Sunday, January 4, 2015

Separating AppleIDs and Family Sharing - benefits and possible drawbacks

I have felt the need for quite some time to create some separation of Apple accounts with my family.  iOS 8 and Yosemite make this more appealing.  Your Apple account is your AppleID.

First, how many places are there to set your account?  There are 5!  If you separate them, make sure to do so every place you intend to do so.

Update on 1/6/14 - TidBITS linked to an article about Family Sharing that is important from someone quitting family sharing:
-- iTunes match is not shared, from what I can tell.  I was told I could continue to share music content, but this is not the whole truth.  I was sharing via iTunes Match.  The separate ID does not allow for this.

What are the implications?
  • iCloud
    • This separates iCloud backups of ios devices!
    • This separates photostreams for each person - you lose the ability to stream photos with any devices on a separate iCloud account
    • It enables easy setup and sharing of:
      • a shared photo album all family members may publish to when they choose.  This typically causes an alert just like with other shared photo albums.
      • a family calendar
      • a family reminder "group"
    • If you use one account, you can keep a shared photostream and iCloud storage account for backups, but then could be sharing contacts, calendars, documents, and more.  This can be problematic.
  • iTunes, App Store, iBooks bookstore
    • App purchases are available to all family members (although I read that there is an ability to hide purchases.  I have not explored this)
      • In app purchases are only available per account and are not family-shareable
    • iTunes Match is no longer shared.  If you share music via iTunes match, another account will need to be purchased.  I believe it will also need to be "primed" with all of your music.  This looks like a bit of a mess!
  • Messages
    • This needs to be separate for each person to be able to use sms messages on their mac linked to their iPhone.
  • Facetime
    • This needs to be separate for each person to be able to use their cellular phone linked with their mac to make/receive phone calls.
With shared messages and facetime, wackiness such as receiving all family texts on one computer and/or one iPhone can be accomplished!
  • GameCenter
    • Separation means a family competition can begin!  Also, separate friend lists can be had.

I think messages and facetime are close to being synonymous.  I suspect in some future version of iOS and Yosemite, they will no longer be separate.  In fact, I suspect that this complexity of 5 different places to use an account will be eliminated and shrink to one account at some point.
  • I think it is clear that each person using a separate AppleID for Messages, Facetime, and Gamecenter always makes sense.  If I have that wrong, and you disagree, please tell me.
  • iCloud:
    • This one Graham Spencer of MacStories strongly recommends be separate (see link below).
    • This is very hard for families used to having a completely shared photostream; auto-sharing is lost.
    • It also means if you have one purchased larger iCloud storage capability, it is no longer shared for backups.
    • It lets each user have their own documents, calendar, contacts, while enabling easy sharing of the same with family members.  This makes it seem pretty necessary.
  • iTunes
    • If you use 2-factor authentication, and you should, your family members need to type this in when purchases are made.  This means having it separate is probably a necessary idea.  However, you lose sharing in-app purchases, such as true app-activation in some cases.
    • When family members split from your family group at some future date, they keep their purchases.  What else does it mean?  This is not clear.
I really do hope Apple can eliminate this kind of complexity for its users.

Here are a few articles for reference which can really help as well:

No comments:

Post a Comment