TiPb Asks: How are you handling iCloud in your family?

TiPb Asks: How are you handling iCloud in your family?

iCloud is Apple's new, free don't-call-it-sync service that stores your stuff up on Apple's gigantic servers and pushes it down to all your devices. And it works great... but it can be a challenge if you have a family. Now apple has never been great about handling the whole family thing to begin with. Their digital hub has always been fantastic for a single person but started to break down when you wanted to manage a family, especially with multiple accounts. iCloud is no exception.

So what are you doing about it? Are you settling for one iCloud account that just shares everything for every family member, from spouse to child and back again? Are you keeping separate accounts for you and your significant other, but sharing one with your child? Did you use your iTunes account for iCloud, did you transition a MobileMe account, or did you create a new one?

Find my iPhone certainly works better when shared, and it's cheaper to buy apps on one account than buy them more than once on several accounts, but things like Photo Stream end up being like crossing-the-streams -- an explosion of stuff on everyone's devices that no one particularly wants.

So how are you handling iCloud in your family? Any tips on keeping things economical and productive but still contained and manageable?

Georgia

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, hosts the ZEN & TECH podcast, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Prime.

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TiPb Asks: How are you handling iCloud in your family?

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we share 1 itunes account and have seperate icloud accounts. That seems to be working pretty well

Nope first thing I did on accident is delete some of my wife's contacts on my iphone lol least to say she was not happy.

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I was worried about this, but actually found Apple to have done a good job this time!
You can use multiple iCloud accounts on each device to set up sharing the way you want (on OSX as well).
I set up all of my families devices so that the "store" ID is my original Apple ID (i.e. we all share purchases).
Each family member has their own iCloud account. I was using MobileMe to sync, but I never bothered "transferring". I didn't use the email address, and all of the "synching" features just sucked up the data from my computer to the cloud.
To set things up, each device owned by a family member is set up with the main iCloud account being the one owned by that person.
I wanted to keep calendars and contacts shared between myself and my wife, so what I did was to turn off calendar and contract sharing for my wife's devices for her iCloud account. I then added my iCloud account to her devices and turned on only calendar / contract sharing for my iCloud account.
I did the same with "Find My Phone". All of my family's devices have my iCloud account added to it, and "Find My Phone" is always associated with my iCloud account.
Everything is sharing perfectly, and I can customize almost everything the way I like.
I have only found two "gotchas" so far.
One is with "reminders". On iOS devices, you can share calendars and reminders separately. On OSX, they are linked together. Ideally, I would like my wife to have her own "reminders", but for us to share calendars. Unfortunately, that won't work. The workaround is to have separate reminder lists for each of us.
The other issue is with the two things that MUST be associated with the main iCloud account: documents / data and Photo Stream.
I would like to have some iCloud apps share data between my wife's devices and my own, and I don't think that is possible. It would also be nice if the photos my wife takes and that I take could be seen on our respective devices, but I also see no way of doing that at the moment.
Other than that, I am extremely happy with iCloud so far, and look forward to more Apps moving their data onto the cloud!!!

In other words, it requires a ton of fiddling to work properly. I like the solutions you came up with.
iCloud is definitely not a "just works" product.

I have a problem sennidg images from my iPhone to my blog using mail-to-blogger. The images won't show up. I heard that you can't include image and text in the body, just an image, but doesn't work either. Any ideas?Thanks!!

Thanks for this information, Ronald. I have been trying to get my head round secondary accounts but there are broken links to non-existent Apple Support Knowledge Base articles which have got in the way of my understanding.
My wife and I currently share a single "family" MobileMe account for Mail, Calendar (with separate calendars for each of us in the same account, similar to your situation but subtly different) and Address Book, and have separate Apple IDs for purchases. We each have separate email accounts as well so the joint me.com one is for messages intended for both of us. I haven't made the transition to iCloud yet because of fear of messing everything up, because my wife has an iPod Touch 2 and a MacBook Core Duo, neither of which can be upgraded to Lion.
MobileMe support does not want to know about accessing iCloud on iOS4.2.1 or Snow Leopard. Their chat agents fall back on the iCloud system requirements when pressed, but it is becoming increasingly clear that, with a bit of work, both of my wife's devices will be able to access Mail, Calendar and Contacts in iCloud. She won't be able to use Reminders on the iPod Touch but she doesn't use the Todo feature anyway.
I may decide not to convert our family MobileMe account to iCloud but to set each of us up with a new iCloud me.com account, which I now see would allow us to continue to use MobileMe in case things come unstuck. The chat agent told me that, once the account is transferred, you can't go back, though I don't quite understand that as Apple says that iDisk and Gallery will continue to work until June 2012.
We don't need to share documents between us on iCloud but I want it so that I can share my own documents among my Macs and iDevices (though the process is still less than ideal for iWork apps).
I'm not committing myself yet but the time is coming closer.
Why couldn't Apple have anticipated the need for family-based access to iCloud and set it up so that it was simple and easy to implement? There must be countless people out there with similar (but varying) needs.

