set up iCloud to share settings across a family

Ok, long post here. Consider yourself warned. Maybe I should make this into a 50 page iBook.

As of Mac OSX Lion, Apple’s iCloud service is still a bit on the raw side, and it can be pretty painful to get it working with any sophistication across multiple iOS devices and Macs. Since it took me way too long to get things working for me, here’s a post on how to set things up so that you can share some info across a family without sharing absolutely everything.

One advantage to what I’m about to describe is that far less data will be stored in each iCloud account, and should let everyone in your family stay under the 5GB free iCloud account size.

the problem

iCal: I want different calendars for each person in our family, plus “Other” and “Family.” Easy enough in iCal; working for years. But I want all of my family’s Apple devices to be able to see/edit our overlapping calendars. Each person will be able to edit their calendar on any of our devices, and they’ll all stay in sync through iCloud.

Address Book: my wife and I have a large address book of family and friends. Most of this is “shared address book,” and I want this data to show up on all of our iOS and Mac accounts. However, it’d be great to be able to have our own additions that aren’t shared (my biz contacts, her old boyfriends, etc.), and of course we want our kids to have a different Address Book with their friends, while still having access to the shared family and friends email and phone numbers. This part is way too complicated in iCloud currently, since in Lion there’s no “Share this Group” or “Share this Address Book” like there is with iCal.

iTunes: we want to share purchases among some or all of us. Books, movies, etc. Easy enough, since you can log into iTunes with a different Apple ID than the ones you use for iCloud in general. There are lots of references to this on the web. Note that it’s all or nothing. I don’t know of a way to share purchased Books with Person A but purchased music with Person B. In my house, I share all iTunes purchases with my wife and younger son (since we buy his apps for him), and share Kindle purchases with my older son (since we read similar stuff). The older son has his own iTunes account for his app purchases, which is a disadvantage in that he ends up re-purchasing some stuff.

Documents, Bookmarks: those, we don’t want to share. We each want our own iCloud syncing for those, just for our devices or login IDs.

Ok, that’s what I want to do. Now let’s get it done. Apple doesn’t make this quite straightforward enough, and in fact there are caveats I had to work around (weird side effects and bugs). I’ll just jump to how I solved the situation, so you don’t have to mess around with the non-workable solutions.

 

beware! there be dragons here!

Be a bit careful if you find yourself deleting existing accounts from your Mac. The alerts in Lion are pretty good about telling you what’s going on, but it’s best if you take your time and read them if you’re inexperienced. You don’t want to lose or duplicate data. The good thing is, when you’ve got iCloud sync’ing turned on, you’re not really losing your data, just removing it from a particular device.

There’s a worse problem that you can run into though, and that is Merging data. For instance, if Fred and Ethyl have copies of an address book rather than a shared address book, you could easily end up Merging two address books into a single master address book and have a ton of duplicate data. I suggest you avoid doing this, or else prepare to comb through the data and get rid of the garbage. It can be messy.

Either way, I hope you’re using Time Machine to do backups to a local Time Capsule or an external drive. If so, even the nastiest problems can be recovered and fixed, though some of these problems may require a call to Apple tech support, since restoring an entire Address Book from a backup can be tricky.

 

multiple iCloud accounts on your Macs

The key to using iCloud to solve the family problem above is to create multiple iCloud accounts. The magic of course is in creating the right ones, and sharing them in the right way. Since every iOS device, or every Mac account has to have a “master” iCloud account, and only the “master iCloud account” on a device can do some types of sync like Documents, Back to My Mac, and Find My Device, it’s important to set up an independent “main” one properly for each device.  [Note: you can have multiple user login accounts on a single Mac of course, though not currently on a single iOS device like a phone or iPad. In that case, each Login account can have a separate master iCloud account associated with it]

Basically, we’re going to create iCloud accounts that match each person, and optionally an iCloud account that has non-person data that’s intended to be shared. Something like this:

