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How To Share Apple TV+ With Family (And What To Know Before You Do)

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Apple TV+ subscribers can easily share their subscription with friends or family members, but they will first need to make sure Family Sharing is enabled through their own Apple account. Apple actually allows many of its services and subscriptions to be shared with others, including iCloud+ and Apple Fitness+. What’s more, there’s no difference in how any of these services are shared. Once a user is familiar with the process, it can be repeated for other subscriptions as well, or enabled for multiple services at the same time.

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Apple TV+ is the company’s own take on a streaming service, bringing together a selection of movies and shows to watch online. The selection of videos is a little limited compared to other services but this is due to its focus on original content. Either way, Apple TV Plus still does include plenty of popular shows and movies that friends and family members will enjoy streaming. Before adding anyone else to a subscription, it is important to make sure that they have an Apple TV+ supported device. Otherwise, those friends and family members won’t be able to watch any of the videos, even after being granted access to an existing subscription.

Technically, an Apple TV Plus subscription cannot be shared on its own. Instead, the subscriber needs to add Apple TV+ as a service to Apple’s Family Sharing to make it available to others. For those with a Family Sharing account already set up, the only thing to do is add Apple TV+ as one of the subscriptions. For those without Family Sharing enabled, this will need to be done before Apple TV Plus can be shared with anyone else.

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It is not possible to set up Family Sharing directly on an Apple TV device or another streaming player, so the subscriber will need to enable the feature on an iPhone, iPad or Mac. There’s no difference in how the feature is enabled on an iPhone or iPad, with the option located in the Settings menu. However, the device used will need to be one that the Apple TV+ subscriber has an account set up on.

  1. Open Settings app
  2. Tap on the Apple TV+ subscriber’s name
  3. Tap “Family Sharing”
  4. Tap “Set Up Your Family”

If attempting to set up Family Sharing on a Mac, the user will need to open the Apple menu and then click on “System Preferences” followed by “Family Sharing.” Regardless of whether setting up on an iPhone, iPad or a Mac, at this point the user will need to follow the onscreen instructions to add each family member. This usually involves sending an invite to each individual member using their specific Apple ID.

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As part of the same setting up process, Apple will ask the user which of their existing services they want to share with their family group members. This is where Apple TV+ can be selected. Essentially, the subscriber can decide to just share their Apple TV Plus subscription or all of the other Apple services they are also signed up to, such as Apple Music, Arcade, Fitness+, and so on. Once Family Sharing has been set up and enabled, the Apple TV Plus subscription will automatically be shared with any of the family members – providing they have actually accepted to join the family group to begin with.

That’s it. There is nothing else to do to share Apple TV+ with others. Simply create a family group, add people to it, and enable Apple TV+ as a shared subscription. After this, family group members only need to download the Apple TV+ app on one of the service’s supported devices and then use their own Apple ID to log in to gain access to all of the movies and shows available to stream.

What to know before sharing Apple TV Plus

With Family Sharing enabled, the Apple TV+ subscriber can easily share their subscription with others. As to be expected, there are some limitations which a subscriber should know about before attempting to share their subscription. One of the first being that Apple TV+ can only be shared with the members specifically listed in the family group. Of course, new members can be added at any time so this is not something that has to be done during the setting up process.

Another related limitation is that Apple only allows up to six people to be part of the same family group and this means five is the hard limit for how many other people an Apple TV+ subscription can be shared with. In addition, each person can only be part of one family group at a time. In other words, if someone is already part of someone else’s family group, then the Apple TV+ subscriber won’t be able to add them to their family group and share their Apple TV Plus subscription. Likewise, Apple does place an age limit on accounts so a parent may need to create one for younger users if they want them to have their own account for accessing Apple TV+ on a device.

A final, but important point to be aware of is purchases. As part of its Family Sharing feature, Apple also offers “Purchase Sharing” support. If this is enabled at any time, the Family Sharing account holder (called an “organizer”) will be responsible for any purchases made, including Apple TV channel subscriptions, made by family group members. Depending on the needs of the Apple TV+ subscriber, they may want to make sure Purchase Sharing is turned off. This will ensure that each family member still has access to the shared Apple TV Plus subscription, but remain personally responsible for any individual purchases.

Sharing Apple TV+ summary

An Apple TV Plus subscription can be shared with others by adding it as a Family Sharing service. Family Sharing is a requirement to share the subscription as there is no way to just share Apple TV+ on its own. Due to this, those that have yet to set up Family Sharing will need to create a family group before they can share Apple TV+ with family and friends. At present, a family group can only be created on an iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Once set up and ready to share, there are some limitation to be aware of. For example, Apple TV+ can only be shared with members of a family group and each user can only be part of one family group at a time. There is also the issue of device support. Anyone a subscription is being shared with will need to make sure they have access to a supported device to be able to watch Apple TV Plus.

John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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