Would you mind going into a bit more detail about how you kept Find My iPhone on the same account for all of your family's devices, even though you have separate iCloud IDs? Thanks!

My wife and I share some items on iCloud, but not others. Specifically she has no interest in my contacts.
I used our iTunes account to set up the main iCloud account, then set sharing for Photo Stream and Find My iPhone, but nothing else. I then created a new iCloud account on her phone, using this to sync her contacts.
Her phone now has two iCloud accounts on it, so she can choose which items to sync with which account. It is important to know that each device recognized one account as the "Main" account.
I made this mistake when setting up her iCloud account on her MacBook Air, I added her account first, which is now preventing me from using either of our phones to find her Mac or to have a shared Photo Stream on her Mac. Currently, I cannot delete the secondary account on her Mac to make it the primary.
Great info can be found here: http://t.co/qhJk6pH1

I set up a separate iCloud account for my wife and two kids for use with mail, contacts, photostream, etc., then have a separate ID that we all share for iTunes. That way all of our personal information is separate, but we can still all share any purchases made in iTunes. No problems with it yet.

I immediately turned it off on all my devices when I realized you can't delete photos off of iCloud. If I take pictures I don't want on iCloud, I should be able to delete them off iCloud. If Apple never allows this then I'll never use Photostream.

@troy you can delete photos in the photostream. Go to iCloud preferences and select "reset photostream". Although, if u are that worried about those pictures being online, maybe u shouldn't be taking them in the first place, just sayin.

While I agree with you premise, some photos I would "prefer" not to have there are not embarrassing or inappropriate, some are just useless to others. For example, if I take a picture of a pair of shoes I like, but delete it off my iPhone, that needs to stay on Photo Stream for ever? And currently the only way to get rid of it is to blank out all other photos? Sounds like using a sledgehammer to solve a tweezer's job.

"it works great…"
I like the trail off. I hope you were trying to be sarcastic there because the sarcasm would definitely fit with the experience I've had trying to deal with making iCloud work "great". On top of that we only have one device doing the "iSync" thing right now, the next one gets upgraded to iOS5 this weekend...

I use my account for photo stream and iCloud backups on both my iPhone and my wife's iPhone. Then I setup my wife with her own personal iCloud account for everything else.

I'm having a hard time with iCloud. The first sync with my iPhone brought back EVERY app I have ever downloaded, which filled my phone to the brim and all apps that could not be downloaded were added to my Upgrade tab on the App store.
Moreover, I disagree that Apple did a good job. iCloud is not intuitive at all, has too little free space for a company that sells expensive hardware, by default backs up a ton of useless data from Apps, all in all requires too much fiddling to work as it should.
I have used far better sync/upgrade systems from other vendors, ones that really "simply work". Not so with iCloud.

I have set up 3 Apple IDs. One that was my old iTunes purchase ID that is now the family account. I use it for purchases, iCloud backups, Documents, Photostream, and find my iPhone.
Then I have two personal accounts for my wife and myself that sync our own contacts, calendars, reminders, bookmarks, Facetime, Find My Friends, and iMessage. It's working great thus far with no issues. My main complaint is that I would love the have documents on the personal account as opposed to the main account.

What my family does is 1 iTunes account across all devices and separate iCloud accounts to prevent cross contamination.

Yes, you can delete your wife's iCloud account. On her phone, you go to iCloud settings and scroll all the way to the bottom and tap the delete button. As a caveat, I believe that it will erase what was synced with that account.
I felt compelled to respond to your question because I spent DAYS trying to figure out how to delete an iCloud ID (to separate it from my Apple ID for iTunes) and I was exceedingly grateful when someone helped me with the answer.
Hope things work out well for your family.

We share 1 itunes store account for purchases and a subset of icloud services. My wife and I share the same contacts, calendars, FindMyiPhone, and PhotoStream. Only I use the main account for e-mail, facetime, gamecenter, iMessage. My wife has her own AppleID for iMessage, facetime, GameCenter.
We are unusual in that my wife and I like sharing basic PIM tools like calendare, contacts and even photo stream.
My daughter has her own appleID which she uses for iMessage, FaceTime, everything else and she uses our main account for purchases.

We have one apple ID that is setup on all of our devices, including iTunes. I like this method as my wife and I can sync notes, calendars, and email.

We did a similar setup. Wife, kids and I have seperate icloud accounts but share purchases on itunes. Another advantage to this is having 5gb of space for each of us on icloud instead of all of us sharing and using a lot of it up. Using the same account on iCould... I got the impression that each phone backs up seperately even if iCloud is shared. When I first set it up my wifes info backed up to iCloud using my user ID on iCloud..... and when I redid my iphone... her contacts did not show up on my phone... which leads me to believe that each phone is stored seperately on the cloud, or somehow it didn't take and we got lucky. But as of today... we have seperate accounts so we each can have the backup space needed.
I think seperate accounts for each family member is the way to go and then just share 1 itunes account. But I agree.... for APPLE to focus so much on SIMPLICITY for users.... this was someting that I think Apple over looked and did not make it easy for customers to understand or figure out what the best way to setup their accounts would be. Everyone had to trouble shoot or test different ways to find what fits their needs.
Luckily quite a few of us have a pretty good idea on this matter, but those new to iphone or with little knowledge on how apple IDs work... I think could be a challenge.
Just my thought.
Mike

it would be great if the TiPB team could put together a write up of the options. maybe I am tired or maybe I am just an idiot, but I cannot wrap my head around this. Just want to know the best way to share apps and music between my wife's device and mine. Maybe a shared calendar?