  • Fred’s devices (your devices) have accounts that look like this:
    • iCloud.Fred (Fred’s master iCloud account)
    • iCloud.Ethyl (Ethyl’s master iCloud account, which is a secondary account on Fred’s devices)
    • iCloud.Shared (Optional. Shared iCloud data that Fred and Ethyl both edit but neither “owns.” This may be useful if there are lots of you, as in a larger family)
  • Ethyl’s devices would then look like this:
    • iCloud.Ethyl (Ethyl’s iCloud account is the primary one on her devices)
    • iCloud.Fred (Fred’s is now a secondary iCloud account on Ethyl’s devices) *
    • iCloud.Shared (again, optional. Would be present as secondary iCloud accounts on both devices, as well as on the devices of their kids, little Ricky and Lucy, and the twins Ethanol and Methanol)

In the rest of this post, when I talk about You, I’m talking about Fred. And vice versa. Your name is now Fred. You’ll need to do your own paperwork to have it changed legally. Different blog post.

Regarding the icloud.Shared account idea: I don’t currently do this myself, but I might if I want my kids to have access to only a limited subset of our Address Book list.

* At the bottom of this post is an even simpler version, which will make more sense after you read through the rest of the post!

Since you’ll be creating multiple iCloud accounts, you’ll need to keep them straight. I did this by editing them on my Mac and renaming them things like “iCloud.fred” and “iCloud.ethyl” and “iCloud.shared” and so forth. You don’t have to rename them like “iCloud.Fred” or some such, but you’ll be much less confused if you follow a naming standard like that and keep it the same everywhere.

If you have already set up iCloud, you can make changes to your account or add secondary accounts, rename them, etc. If not, you can follow along below.

Do this on a Mac: go to Preferences>Mail, Contacts & Calendars. In the screenshot below you can see I’ve got a bunch of accounts set up, including two iCloud accounts.

The first iCloud entry is my main one on my Macs and iOS devices. If you looked at my wife’s account, iOS devices, etc., you’d see the second one showing up as the main entry for her (and mine as secondary). Just like Fred and Ethyl in the example above.

If you were to click the one I’ve named “iCloud.doug…” you’d see this:

Note I’m sync’ing Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Bookmarks, Photo Stream (which I don’t really use yet but what the heck), and Documents. Essentially, everything.

Here’s the rub, though: my Calendar and Address Book (the ones synced into the iCloud.doug account) list basically contain nothing at all. The Address Book list only has one contact in it: my own. This way I can open my contacts list, choose myself and in the Card menu, choose “Make this my card.” That’s important, so that my devices will know who I am. On a Mac, that info appears to be used all over the place (login screen, IM name, etc.) so it’s important that you have at least that one Address Book entry. You can add more, of course. I could put any me-specific addresses there, like my business contacts that don’t need to clutter up our family contacts list.

Note the “Details…” button. Click it and set the Description to be something more than “iCloud”–as I noted, I use something like “iCloud.doug” so I can keep my various iCloud accounts easily differentiated. This doesn’t change any functionality; it just helps you keep the iCloud accounts visually separate.

So this is now my main iCloud account. I could have set it up in Preferences>iCloud just as easily, but you can’t set up the secondary iCloud accounts in that Preferences pane.

To reiterate: the important thing here is that your Master iCloud account (the one showing up in the iCloud preferences pane, and the first one you set up on your iOS devices) is yours and yours alone.

Now to create a second iCloud account. Back in the Mail, Contacts & Calendars preferences, click the “+” button to add another account, and add another iCloud account. You’ll need an Apple ID, but you can create one here if you don’t already have a second one. This second iCloud account will be secondary for me, and primary for another member of my family. I’ll call it “iCloud.marci” (my wife’s name; you may be married to someone else for all I know. From my website traffic, most access to this blog comes from SpamBots in Russia. No idea about spambot love).

For that second iCloud account, you want to only sync the data you wish to share. Mostly that’s going to be the Contacts list (a.k.a. Address Book), though it could also be the Calendar. In my case, all I’m sharing from my wife’s iCloud account (on my Macs and iOS devices) is the Contacts list. And if I wanted us to have a separate shared Contacts list that neither of us ‘owned’ (family and shared friends, for instance) then that’s the only one I’d be linking to as Secondary.

