Least disruptive way to migrate my wife to her own Apple ID?
September 6, 2018 8:24 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I have been using the same Apple ID for the last 10 years. We would like to bite the bullet and migrate her to her own Apple ID. What is the least disruptive way to do this? Details inside.

We both use iPhones and Macintoshes. I don't think the Macs will be an issue. I am mostly concerned about the iPhones.

I know that I can set up Family Sharing to share apps, music, and iCloud storage. That is the approach Apple recommends and it sounds like it would mostly work for us.

Our main concern is that we don't want to disrupt my wife's digital life. Any of the following would be a huge pain:
  • Lose all the apps on her phone and have to reinstall them. (We don't mind paying for them again, we just don't want to have to find and reinstall them.)
  • Lose all of her login information for websites and apps and have to redo them all.
  • Lose all of the contacts in her contact list. (We understand our contacts will no longer be shared, but she wants to keep her copy of them.)

    It would also be a drag if she lost all her Messages history. She already somehow has her own Messages account, associated only with her phone number, not with her phone's Apple ID. So she'd want to keep all that history.

    If we set up Family Sharing and give her her own Apple ID, will the apps she has just stay on her phone as they are now, preserving all of her data, including login info? What order should we take the steps of (a) getting her an Apple ID, (b) setting up Family Sharing, (c) setting her phone to use her Apple ID?

    Alternatively, this Reddit thread recommends using her Apple ID for iCloud but leaving iTunes and the App Store under my Apple ID. That sounds simpler, actually. What are the disadvantages of this approach?

    Two other things:
    1. We currently enjoy having a single shared iCloud Photos account. I know that we will lose that if she gets her own Apple ID. We can share a photo album and stuff, but I am the family archivist and will need to manually import full resolution versions of her photos. I could also switch us to another service such as Google Photos. Any other comments about this would be welcome.
    2. We will also lose our shared contacts. I'm thinking of trying to set up CardDEV (I have some FastMail accounts) but I'm not sure it will be worth the trouble. Again, any comments welcome.

    Thanks in advance for guidance.
  • posted by Winnie the Proust to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
    My wife and I did this a few years back but for the life of me I don't recall encountering any of the problems you describe. I can't recall any issues.
    posted by terrapin at 8:44 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

    Like you, I split IDs with my wife a few months ago. The photos thing is aggravating, almost as much as trying to keep iCal in sync.

    For the photos I wound up using Amazon Photos and letting all the phones just push everything up there. The side benefit is that all my FireTVs can be used to view photos.

    Apple's entire photo/cloud ecosystem is a pile of dookie and, as far as I can tell, shows no sign of improving soon.
    posted by JoeZydeco at 10:26 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

    Family Sharing lets you share apps, music and other content across different Apple IDs.
    posted by Happy Dave at 10:30 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

    Yeah, definitely set up family sharing. That'll prevent you from needing to rebuy any apps.
    posted by uberchet at 11:01 AM on September 6, 2018

    If you want to minimize her pain, you should make the new account for you and let her have the existing one.
    posted by advicepig at 12:18 PM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

    My wife and I have the setup with separate iCloud IDs and the same App Store/iTunes ID. I haven't found any downside to sharing the App Store and iTunes IDs. You get apps and music on both devices without having to rebuy them, which is nice. (I haven't tried Family Sharing, sounds like it does mostly the same thing.) You do have to buy iCloud storage separately for both. You can share an Apple Music account, but you have to have the Family plan if you both want to listen at the same time.

    The photo sharing is the biggest sacrifice. We have about 150 GB of videos and photos that she can't easily get at. I've been uploading them to Google Photos but it's very slow going and I still have to manually merge in the stuff from her phone. The Apple family shared albums are a joke - you have to manually add each image. The whole thing is just so terrible and would be so easy to fix (just let us use the same apple ID for photos!) that I find it infuriating.

    I don't think you will lose things like apps and text messages, but start by backing up her phone to iTunes on your computer, so if you make a mistake you can go back to exactly how it was and try again. There's no other "undo" if you hit a glitch and lose years of messages.
    posted by pocams at 5:06 PM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

    Thank you all. This is reassuring. Now I just need to find a time to do it when any hiccups that come up don't cause bring problems.
    posted by Winnie the Proust at 8:56 AM on October 13, 2018

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