iCloud is a bittersweet experience. On one side, the backups, reminders and document storage is great. On the other, it keeps duplicating my contacts and has created literally 10s of duplicated bookmark folders which, of course, can't be deleted. Only the Photostream and Backup functions of the service can be fully deleted to allow people to start from scratch. I chose to use my iTunes account (my gmail address) because I once had a MobileMe account that I canceled. But inactive accounts can no longer be revived and I would have to create a new account name - which I don't want to do. I wish Apple would get their user account lifecycle straightened out and allow people to merge them. Of course people are going to want all of the data and purchases associated with their iTunes account to be linked with their iCloud/MobileMe accounts too... Sigh... It looks so good in the ads, just not so good when actually used day-to-day.

I need iCloud for Dummies, I turned it on and within two minutes it told me I was full and didn't have enough space on the cloud. So I turned it off and haven't messed with it.

Pretty much what happened to me at first. Took me a couple of days to dive in and set up so it could be useful. A complete hassle.

Here is my setup: I have an iPhone 4s and an iPad 2, and my wife has her own iPhone 4s and an iPad 2. My 8-year old daughter uses my wife's iDevices to play games.
I have it set up like many of those above: I use my original iTunes AppleID for store purchases on all devices, so we don't need to re-pay when one of us likes an app the other purchsed. However, I setup my iPhone 4s and my iPad 2 with my own new iCloud id, and I set up my wife's iPhone 4s and iPad 2 with her own new iCloud id. This way, we can each sync our own calendars, contacts, etc. between our respectvie iPhone and iPad, but we don't get cross-contaminated. This has seemed to work well.
MY ONE PROBLEM: I would love to use the app synciong feature, so that when i buy a new app or music on one of my devices, it gets automatically downloaded to my other device, without it being automatically added to my wife's devices, and vice-versa. This does not seem to work. Apparently, iCloud uses teh iTunes id, not the new iCloud ids, for syncuing purchases. Needless to say, I don't want my daughter's pet games on my devices!
Any suggestions on this problem woudl be greatly appreciated!

We only share the iTunes apple ID for apps and music. For FaceTime, iCloud, iMessage etc we each have our own. iCloud and photostream is turned off for all but my phone since I'm the only one who benefits from it. My husband uses his work blackberry for his calendar so his iPhone calendars is blank!

I love iCloud and have a separate accounts for my wife Audi (for reminders and contacts), but one account for calendar and iTunes.
Big question for me is I hate Yahoo! mail, any way to migrate all folders and emails to iCloud?

My setup is as follows:
Me: iPad, iPhone 4s, work iMac, home MacBook account
Wife: iPhone 4s, home MacBook account
I setup a new .me account for both my wife and myself and a third group .me iCloud account to share. All my devices use my .me iCloud account and my wifes devices all use her .me iCloud account. We use the group .me iCloud account to share a calendar, reminders and contacts for both of us.
You could just eliminate the group account and share your iCloud mail account on another users device to share contacts, calendars and reminders, but the mail can get shared as well, although you can turn that off. Also, it keeps things a bit cleaner and more organized, especially for backup purposes. I have my calendar and contacts, she has hers and we share calendar and contacts on another account. Since you can edit shared contacts and calendars, we really won't have to touch the group iCloud account much at all.
Photo Stream is simple. Just enable iCloud and turn Photo Stream on from iPhoto under your individual accounts on a Mac, share libraries and you're done. Each backup is made seperately and we can upload each others photos on our devices. Even better, I can also setup Photo Stream to my account at work for backup purposes.
So far so good. I do hope though that iPhoto will allow multiple streams to one location to make backup that much easier.
Hope this helps.

Forgot to mention, we share an existing iTunes account for store purchases. 4 accounts might seem excessive, but in the long run they serve their own purpose.

Hi Lanewidick
Did you get an answer to your problem.
I have done the Sam thing, somehow linking my wife's account.
Do you know how to separate them ?
Please let me know.
Thanksq
Roger
Roger@rgcg.co.uk

How do I get my yahoo calendar to show up in iCloud? It was shared on my devices before iCloud but now it doesn't show up.

This post is wrong! iTunes Match is NOT streaming. It maechts your iTunes library, hence the term match, to what iTunes has in its store. If tracks are in your library that are not offered through iTunes, those tracks WILL be uploaded to their servers. This service, however, doesn't stream. It downloads the tracks to your devices storage. You can delete the tracks off of your device if you no longer wish to listen to them, but it's NOT streaming. Please get your facts straight before you start sharing an opinion.

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