Make sense?

Caveat: since you can only do Photo Stream sync on your primary iCloud account, you can’t take sync from Fred’s iOS devices (for instance) to Ethyl’s computer. In my case this makes Photo Stream non-useful, since on our main Mac, my wife’s login is where we keep our shared iPhoto repository. So she can use Photo Stream effectively, but I can’t. No big deal right now.

 

multiple iCloud accounts on iOS devices

This works just like on the Mac. Set up your iPad or iPhone with your primary iCloud account first (iCloud.Fred in this example, if you’re Fred), and then go into the Mail, Contacts and Calendars and add the secondary (iCloud.Ethyl) accounts. Set up the “stuff to sync” exactly the same as you did on your Macs, and name the accounts the same way.

All of your devices and logins should look the same from the Accounts standpoint. They should all have your iCloud account as primary, and should all have the same secondary iCloud accounts, and all of the ‘stuff sync’d through iCloud’ should match (unless you want to go off road here and have some reason to keep some data off the iOS devices. That’s fine).

 

setting up shared calendars

I mentioned earlier that I want everyone in my family to have a calendar, but that I want everyone to be able to see how their calendar events overlap. That’s because we’re a family and the folks driving (Fred and Ethyl) need to know the big picture.

There are several ways to solve this with iCloud. The easiest is this: define a person (Ethyl, for instance) who will “own” the master calendar. Then on everyone else’s devices and logins, make sure that Ethyl’s iCloud account is set up as a secondary iCloud account, and that you’re syncing Calendars on that account. Then turn off calendar sync for your primary (Fred) iCloud account. The result should be that when you launch iCal (Mac) or Calendar (iOS) everyone will see (and edit) Ethyl’s calendars. When you look at the Calendars list (there’s a popup at the top left of the app) you’ll only see Ethyl’s iCloud account and her calendars.

But don’t think of this as “Ethyl’s calendar” as you’re really just using her iCloud account to hold the data. There’s no other special ‘ownership’ here. In any iCal account you can set up multiple calendars. Putting the whole family’s into a single account is, for me, much simpler that spreading these out across multiple accounts. Here’s how ours looks:

More about “_not used” later. Don’t Panic!

 

In this case, I’ve also got a Microsoft Exchange account (from work) sync’ing into iCal. This lets me (or my wife) see my work calendar if needed, to avoid overlaps when scheduling family events.

But the important thing is to see that we’ve set up multiple color-coded calendars in a single iCloud account: Family (stuff we’re doing either all at once, or with several of us), a schedule for each individual, and an “Other” category (other events, folks coming to town, etc.).

The nice thing about this is that each of us can check or uncheck (hide and show) these calendars separately on our devices. So my son B can show only his schedule and the family schedule if he wants.

 

Because iCloud doesn’t care who ‘owns’ the calendar, we can all have this calendar as a Secondary iCloud account on our devices, and we’ll all have the same access to it, sync’d through the cloud. In practice, I have the calendar on my wife’s iCloud account, but I could have set up a third iCloud account just for the calendars and Address Book as I’d noted before).

Caveat: we can all edit the entire calendar. It hasn’t been a problem, but if there’s a “view only” method here so that Ethyl can see but not alter Fred’s calendar, I haven’t needed to look for it. There’s probably something in Delegate preferences that would do this, but I haven’t bothered.

 

finishing up shared calendar setup

The issue with the approach above is that iCloud.Fred (your account) can’t have a totally empty Calendar. You need to have at least one calendar, even though you don’t need to put any events in it. Above, you can see I named mine “_not used,” and it’s un-checked. It’s literally not used.

This lets me utilize the iCloud.Fred account (or in my case, iCloud.doug) for the one thing that is unique to my calendar though: Reminders. I don’t share a task list with Ethyl, I want my own. So as far as iCloud is concerned, I’m syncing two calendars (Fred’s and Ethyl’s), but the only data I’m putting in my own calendar is my Reminders (tasks).

