Apple ID splitting gotchas?
April 18, 2020 9:24 AM   Subscribe

At long last our family members are each getting their own Apple IDs. In order to share in-app purchases I am not planning to use Family Sharing. Any tips and warnings from those who have done this?

90% of our app purchases are in-app purchases, such as to remove ads from a game, or enable the content in a travel guide. Since these purchases are not shared according to Apple's Family Sharing documentation, it seems like the best solution is to go to Preferences -> iTunes & App Store and sign in as the current shared account. This would also share our iTunes music purchases, which are considerable (we don't have a streaming service). I don't mind sharing a credit card and having everyone able to use it for purchases.

The phone's main account would be the new per-person account. I would remove the old emails and phone numbers from the shared account and add them to the per-person ones.

I'd also like to enable location sharing, but it looks like I don't need Family Sharing for that. We don't use iCloud for contacts, photos, etc.

Basically I'd love to hear from anyone who has done this, and if I even need to set up Family Sharing at all.
posted by wnissen to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you even have different AppleIds for iCloud and the App Store these days? I don’t think you can. At least not on the non-macOS OS’s.
posted by sideshow at 11:25 AM on April 18, 2020

Yes, you can definitely have different Apple IDs for iCloud and the App Store. I've kept my iPhone this way for years.
posted by mmoncur at 7:39 PM on April 18, 2020

iTunes music purchases are also shared by Family Sharing. Your approach of using one AppleID let’s you share in app purchases but it’s terrible for privacy, ie everybody can access the main account’s messages and email, whole keychain. If your principle focus is avoiding multiple IAP charges, go the whole hog and sign the family group up for Apple Arcade. The subscription is shared and the games have no IAP.
posted by w0mbat at 7:54 AM on April 19, 2020

Response by poster: So I did this yesterday, and it was basically anticlimactic. Log out of shared Apple ID on each phone, respond to prompts about removing (or not) any iCloud sharing, log in to newly created individual one. Then in Settings -> iTunes & App Store, select Apple ID at the top and log back into the shared Apple ID. Then share location with your desired people in Find My iPhone. Set up payment cards in Apple Pay (and turn off Apple Cash, mostly used by scammers). Apple turns on a ton of iCloud stuff by default in their shameless attempt to sell you storage, but uncheck that and you're basically good to go. I didn't even have to enable Family Sharing.

I don't think you can access the shared account's email without permission, and in this case I'm not worried about that, so I'm extremely happy with my solution. The only hiccup has been that one individual address appears to be tethered to the shared account due to unspecified previous use. The only message is "This email address is not available. Choose a different address."
posted by wnissen at 9:14 AM on April 19, 2020

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