Despite launching after many top music streaming services, Apple Music has quickly gained ground over 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 a separate account. Apple Music is far from the only service that offers family plans, but the plans work a little differently, which can be confusing.
Spotify and a host of other services are standalone offerings, making adding family members a fairly straightforward process, but Apple Music is tied into the entire Apple ecosystem. That’s great if your whole family is already all in on Apple, but if you’re trying to add family members who use different devices to Apple Music, it can be a bit tricky. But don̵
Before you start
To follow the instructions in this guide, you will need a few things, some of which are clearer than others. First, you need an Apple ID, which anyone with at least one iOS or macOS device or other Apple service should have. Second, you need an iOS device with iOS 8 or higher, or a Mac with OS X Yosemite or higher.
You also need an Apple Music Family subscription, of course. If you set up Apple Music from scratch, you should choose a family plan instead of an individual plan. If you want to change an individual Apple Music plan to a family plan, it’s a pretty quick process and detailed instructions are available from the support section of the Apple website.
Set up Family Sharing
Rather than functioning independently, Apple Music’s Family plan rides on Apple’s Family Sharing infrastructure. If you’ve already set up Family Sharing and just want to add new family members, continue to the next section. If you’re setting up your family plan for the first time and have never used Family Sharing before, read on.
Setting up Family Sharing on iOS
If you’re reading this article on your iPhone or iPad, you’re in luck – you can now set up Family Sharing in a few easy steps.
- Find the Family Sharing settings: Open the Settings app and tap your name at the very top, or on older iOS devices, scroll down and open it iCloud settings.
- Tap Set up Family Sharing: Then tap Get started. From here, follow the instructions until the installation is complete.
- Invite family members: If you are using iOS 11 or later, you are invited to choose the first feature you want to enable for sharing. From here, follow the instructions to invite family members via Messages.
Setting up Family Sharing on Mac
If you’re on a Mac, setting up Family Sharing is just as easy, if not easier, than using an iOS device. The steps are slightly different.
- Open iCloud Settings: Click the ever-present Apple logo at the top left of the screen and select System preferences. Once the preferences window opens, click iCloud.
- Start the installation process: Just click Setting up a familyand follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.
Invite family members
Whether you’ve already set up Family Sharing or 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, you just need the Settings app and tap your name at the very top, or on older iOS devices, scroll down and open it iCloud settings.
- Add a new family member: This is as easy as tapping Add family member and entering their name or email address. Then just follow the on-screen instructions.
- Complete the installation: If you’re using iOS 11 or later, you can choose whether to invite the family member via Messages or personally.
- Open iCloud Settings: Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen and open it System preferences and click iCloud.
- Open Family Settings: Just click Manage family.
- Add a new family member: Click the + icon and follow the on-screen instructions.
- Open Apple Music Settings: Open Apple Music then tap the menu icon in the top left corner.
- Navigate to Account Settings: Tap your photo or name at the top of the screen.
- To open membership settings: Tap on Manage membershipand then enter your iCloud password if prompted.
- Open Family Settings: Tap either Family or Family constellation.
- Add family members: If you tapped Family constellation, follow the onscreen instructions to add family members. If you tapped Family, crane Add Family member at the bottom of the screen and follow the instructions.
Now you should be all set for your ending. All that’s left is for your family members to actually start using Apple Music. All they have to do is sign into Apple Music with the same credentials they use for Family Sharing, and they’re ready to start listening. That said, at times things don’t go as smoothly as you’d hoped.
If you get in trouble
One of the most common issues is that a family member may be using multiple accounts and logging in to Apple Music or iCloud with the wrong one (in the case of Family Sharing). 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 family member from accessing a family plan. First, try to sign in and out of the affected Apple Music account. If this doesn’t fix the problem, try logging out and back to all your Apple services. Finally, if that doesn’t work, you can try removing and re-adding everyone from Family Sharing. This is no fun, but following the steps above should work for it quickly.
And that’s all there is to it. If you’re reading this, are you considering using a different service with your family, read our round-up of the best music streaming services. If you decide to use a different service, we have a guide on how to cancel your Apple Music account.