I set that up in iCal by hiding the task lists that aren’t mine (top right of iCal):

…and by making sure that any new Reminders go into my Reminders list using iCal>Preferences:

Caveat: iCal is kinda stupid at present with iCloud, and doesn’t show the customized iCloud names. I’ve gotten around that here by naming my Reminders lists “Reminders-DSB” in a similar way that I named my iCloud accounts, so that Fred’s reminder list is a different name than Ethyl’s. Just helps to keep them straight.

 

another way to set up shared calendars

I’m no longer using this, but…

There’s another way to share calendars, and that’s to mark a calendar as Shared within iCal. You then “Subscribe” to that calendar on another Mac. This feature has been around for a while, and lets you share calendars either privately or publicly. I suppose you could use this to share some but not all calendars out of an account (as opposed to the method I shows above, which would share all calendars in an account). Frankly, I think the method above is more straightforward and feels more secure. Not sure if it is or not, but it seems easier to me.

To share a specific calendar in iCal (e.g. “Doug Schedule” in the screenshot above) is easy, as there’s a Share option in iCal and plenty of documentation on the Mac or online about it. This is actually the first method I used to get my calendars shared, but I’m going away from it now so that everything’s done through iCloud accounts as shown here. It’s just more straightforward.

Why would you use this Share Calendar/Subscribe to calendar method? I suppose if I wanted someone else (my mom, for instance) to see one of our calendars, I could Share that calendar and then Subscribe to it on her Mac. I haven’t needed to do this, but there ya go.

 

Contacts/Address Book

Contacts (iOS) and Address Book (Mac) (isn’t that so non-Apple, naming the same things differently? C’mon, Apple!) have one caveat here: if you want to have more than one contact list, so that Fred has some contacts and Ethyl has other contacts, you need to know that the Contacts/Address Book apps will show you the set of both Fred+Ethyl, but when looking at “All Contacts” you can’t visually tell whether a given contact is in Fred’s list or Ethyl’s.

Worse, when adding a new contact, it’s not obvious whether you’re adding it to Fred’s list or Ethyl’s. My suspicion is that you’ll always be adding a contact to the primary iCloud account on your device whenever you’re looking at a sum of both lists, but I haven’t checked to see for sure.

At any rate, think about this when you add new contacts. Luckily, it’s easy (on Mac, anyway) to copy these around if you mess up, by looking at the Groups view of the Contacts list. Then you’ll be able to see the accounts separately and move contacts from one list to another.

I get around this problem because we currently only have a single contacts list, so in my Mac Address Book preferences, I tried disabling my own iCloud account:

BUG ALERT: However, when I did that, I found that the Mac was seeing only one user labeled “Me”–my wife, who had herself correctly labeled as “Me” on her iCloud-sync’d address book–and that was causing my Mac to call me “Marci” in the Messages app, in IM apps, and in the log-in screen, as well as using her picture instead of mine.

So I re-enabled the checkbox above, and made sure that her picture was correctly associated with her name (on her account) in Address Book, while my picture was correctly associated with my name (on my account) in Address Book.

Here’s what this looks like in Address book, when you view all of the accounts:

I shortened the picture, hence the gray band. All of our saved Groups of addressees–invite lists, etc.–normally show there.

 

I’ll need to make sure that any new addresses I add get moved over into the ‘shared’ address book (her iCloud account) if I want her to be able to see them. Since she is usually the one to add new people (she’s far more likable than me) this isn’t a big deal, and making corrections is easy.

In the future, Apple might make this easier to deal with. Let’s hope.

