Merging digital lives in 2016
November 22, 2016 12:46 PM   Subscribe

I will be getting married shortly and am looking for advice on how to handle the digital part of combining lives and households. What are the current suggestions for how to integrate or manage digital assets - music, ebooks, online accounts, devices, and the like?
posted by philosophygeek to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
What specific platforms are you using? We use Amazon Household to share Kindle books and other Amazon digital content and Family Sharing to share iTunes and iOS apps. We have one Hulu account (formerly his) and one Netflix account (formerly mine). We don't use the "who's watching" on Netflix since it's usually both of us anyway.

Amazon-video-specific tips: video can be tricky to share. With Amazon, it's hard or impossible (I haven't figured out how, but I could have missed something) to share purchased Amazon video. So if one of you has a lot of purchased Amazon video that you still want to watch, you probably want that person to be the primary member of your household so you don't have to log out of your Roku (or whatever) and then log back in as the other person when you want to watch something purchased pre-merge.

Also with Amazon the secondary user(s) on a Prime account can't download video content to a device (e.g. your phone, or a Kindle Fire). You can have two different profiles and share apps and books and music but the secondary account won't be able to download videos.
posted by mskyle at 1:03 PM on November 22, 2016

I favorited this question because I still don't feel like I know great answers to this overall, and I'm curious to see what others say.

I have my spouse set as "family" on my iCloud account, which lets us share music, apps, and Apple Music. We have a shared Google Calendar (and also our own calendars for personal stuff) that is indispensible. But we don't share ebooks at all (mostly ok since we don't tend to read the same stuff), and photos continute to be a nightmare, with hundreds of gigs of photos spanning back fifteen plus years. Most services assume a single user, and IMHO sharing accounts that aren't meant to be shared isn't a great idea even if you trust the other person.

We also don't really share any devices. We each have our own computers, phones, and iPads. I think those would be hard to share when you have people who use them heavily.
posted by primethyme at 1:05 PM on November 22, 2016

My husband built a NAS for us a few years ago and it has been wonderful. It's a server that stores your data, and you access it over your home network. We use it to share pretty much all of our media: music, movies, TV series, audiobooks, ebooks, etc. I know a couple who went with a pre-built solution from Synology and they love it.

If you use Steam, you can set up Family Sharing on your accounts. For Netflix, we have a single account with different profiles. If you have a Kindle or are willing to use one of the free Kindle apps, you can lend each other ebooks for up to 14 days at a time. If you use Android devices, you can set up user profiles with limited permissions.
posted by neushoorn at 1:13 PM on November 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Just remembered, we also both use Dashlane for password management and it's handy for maintaining passwords for shared accounts - you can share a password with another user and they can see the new password if you change the password, so neither of us gets locked out of the thermostat or Netflix or other stuff where we share one account. I'm sure there are other password managers that allow similar sharing.

And if you're in an Amazon Household you don't even have to loan the ebooks, you can just share them forever.

Apple does have some kind of shared photo album ability but it's kind of buggy and hard to set up and also I just don't like Apple's photo management software in general but lately most of our photos are on iPhones so since we already went to the work of setting it up I do use it.

We mostly have our own devices but share a "non-work" laptop and a Kindle fire (we each have our own profiles on these) and a Playstation, an iPad, an Apple TV, a Roku, and a Fire Stick, which we just use the same profile for.
posted by mskyle at 1:24 PM on November 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Google has family accounts now that let you share purchased apps / movies / books / etc. But not music for some strange reason (although if you're using the streaming service thats also available in family plan form, but not individually purchased music).
posted by thefoxgod at 3:59 PM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

We setup a shared e-mail address which forwards to our individual accounts. We give this out in any situation where we both want to be kept in the loop.

We used the same e-mail to setup a Google account which we use for music streaming (Google Play Music). Google has made it much easier recently to switch accounts in a browser session which helps.

We have a Synology NAS as mentioned above, which is great for containing all our backups, videos, music, books and photos.

We're still figuring out the best solution for managing photos. Our current setup is a bit kludgy to get photos off our devices onto the shared pool. The Synology DS Photo app is pretty good but lacks auto uploading from some devices we have. Google Photos looks like the common solution, but I've been holding out on moving all our photos to the cloud.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 6:50 PM on November 22, 2016

Google Photos looks like the common solution, but I've been holding out on moving all our photos to the cloud.

Google Photos is nice, but I've yet to find any really good way to share it with my wife (unless we were sharing an actual Google account, which is messy for other reasons). We end up each having our own instance of Google Photos, and we can share photos and albums with each other, but there's no way (that I'm aware of) to grant my wife full access to my entire Google Photos library, nor is there a way to have both of our phones upload to the same one as long as we are using our own Google accounts. I don't consider it a solution to the family sharing problem.
posted by primethyme at 11:55 AM on November 23, 2016

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