One of the new features of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra is shared iCloud Storage among family members. Since I’m on the iOS 11 public beta, I decided to roll it out to my family.
I had previously setup a family account when Apple Music was released, so I had already gone through the hassle of setting it up. The part that was awkward, but Apple has a solution for, is my iCloud account is not the account where the majority of my purchases live. I have the account that I started when I got my first iPod 2004, and I also have my iCloud account. I’ve been around so long that this is also a MobileMe and .Mac account as well. Apple allows you to designate one account as the account your family purchases pull from.
In preparation for all of this, I set up child iCloud accounts for my kids. These are special Apple IDs that can require your consent to make purchases (if enabled).
Devices running the iOS 11 beta can enable it by going to Settings > iCloud > Subscription and Apps > iCloud Storage. I didn’t document the process, but it’s simple.
The neat thing is devices running iOS 10 can join the fun. My kid accounts were automatically enabled to be apart of the shared storage, but my wife had to manually join. You can do that in Settings > iCloud. In the iOS 11 Developer build, there is an option to invite a family member via iMessage.
Couple of things to note:
- There is no way to allocate space. I’m assuming one family member could technically take up 99% of the space.
- Only the $2.99 and up plans are eligible.
- While it seems child accounts auto-join, normal accounts do not.
If you think about the fact that the 2 TB plan was just lowered to $9.99, this makes it an incredible deal when combined with multiple family members.
Between Apple Music ($14.99/month for family) and a 2 TB iCloud storage plan ($9.99 per month), Apple can easily get $25 per month per family. This also creates a stickier ecosystem as well. On the flip side, this is a great deal for users. $25 a month for 2 TB of storage and unlimited Music is a great value.