 

finishing up: set up your iOS devices

Remember that I’d said that Fred’s iOS devices should have the same iCloud sync settings as Fred’s Macs (or Fred’s Mac login accounts if you share computers with Ethyl)? Once I set things up the same way (same accounts in the system settings, same stuff sync’d in each account), I’m able to use my Calendars,  Contacts and Reminders on all of my iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) just like on the Mac. I’m not bothering with screen shots, but essentially it’s similar end results:

Fred’s Calendar app shows the calendars from Ethyl’s iCloud account (the dummy “_not used” calendar is unchecked). Settings on the iOS device determine what calendar new events get added to, so that’s under Fred’s control.

Fred’s Contacts list shows the sum of Fred+Ethyl’s calendars (or just Ethyl’s if you set things up to have a single master contact list)

Fred’s Reminders app shows only Fred’s reminders.

 

how does this work with FaceTime and Messages, etc?

Just dandy. Since you/Fred has got your own iCloud account, use that one to register your account with FaceTime, Message, etc. and you’re good to go on each device or Mac login.

 

Hope this helped somebody. It’ll at least help me, next time I need to set this stuff up!

I’d love to see comments and questions. Have at it!

—–

postscript: an even simpler setup

Now that you understand all this gobbledygook, here’s a simpler setup you can use if you are mostly concerned about two people sharing data, and you’re willing to have one of the accounts ‘own’ everything. This is the most similar to my own setup at present.

In this setup, Ethyl’s accounts are the “main” iCloud accounts where the calendars and contacts are stored:

  • Fred’s devices (your devices) have accounts that look like this:
    • iCloud.Fred (Fred’s master iCloud account)
    • iCloud.Ethyl (Ethyl’s master iCloud account, which is a secondary account on Fred’s devices)
  • Ethyl’s devices look like this:
    • iCloud.Ethyl (Ethyl’s iCloud account is the primary one on her devices)
    • no other iCloud accounts are need for Ethyl’s devices, because all of the calendars and contacts are already in her iCloud. That’s what makes this one simpler!

So here, only Fred (and additional users like Ricky and Lucy) would need more than one iCloud account on their iOS devices. Ethyl, the data owner, would only need her own.

 

15 thoughts on “set up iCloud to share settings across a family

  1. Thank for this – its a bit complicated but I’m hoping its exactly what I need.
    If you don’t mind I’ll explain what I’m trying to do and then ask my question.

    I have 2 iPhones (no I’m not a drug dealer – I’m a criminal lawyer who has one phone (main phone) for colleagues/police contacts and another phone (clients phone) for clients (so that I can turn it off and ignore their drunken rants at 2am whilst taking the ‘important’ calls).

    I need all the contacts to be available on both phones (don’t ask).
    I also need the ‘client phone’ to display my caller ID to them but if I call a client from my main phone, I’d rather not have the number display.

    I discovered that if I type #31# before the clients number when using main phone – ID withheld.
    So I just edit all the client numbers with that.
    Problem solved.

    Except that of course because I’m syncing contacts, it then changes the clients numbers on the ‘client phone’ too so that my ID is withheld! (Grrrrr).

    Your solution of a second ‘shared’ contacts folder seems ideal – however I’m at a loss to work out how I can create a second iCloud account for that purpose.

    Am I missing something?

    I hope that all makes sense?

    (now I think it maybe time for a lay down in a darkened room)

    1. Davholsea,
      See my other reply.
      BTW, it’s hard to imagine that you must have two separate phones to do what you’re doing. Certainly you need two separate phone numbers (one for clients and another for colleagues), but seems to me there should be some way of forwarding a second account to your iPhone, so you don’t literally need two phones.

      As an example, I use Comcast for my phone service, and I can use their web interface to redirect calls to a different number. I should be able to redirect incoming calls to that Comcast number to ring on my iPhone if I wanted to. Haven’t tried it, though.

  2. Ok so now I’m being dim.

    I’ve realised that creating an AppleID (and therefore another account) is easy and does not require ownership of a mac).
    I’ve done that, I’ve even set up my new contacts group under that account which sits nicely alongside my contacts on the mac.

    How do I set up just one of my iPhones to share that contacts group?

    (hopefully I shall once again discover the answer before you reply!)

