Wednesday, April 15, 2015

iCloud Family Sharing: you can mix old style and new style sharing, but there's at least one bug

My family does old school iOS media sharing.

Everyone has their own Apple ID for iCloud, but we all use my App Store ID [1]. So we can all share media, apps and the like.

Modern iCloud Family Sharing has advantages though, and Apple is already making old school sharing harder

Which leads to a question.

Say I configure Family Sharing for the 5 of us. [2] Can I mix-and-match old and new family sharing? If #2’s App Store ID is set to my current App Store ID, will he still be able to do old-school sharing?

I think Apple frowns on changing App Store IDs, there may be a limit…

- fn -

[1] Which is different from my iCloud Apple ID because of “.Mac". Don’t think about it too much.

[2] Max of 6 per family, which was once not an unusually large family.

Update 4/16/15 - Reports from

… You can change Apple ID's, download an app and change right back. I do this for apps that I paid for IAP’s with an old account before Family Sharing…

… we do both … although family sharing has not become relevant yet, the old way of sharing apps is more convenient…

When I setup Family Sharing I found that my personal iCloud account was the “Organizer” account, but after entering those credentials my App Store Apple ID was the default for the purchase account. So Apple keeps those two separate.

I did run into a problem — Apple doesn’t provide purchase controls for adults; they didn’t think of special needs or guardianship. Happily, if I leave my old shared credentials as iTunes and App Store old rules apply — the Family Member is asked for my pw to make a purchase. I think if I switched the iTunes and App Store credentials to the user’s iCloud credentials they’d be asked for their Password at time of purchase — but that still requires my help, the kids don’t know their Apple ID passwords yet. So this problem has a workaround…

Thus far the best part of Family Sharing is iOS 8.3 “Find My iPhone”. It now lists everyone’s devices — and several devices that are gone from this earth.

Update 4/18/15: Not working quite as expected.

To recap, the kids have their own iCloud accounts, but the App Store/iTunes credentials are my .mac credentials, which are not my iCloud credentials.

Yeah, this is problematic. We need a way to merge Apple IDs.

In this configuration when they try to buy something I need to enter the .mac credentials. Even when I do that, however, they get a notice that the transaction needs to be approved. That’s fine, but the approval request never gets generates a notification against my Organizer iCloud account. I have an OS X user account bound to the .mac credentials, but that doesn’t get a notification either. So for now I’ve disabled Ask to Buy.

Monday, April 13, 2015

iOS 8.3 took away one of my favorite parental controls

With iOS 8.3 Apple made an undocumented change that will make a few kids happy.

No, not the post-update dialog that will lead many parents to unwittingly enable 15 minute authentication lifespans for purchases. Apple documented that feature. Here’s where you undo any mistakes by they way:


The real change is that users no longer need to enter the App Store account password to reinstall any app that’s been previously purchased with that account on any device. There’s no setting to revert back to the old behavior of managing a reinstall very much like an initial installation (respect password settings as above).

Why does this matter?

Well, let’s assume you install YouTube on the KidPhone and late find some highly educational porn. In the old days you could just delete YouTube and be done — assuming your user doesn’t know the App Store account password. Now users can simply download it again.

Now imagine the problem if you do old school App Store/iTunes credential sharing like we do — we each have our own iCloud accounts, but our FairPlay DRMd material is all associated with my App Store credentials. Yeah, everything can be installed. It’s a good thing I’m not into S&M apps.

I don’t know how this works with Family Sharing, the change is too new to see much commentary. For old-school families like ours there are 4 options based on this screen …


Your options are:

Install AppsDeleting AppsResult
Off On App Store disappears so can’t install or update. You can’t update from iTunes either, so this setting is a pain in the butt. You need to go through the restrictions dialog to do app updates. User can delete apps which is convenient.
On Off suggested this one. User can download anything, but they can’t hide contraband. So if they install forbidden apps they get banished to “Install Apps Off” which is painful for everyone.
Off Off As option 1, but can’t remove apps. I can imagine limited use cases.
On On The default.

For now I’m going with Install On and Delete Off, with the warning that forbidden fruit will lead to App Store removal.

I’d love to see a fix from Apple but it’s going to take a lot of complaining. I’m not holding my breath.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

How to upgrade to Yosemite Aperture when migrating from Mavericks

Via Macintouch:


… if you’re upgrading from Mavericks to Yosemite, the previous versions of Aperture (3.5.1) and iPhoto (9.5.1) for Mavericks won’t run at all on Yosemite, and you can no longer update them from the Updates tab of the App Store - because they've been removed from the store.

The only way to obtain the Yosemite versions of Aperture (3.6) and iPhoto (9.6.1) is to delete the old versions and then re-download the full applications from the Purchases tab of the App Store."

I guess I’d better hurry up on my Yosemite migration, but at least there’s still a way to do this.

Fortunately I think it’s fairly easy to “steal” Aperture, which, in this case, is probably legitimate.

I have Aperture on both my laptop and my desktop. I’d rather upgrade laptop to Yosemite first, but that will take Aperture there to 3.6. I suspect 3.51 (Mavericks) can’t import 3.6 Libraries. Interesting times.

Update: I tested this on a Mavericks machine I just updated to Yosemite. Even though the “Purchases” list shows Aperture with an “update” button, the update doesn’t work. You do have to delete and redownload. I wonder if this is actually a bug.

Sadly, while it’s still possible to download Aperture, there’s no way to download iPhoto for Yosemite, and iPhoto for Mavericks won’t work. Turns out you can download iPhoto the same way. Delete it then Install from purchased.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

iOS and OS X Reminders can be shared among family members

We need a way to remind #1 of certain tasks he has trouble remembering. 

Yeah, a lot of kids have trouble remembering things, but #1 has a very different mind. Some things are hard for him to hold on to.

Thinking about how to do this I dimly saw, somewhere in the cluttered and drafty attic of my memory, something about shared reminder lists in iOS.

I remembered correctly …

iCloud: Share a reminder list

You can share a reminder list with other iCloud users. You might want to do this, for example, to keep all the members of a sports team apprised of what needs to be done for the next game. As the owner of a shared list, only you can add and delete list participants.

Participants in the shared reminder list can view and edit the list (mark items as complete, add items, and delete items), and see who else is sharing the list using these apps: iCloud Reminders, Reminders on an iOS device, Reminders on a Mac, and Microsoft Outlook on a Windows computer.

Outlook? Really? I wonder if that’s true. This is old stuff.

Old enough that it works on Mavericks as well as iOS and iCloud/web. I created a shared Reminder list named after #1 that includes me, Emily, #1’s personal iCloud address and #1’s school/iPad iCloud address. Any of us can interact with reminders.

It was pretty easy to setup. Despite the reference to email in the documentation I was able to accept invitations by using Emily and #1’s iCloud/Web Reminder app. (Though, for some reason, on #1’s 8.3 4s I did have to accept the email invitation. Maybe just a sync issue.)

I suspect we’ll all get alarms, I don’t see a way to target a reminder/alarm to a specific person. 

This will be quite useful.