19 Sep 2014
posted in thoughts
: part of the problem has been fixed. My daughter's lockout was removed (as those of a number of people on internet) and the next update will provide better information on this process. Kudos Apple and Claudine from AppleCare! Additionally, it would seem an extra screen lets you select which account should be used by the new family member when you add him/her, preventing removals when you realize they are using the wrong one… (I don't think this can be changed after).
Apple's Family Sharing in an interesting idea which offers a long wanted way to manage Apple Store purchases within members of a family (among other features).
Up until now, our solution was to each have our own Apple ID for iCloud related tasks (contacts, calendars, backup, etc.), a common Apple ID linked to a credit card for purchases, and a third common account to manage Home Sharing. Not ideal, but it worked.
With iOS 8 and Family Sharing, you can create a Family Group and add your family members to it. The Family Group creator allows the sharing of his credit card with the other members, without the need of sharing his Apple ID and password combo. Each member can purchase with his own Apple ID, and only one credit card is charged.
Additionally, there is also easy photo and calendar sharing, as well as Find my Phone and Find my Friend functionalities.
The caveat is that Apple neglected to warn us that there is a lockout period when you leave a Family Group.
“[…] You can be part of only one family group at a time, and may only switch to a different family group twice per year. […]” A Guide to Family Sharing
Now, you'll tell me this isn't the first time Apple limits a number of devices/people to access a group or a feature. Think of the maximum of 5 computers that can be authorized at once to download content from a single account on the Apple Store, or the 90 days grace period when switching accounts. But in both cases, you are warned by a dialog box of what is going to happen.
With Family Sharing, add and remove the same member as little as twice (e.g. for testing purposes or because it didn't work the first go) and that account will be locked out for an entire year!
Beyond the unreasonable length of the lockout period, there is no warning before hand! When you attempt to create or remove, either a Family Group or a member, a dialog box should warn you of what will happen!
Granted, Apple published these guidelines on their website, but no one ever wrote about it, which leads me to think no one knew before experimenting with the feature.
I hope they'll come up fast with a fix. Something in the lines of the once a year iTunes computer authorization reset, or at least provide Apple Support and AppleCare with tools to deal with the issue, as of as , support is helpless…
Not only is this a gross UX error on Apple's part, it's emotional. When a family member gets locked out of your Family Group, part of you reacts in a protective, emotional way that goes beyond a shortsighted feature implementation.
Family Sharing is about people.
People you love.
Don't mess with them.
The discussions goes on,
- Apple Family Sharing is Broken and Uncaring by Scott Boutwell
- Leave Family Sharing on Apple Support
- A Guide to Family Sharing on Apple Developer
- Locked out of Family Sharing for 364 days on Apple discussions
- Reset family sharing for one account on Apple discussions
- Family Share - need to wait 364 days after 2 attemps on Apple discussions
- @cdespinosa on Twitter
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