    1. Davholsea,
      On the iPhone (any iPhone, or multiple iPhones), you can add the multiple Apple IDs you’ve set up, using Settings>Mail,Contacts,Calendars>Add Account…

      Use the tip I gave above for naming them to keep them visually separate. Then you can tell those accounts to sync Contacts, and optionally calendars and mail, depending on how you use those various Apple IDs.

      The caveat is that it’s not super simple to add contacts to an account that isn’t the “main” one, or to move contacts from one account to another. I do this on the Mac rather than iOS, though it’s not as easy as it should be there either. But it works.

  3. Thanks so much.

    I am forced to upgrade from MobileMe, and have been racking my brain to make iCloud work just like I use MobileMe. After starting to read your ideas, I already had my stuff set up like your “simple” setup before I even read about it.

    Thanks so much for the help, now my wife and I can continue to use our shared Contacts and Calendar’s list.

  4. Hi there-
    Great article, It explained so much and it mostly makes sense now… I am still nervous about something though. With MobileMe my wife and I shared her account as you indicated here, it is the suppository of all the contacts and calendar same as your wife’s (my wife is also, more friendly and MUCH more likely to enter that new contact into the contacts D.base…)

    Anyway, I had always just had her account (wife@me.com) as my account on my iPhone, then when I bought an app or she did, the other one could also download it. I am concerned now that If I delete her account from my phone and put mine on as the main one, then all the apps will disapear and I will have to buy them again. Not the end of the world except that there are some that have info in them that I don’t want to lose. I use one time tracker to keep logs of time and all my jobs are entered into it, which would take a long time to re-enter…

    So are all the apps and info going to go away?
    thanks
    ryan

    1. The account used for purchasing apps is the one you register for in the iTunes Store, NOT the iCloud account. So as long as you leave your wife’s account associated with iTunes and apps, then you should be fine. On the iPhone you can see this in Settings>Store>Apple ID. Just leave that one as your wife’s account.

      Also, a suppository of the contacts and calendars? I hope you meant repository. Ouch.

  5. I enabled both my wife and I for contacts like in your example. I had been using hers only but I wanted to send myself an email reminder in ical and it only lists email addresses from her ME card. Well I don’t can’t seem to set a ME card for each set of contacts! The new reminders does not have an email reminder. I have both calendars enabled also.

    1. As you note, in 10.8, you can’t have a Reminder (in the Reminders app) send you an email. Instead, the reminder will pop up on whatever devices you associate with that iCloud account. As an example, after setting things up as I describe, my Reminders app shows two accounts: my wife’s, and mine. I only add reminders to my own account, so I’m only reminded on my devices. She doesn’t get bugged by my reminders.

      Not true of Calendar: I don’t know a way to restrict a particular shared calendar to only “ring” on particular devices, unfortunately. So any Calendar alert (email, sound, etc.) affects all of our devices.

  6. Hi there,

    I use my ical daily for personal things, activities, bills due, etc. that syncs through icloud on my macbook, ipad and iphone. Now I need to set up a separate ical account to be accessed by myself and three colleagues. We all have icloud set up on our phones and computers. Do I need to create a new icloud account and then give the URL (?) to my colleagues?

    I’m assuming I can create a new calendar that will show up in my main ical application as a separate box that i can view on its own or with MY other calendar entries, and same for my colleagues.

    Perhaps the answer to this is above… please help!

    Thank you,
    Allie

    1. Sorry for the delay; you’ve probably solved this already.

      I wouldn’t create any iCloud account and give the password out to colleagues. You shouldn’t need to create a new iCal account for this at all–just create a separate Calendar in your personal iCloud account (+ button in the Calendar app) for your business calendar (rather than your personal stuff) and click the Share icon to share that with your colleagues. Have them do the same and share their business calendar with you. You’ll enter their email addresses in the Share dialog, and they’ll enter yours in their Share dialog. Everybody gets an email “Allie is sharing a calendar with you”–then you’re all subscribing to each others’ calendar and you can see their calendars in your list, and they can see your calendar in their list.

