all falls down.