Here's how easy it is for app developers to support Family Sharing in iOS 8

Family Sharing

Family Sharing was just one of the many new features announced for iOS 8 at WWDC 2014 and better yet it'll be super simple for app developers to support it. Family Sharing allows up to 6 people to share iBooks, iTunes purchases and apps from the App Store and as an email to Apple developers describes, opting in and supporting it is a doddle:

To make your apps available as part of Family Sharing, agree to the updated iOS Paid Applications and/or Mac Paid Applications agreement in Contracts, Tax, and Banking on iTunes Connect. To ensure that Family Sharing is also enabled for previously purchased apps, leave the appropriate checkbox selected on the agreements page.

Further more adding Family Sharing for folks who've already purchased your apps takes nothing more than ensuring the relevant check box is selected. Apple also clarifies that in-app purchases are not transferrable through Family Sharing, just the apps themselves.

For those out there with kids and spouses Family Sharing is going to add a potential revenue saving and added controls over what can be bought. But at the same time it's not Apple's place to simply go giving away apps which it didn't create without the developers say-so. So this is probably the best in-between point and it's easy for devs to activate.

If you're a developer with some thoughts on Family Sharing, be sure to drop us a line in the comments below. If you're a consumer, do you think Family Sharing is going to make a real difference to how you and your loved ones use your iOS devices?

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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Reader comments

Here's how easy it is for app developers to support Family Sharing in iOS 8

16 Comments

This is opening the door for more in-app only apps. Free, get it now and share with your family. Boom...gimme money for this in-app that's not shared.

There's a feeling of "uh oh, better support family share so we don't look bad" that, IMHO, will push many devs to freemium.

My wife and i know each others passwords so it's pretty easy for us to login to each others app store to restore a purchased app, this will be a whole lot easier i assume?

As they say, you share your content with people, not devices. How many devices can I register for another person? More than one? Also up to 10? How does Music get shared if I have iTunes Match? Can I only share Music that I bought through the iTunes Store?

I don't fully understand the difference between Family Sharing & just using the same account only for the App Store.

I think there's two key differences. First, Family Sharing lets parents admin the account for the family in one place. You don't have to go to each device every time you want to change something. Second is licensing. Although people have been sharing App Store accounts for a long time now, when you buy an app, it's a single user license. When developers opt-in to Family Sharing they're effectively saying they're providing a multi-user license. Most end users don't care, but from a legal standpoint App Store account sharing falls into gray areas of legality.

Another thing is that some Apple apps use the App Store Apple ID to sync. For instance the Podcasts app, or the iBooks app. With the same account, if two people are reading the same books and both wanted sync to work between their own multiple devices (say keep the page synced on your phone and tablet), then the pages will also sync across all users of that store account.

I have my apple ID signed in on my son's iPad. Does this mean I have to create him his own apple ID and share the apps that I purchased?

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Families traditionally use one Apple ID for all their devices so they don't have to pay for the app 3 and 4 times. This will enable those families to have separate accounts without having to pay so many times, while increasing the revenue to Devs due to the in app purchasing.

By not sharing in app purchases, it still allows for developers to make money. More developers are going to the freemium model, pay no or a discounted upfront cost to the app, only to nickel-and-dime you in-game. This should not change the model much.

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Does this mean devs can offer single-user version at regular price and shared family version slightly higher?

I'm extremely excited about this feature. It was getting annoying to have to logout then login as my wife to download one app or so, and vice versa. It's great that we will be able to just say, hey dowbload this app and it be done, no hassle. Especially since my password isn't the most simple it would be even easier for her. Because I'm usually the one telling her to download new apps anyway, paid and non paid!

This is big for my wife and I when it comes to downloading music and movies... We listen to a lot of the same music and it's a hassle to have to manually move music over on the iMac but then run into that "this Mac is already associated with another Apple ID so you can not.... Blah blah blah"... We've actually opted to buy, wait for it... Physically CDs many times because of this flaw and inability to share purchases

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My understanding is that some content will not be shareable. Apple hasn't specified what will be exempt. I'm assuming movies and music will be excluded.

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My understanding is that some content will not be shareable. Apple hasn't specified what will be exempt. I'm assuming movies and music will be excluded.

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I'm going to reiterate a concern I already have with this. I have three kids, all with iPads, that are currently logged into my App Store account. Granted, they don't know the password for purchases because I want to control where my money goes and they cannot just download what they want when they want even if its free. What happens to their content they already have if I make them their own App Store account's even if it is tied to the same credit card? Does Apple have a way to make sure they they still get updates and maintain progress on their apps, especially those that don't back up to iCloud? Maybe this will help people buying separate devices going forward but the way I'm in the ecosystem is going to be tough to change things over.

I generally like the idea behind Family Sharing but it requires all users to use the same credit card -- we don't actually use a credit card at all though, instead we just buy iTunes gift cards and use that credit for paying for all our iTunes purchases. Not sure if there will be some kind of option to still be able to use the Family sharing feature…