How To Share and Access iCloud Content With Family Members

As an Apple user, you likely have a lot of content and data stored in your iCloud account, including photos, documents, app data, backups, and more. With Family Sharing, you can easily share access to certain iCloud content with up to 5 other family members while still maintaining privacy over your personal information.

What is Family Sharing?

Family Sharing allows up to 6 people in a household to share certain Apple services, subscriptions, and purchases without having to share an Apple ID. The organizer sets up the Family Sharing group and invites other members.

Here’s what can be shared:

  • iCloud storage plan (200GB or 2TB)
  • Subscriptions like Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+, and iCloud+
  • Purchases from the App Store, Apple Books, and iTunes
  • A shared family photo album
  • Location sharing through Find My

Setting Up Family Sharing


  • Family members must have devices with iOS 8 or later or Macs with OS X Yosemite or later
  • The organizer must have a valid payment method for purchases

On iPhone/iPad:

  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing
  2. Tap “Set Up Your Family” and follow prompts
  3. Invite family members

On Mac:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Family Sharing
  2. Click “Set Up Family” and follow prompts
  3. Invite family members

Family members will receive invites via email or text to join the group.

Sharing iCloud Storage

With Family Sharing, your family can share an iCloud storage plan of 200GB ($2.99/month) or 2TB ($9.99/month). This allows you to store photos, files, documents, and device backups without each person having to pay for their own plan.

To share the storage plan:

  1. Set up Family Sharing (see instructions above)
  2. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud
  3. Tap “Share iCloud Storage”
  4. Family members with existing plans must cancel theirs first

While the storage space is shared, privacy is maintained over each person’s data. Family members can’t access each other’s photos, files, emails, etc. But the organizer can see how much storage each person is using.

Sharing App Store and iTunes Purchases

Family Sharing allows your family to share access to apps, music, movies, TV shows, and books purchased through the App Store, Apple Books, and iTunes. This saves money since each item only needs to be purchased once.

Purchases work on a credit system – when a family member makes a purchase, it is billed to the family organizer’s account. Or the organizer can enable “Ask to Buy” which requires approval of purchases.

To share purchases:

  1. Set up Family Sharing
  2. Turn on purchase sharing when prompted or in settings later
  3. Approve family members’ requests for purchases (optional)

Sharing Subscriptions

Many Apple subscriptions can be shared with Family Sharing as well, including:

  • Apple Music
  • Apple TV+
  • Apple News+
  • Apple Fitness+
  • Apple Arcade
  • iCloud+ (for Premium features)

This allows your family access to these services without each person having to pay individually. Family members can still maintain their personal preferences.

To share subscriptions:

  1. Set up Family Sharing
  2. Go to Settings > [your name] > Subscriptions
  3. Tap the subscription and enable Family Sharing

Sharing Photos

While you maintain privacy over your personal photos stored in iCloud, you can easily share a family photo album. Family Sharing automatically creates a shared album called “Family” that family members can add photos and videos to.

To share a family album:

  1. Set up Family Sharing
  2. Open the Photos app and enable iCloud Photos
  3. Add photos to the “Family” album
  4. Family members will see the album on their devices

In summary, Family Sharing makes it easy to share iCloud storage, purchases, subscriptions, and photos with family members while maintaining privacy over personal data. With some simple setup, you can save money and enable collaboration with up to 5 other people.