Last week, one of my Facebook friends asked if it made sense to share one Apple ID between he and his wife so they did not have to buy their apps twice on each of their iPhones. The short answer here is yes, but does it really make sense in a world where individuals personalize their devices?
As a family with more iOS devices than I would like to admit, we use the same Apple ID on all of our devices and in iTunes on all of our computers. This works for us now because my wife and I don’t mind using the same Apple ID, and our kids are too young to have accounts of their own. In less than a year, the oldest will want an account of her own, and I can’t really blame her. I would too.
So, how does Apple solve this issue with an insanely great solution? Well, here’s my plan.
It is time for Apple to implement the Apple Household. A Household will be comprised of one or more Apple IDs. All purchases made with any of the Apple IDs in the Household will roll up into one iTunes in the Cloud library. This will make purchases available to anyone in the Household.
So what are the benefits of having several Apple IDs rolling up into one Apple Household? The biggest advantage is that a family will be able to easily consolidate their purchases in the cloud and will be able to take advantage of iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match as a family while still maintaining individual accounts on iOS devices.
Of course, an Apple Household would also create a lot of opportunity for parents to monitor and control the purchases of their minor children. Apple already provides a way for parents to give an iTunes allowance to their kids. The Household could take this even further by using the concept of a head of household. The head of household, most likely a parent or guardian, would have the ability to easily set parental controls over all of the minor accounts in the Household via a simple iTunes-based control panel.
So, to summarize, the Apple Household provides the individualism that typical Apple users need, families get the consolidated iTunes library they want, and parents get the controls they require. Seems like everyone wins. Apple, let’s make this happen!