Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Apple Manage Devices / Associated Devices is still kind of broken

If multiple devices share a Store Apple ID they will show up in Apple ID Devices. They will also show in iTunes (for that Store Apple ID), Apple’s current documentation states iTunes is the only way to see and manage this list. “You can have ten devices (no more than five of them computers) associated with your Apple ID and iTunes at one time."

And you thought iTunes was dead!

You have to remove devices manually from this list after you stop using them. If, like me, you use the same Store Apple ID on family devices it’s easy to hit the limit.

The interesting bit is these two lists are different and they don’t synchronize. They are presumably on two different databases.

The list is current and shows 8 devices. I think if you sign out of a device you’re not using this list will be updated.

The iTunes managed list is not updated when you sign out of a device. You have to update it manually. I think it still supports iPods. It had one of our devices that was no longer active on it, but it also had an old iPhone 4 we use for music only that runs iOS7 [1]

iPod support explains why the iTunes managed list can’t be automatically updated. I don’t know what happens if you exceed the limit on one list but not the other.

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[1] The iCloud My Devices display supports “iOS 8, macOS Yosemite … or later …”

iOS 12 Family Sharing: Purchase Sharing supports changing Apple ID and UI could support future multiple Apple IDs.

One of Apple’s “original sins” is the proliferation of Apple IDs and the inability to merge or manage them. I have four that I know of with cryptic and fungible relationships between Apple ID and product ownership. (The worst bugs in the software world are data model bugs.)

In iOS 12 Family Sharing there’s now a setting for Purchase Sharing with an associated Apple ID. Mine is set to my Apple Store ID which is historically distinct from my iCloud ID (many old timers have this unfixable issue). If you tap on this Apple ID it rings up a dialog that allows this to be changed (there’s a bug here — tapping on it doesn’t always work. I had to leave the screen and return to it to enable tap). When I tapped it switched the default to my iCloud Apple ID.

I believe this is a new control. It will be interesting to see what happens when I migrate other family devices that use this iTunes Store ID for purchasing.

At the moment only one Apple ID can be used, but this UI could support multiple Apple IDs. The screen also displays a payment method that cannot be changed, it’s presumably defined by Apple ID.

This is something to watch.

PS. The ten year history of this mess is one reason I recommend Spotify over Apple Music for families.

See also:

iOS 12 Parental Controls / Restrictions / Screen Time: Parental Controls (Passcode restricted) is not always compatible with "Share Across Devices"

Experimenting with Screen Time I enabled a passcode on my personal iPad after I’d enabled “Share Across Devices” [1]. I then found I could disable it without reentering the passcode. Which kind of defeats the purpose of a parental control passcode.

Then I turned it on again, and this time I was asked something like: “Is this iPad for you or your child?” [2]. Once I chose child I could no longer remove the passcode without entering it.

“Share Across Devices” then turned itself off.

When I turned “Share Across Devices” back on then I had to reenter my Screen Time Passcode. After than Screen Time Passcode was disabled.

Maybe this isn’t exactly a bug, but it certainly is awkward. I wonder if “Share Across Devices” uses iCloud ID or iTunes/Store ID.

Screen Time for family is enabled through the “Family Sharing” screen.

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[1] I think Share Across Devices Requires Apple’s two-factor authentication, which seems to rely on SIM-hack-friendly justly scorned phone number authentication. Yay Apple.

[2] Remember when iOS was going to allow multiple accounts on a single iPad? Android did that for their now defunct tablets.

iOS 12: It's now possible to remove/change Restriction / Screen Time passcode without removing restrictions

Prior to iOS 12 if you’d set a restriction passcode the only way to change it was to remove restrictions — which deleted things like blacklists and whitelists. With iOS 12 there’s a dialog for changing or removing the passcode. My favorite iOS 12 feature so far.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

iOS 12: "family sharing" is still for children only -- ask to buy disabled at age 18 in US

The “Share purchases on iPad with family members” chapter of my iOS 12 iPad user guide tells me Family Sharing is still limited to children, and still not suited for use with special needs adults.

The problem is that “Ask to Buy” is available only for 18 and under. Since all purchases go to the “Family Organizer” Ask to Buy is the only way for the Organizer to control what family members purchase intentionally or accidentally. Since it’s turned off at age 18 “Family Sharing” is effectively for parents (who presumably share expenses) and children (who can have Ask to Buy).

This means that Family Sharing is not helpful for special needs dependents (guardianship status).

This is unchanged from iOS 11.  I’m not surprised, Apple doesn’t want Family Sharing to be widely adopted beyond the target group.

iOS 12 Books will not sync to Sierra or High Sierra Books

I updated my iPad to iOS 12. Books gave me this notification:

Changes you make to your library on this device sync only to devices running iOS 12, macOS 10.14, or later.

I downloaded the iOS 12 manual to my iPad and, as promised, it doesn’t show on Sierra iBooks.

Took me only a few minutes to find the first problem with iOS 12.

It’s a gift!

A similar problem happened with Mavericks.