Apple’s Family Sharing now includes in-app purchases and subscriptions

Apple’s Family Sharing just got a lot sweeter

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Apple’s Family Sharing now includes in-app purchases and subscriptions
Siblings can share an iPad, as well as in-app purchases and subscriptions.
Screenshot: Julia M Cameron/Pexels CC

Developers of iPhone applications that include in-app purchases and subscriptions can now make them part of Family Sharing. This allows a family to share an item or subscription — at the developer’s discretion.

This is already a feature of Apple’s own services. A family can share a subscription to Apple Arcade or Apple TV+, for example. With this change for third-party apps, the Family Sharing option should become more widely available.

Apple promised this move at its Worldwide Developers Conference last June. “We’re very excited to announce that this year the App Store will support Family Sharing for in-app purchases, which will allow up to five additional family members to share a single purchase,” said Apple engineer Tori Sherman at WWDC 2020. She noted that it works for both auto-renewal subscriptions and non-consumable in-app purchases.

“We’re so excited about what this means for developers and your ability to engage millions of family members that are already set up,” said Sherman.

Family Sharing in-app purchases are up to the developer and the user

If they want to allow this generous option for their apps, third-party developers need to activate the feature in App Store Connect. It’s not on automatically, so it’s up to devs to decide if they want to let families share purchases and subscriptions or buy them individually.

And users can choose which in-app purchases they’d like to share with their family. Go to Settings > [your name] > Subscriptions to see an option to Share New Subscriptions.