      The only reason I can think of to create a separate iCal account is if you want to treat the business as a separate entity and have an account for the business–thus having its own Calendar and its own Contacts list that you can all share access rights to, and use as a Team Calendar or Team Contacts. But you may not need something like that.

  7. Regarding iTunes and multiple accounts…
    From above…
    “The older son has his own iTunes account for his app purchases, which is a disadvantage in that he ends up re-purchasing some stuff.”

    If you use iTunes to sync in one user on your Mac, then purchases can be share with up to 5 iOS devices. (I don’t know if this works for multiple users on the same Mac, but it probably doesn’t work for accounts on personal Macs)

    Using one iTunes, my daughter buys her stuff with her Apple ID, my son with his, my stuff with mine, and even a U.S. account as well (I’m up in Canada, so all my accounts other than the U.S. account, are Canadian).

    Everything ends up on the same Mac, same user. I even subscribe to iTunes Match under my account ID. As long as the other iOS devices use my account for there app store, and the iTunes & iTunes Match are updated to this account on iTunes, after purchases have been made from other accounts, then all iOS devices can share the same apps and music. You just have to make sure the devices are locked into the same master account for the 12 mos. apple stipulates.

    So, my wife’s iPhone will have her own iCloud setup, but my AppStore/iTunes account login. My daughter’s iPhone is the same (as well as my own). We all end up sharing each others apps, and music, and iTunes Match will stream all of it, but we purchase content under our own Apple ID’s.

    It works

    1. Interesting. Now that we’ve all got wireless sync, nobody buys anything on our Mac’s iTunes, though we all sync to it for music. I haven’t seen it possible to buy apps with ID1 and get them onto an iOS device where apps are bought with ID2, but I’ll look over your note more carefully and see if I can work that out. Thanks!

  8. Some notes:

    Yes my son continually buys games and such with his own apple Id, using iTunes cards I get him. The purchases are made with Mac and/or I think he uses the iPad too, using his account (but the AppStore always gets logged back into my account automatically, I think, when I sync the iPad). My daughter buys music using her account, redeeming gift cards again on the same Mac. All devices get backed up to that Mac.

    Re: putting songs into playlists. When my daughter purchases music, she can’t initially put her purchases into the playlists (including her playlists). Apple kinda knows, and allows that you may have multiple accounts in iTunes, with one Mac. As such, it will allow you to sync the purchases from those multiple accounts to your own multiple devices, as long as they are associated only with that account, and that Mac. Therefore, after my daughter downloads music, she must log out of her account, and log back into my account, and then update iTunes Match so that Apple knows what is on my machine. Once Apple knows, via turning iTunes Match back on, and since the purchases are associated with my machine, ALL music from all accounts can be Matched and used with up to 5 authorized devices. Now that Apple knows account x purchases are part of the same machine registered for iTunes Match, my daughter can now place her music into the playlists, and they can be shared.

    Devices get associated with one ID for one year, and cannot be changed again until one year has passed. This is to prevent people from going over to there friends computer, giving them your account, allowing them to download your previously purchase items, and then letting them switch there machine back to there own ID.

    If you mistakenly delete a game of your sons and want to go back into the iTunes Music Store to redownload it under his account, you won’t be able to do it because iTunes will want to reassign your machine to his account for one year. DON’T DO IT as this will screw up your iTunes Match you paid for on your account.

    Hope you find this useful

  9. Hello, Glad to see someone has worked it out somewhat…

    I’ve just started trying to use Icloud with Mac Mail and Addess book to share contacts.

    What i need to do: Share one address book between 3 computers so they all have the same contacts and can each update to master address book.

    Should i then just use one master iCloud account on all 3 and delete the personal icloud accounts + contacts? Currently we each have our own address books that contain a lot of the same contacts, but I need to avoid duplications. Also i am confused as to how each person can add to the address book if they are not the master icloud holder?

    Any help muchly appreciated, i feel it should be easier than i’m finding it.

    Cheers Bryony

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