Despite launching after many of the best music streaming services, Apple Music has quickly gained ground from the competition. If at least one of your family members uses the service, you may be able to save a few dollars by opting for a family account instead of separate accounts. Apple Music is far from the only service that offers family subscriptions, but their plans work a little differently, which can get confusing.
Spotify and many other services are standalone offerings, which makes adding family members a fairly straightforward process, but Apple Music is tied to the entire Apple ecosystem. That’s great if your entire family is already committed to Apple, but if you’re trying to add family members who use different devices to Apple Music, it can get a bit tricky. Don’t worry though, we are here to help.
To follow the instructions in this guide, you will need a few things, some of which are more obvious than others. First of all, you’ll need an Apple ID, which anyone with at least one iOS or macOS device or other Apple service should have. Second, you will need an iOS device with iOS 8 or later, or a Mac with OS X Yosemite or later.
You will also need an Apple Music Family subscription, of course. If you are setting up Apple Music from scratch, be sure to choose a family subscription instead of an individual one. If you want to change an individual Apple Music subscription to a family subscription, it is a fairly quick process and detailed instructions are available through the support section of the Apple website.
Set up Family Sharing
Instead of working independently, the Apple Music family plan adds to Apple’s Family Sharing infrastructure. If you have already set up Family Sharing and just want to add new members to the family, skip to the next section. If you are setting up your family subscription for the first time and have never used Family Sharing, read on.
Set up Family Sharing on iOS
If you’re reading this article on your iPhone or iPad, you’re in luck: you can set up Family Sharing right now with a few simple steps.
- Find the Family Sharing settings: Open the Settings app and tap its name at the top, or on older iOS devices, scroll down and open the iCloud settings.
- Tap Set up Family Sharing: Then touch Start. From here, follow the instructions until the setup is complete.
- Invite family members: If you are using iOS 11 or later, you will be invited to choose the first feature you want to enable for sharing. From here, follow the instructions to invite family members via Messages.
Set up Family Sharing on Mac
If you’re using a Mac, setting up Family Sharing is as easy or even easier than using an iOS device. The steps are a little different.
- Open iCloud settings– Click the ever-present Apple logo at the top left of the screen, then select System preferences. Once the preferences window is open, click iCloud.
- Start the setup process: Just click Set up family, then follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.
Invite family members
Whether you’ve set up Family Sharing or just followed the steps above, the next step is to add family members so they can use Apple Music too. You can do this on your Mac, iOS, or Android device. The steps for each are listed below.
- Find the Family Sharing settings: As mentioned above, all you need to do is open the Settings app and tap its name at the top, or on older iOS devices, scroll down and open the iCloud settings.
- Add a new family member: This is as easy as playing Add family member and entering your name or email address. Then follow the onscreen instructions.
- Finish setup: If you are using iOS 11 or later, you can choose whether you want to invite the family member through Messages or in person.
- Open iCloud settings: Click the Apple icon at the top left of the screen, then open System preferences and click iCloud.
- Open family settings: Just click Manage family.
- Add a new family member: Click the + icon and then follow the instructions on the screen.
- Open Apple Music settings: Open Apple Music, then tap the menu icon in the upper left corner.
- Navigate to account settings: Touch your photo or name at the top of the screen.
- Open membership settings: Tap on Manage membership, then enter your iCloud password if prompted.
- Open family settings: Touch either Family O Family setup.
- Add family members: If you touched Family setup, follow the onscreen instructions to add family members. If you touched Family, tap Add Family member at the bottom of the screen and follow the prompts.
Now, you should be all set. All that’s left is for your family members to start using Apple Music. All they need to do is log into Apple Music with the same credentials they use for Family Sharing and they will be ready to start listening. That being said, every once in a while, things don’t turn out as well as you expected.
If you have problems
One of the most common problems is that a family member may be using multiple accounts and is logging into Apple Music or iCloud (in the case of Family Sharing) with the wrong one. If someone is having trouble accessing Apple Music, this is the first thing to check.
Sometimes logging out and back in can fix issues that prevent you or a member of your family from accessing a family subscription. First, try logging in and out of the affected Apple Music account. If this doesn’t solve the problem, try logging out and re-entering all of your Apple services. Finally, if that doesn’t work, you can try removing everyone from Family Sharing and adding them again. This is not fun, but following the steps above should do a quick job.
And that’s all there is to it. If reading this, you’re considering using another service with your family, be sure to read our roundup of the best music streaming services. If you decide to use another service, we have a guide on how to cancel your Apple Music account.