I've spoken about some of my concerns with Apple and the misses they've had in 2014. So it seems only fitting that on the first day of 2015 that David Sparks gave some insight on Apple's Family Sharing feature. Apple's intent on what Family Sharing should be is what every family living in Apple's ecosystem has wished for.
Up to six people in your family can share purchases from iTunes, iBooks, and the App Store without sharing accounts. Pay for family purchases with the same credit card and approve kids’ spending right from a parent’s device. Easily share photos, a family calendar, and more to help keep everyone connected.
I tested Family Sharing on my son's iPod Touch before releasing it to the entire family.2 While Apple's previous statement on Family Sharing is true, it was working out the details that proved to a headache. The biggest problem was there was no way to migrate a family member's iOS device from sharing a single AppleID to a being under Family Sharing and their own AppleID. When I enabled Family Sharing on his device a couple of things happened:
- Game Progress: Since my son's iPod Touch was now under his own AppleID, most of the games he was playing reset their progress - especially those tied to Game Center. Strike 1
- Content Selection: As I tested my son's device I noticed that not all the apps he had before were showing up. After doing some digging I found that some of the apps we wanted to share, the developer had opted out of the Family Sharing program. Strike 2
- Playlist Management: Since Family Sharing put his music choices under his own AppleID, the playlists he had generated on his device were gone. On top of this, the ability to generate playlists on his device was limited to the music on his device because the Music Match functionality was lost with using his own Apple ID. Strike 3... you're out
After reading David's comments, I can see how some of the playlist and music problems were compounded by my account (which his iPod has been sharing with ) had Music Match enabled. The heartburn I have is that Apple's own documents make it sound like enabling Family Sharing should enable features similar to Music Match for family members.
David summarizes my experience to a tee -
Family Sharing is not ready for the Sparks family. I’ve spent way too much time trying to make this all work and this weekend I’m officially throwing in the towel on Family Sharing until it gets better.1
I'll continue to watch Apple's progress and test again in the future.