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The Best Way for Families to Use iCloud on Multiple Devices

Since the new iOS update, some friends have asked me questions about iCloud, so I wanted to share some tips on how families can best keep multiple Apple devices in sync with iCloud and communicate through FaceTime. For me, having my family life synced through iCloud was the best thing I've ever done, I'm gifting it forward.

Why iCloud Works for Families

Today's busy families require a more advanced system of keeping everything {and everyone} in sync. What's coming next? What needs to be done? Enter iCloud. I recommend iCloud for families because it takes all of those important calendar events, contacts and reminders, and makes them accessible from every device in the family.

Downloading and syncing apps is another great reason iCloud works well for families. iCloud saves all the apps ever downloaded on any device {using the same Apple ID} and brings it to other iCloud enabled devices in the family. If you paid for an app on Dad's iPhone, you can still get it on Mom's iPhone at no extra cost. It's just a matter of setting up your account properly.

Set Up a "Family iCloud Account" by using a Family Apple ID

Your family may already own several Apple devices, but have yet to get everyone on iCloud. That's okay, because setting up iCloud is pretty simple. First you need to get your ducks in a row before you take your family into the cloud.

Just like there's a head of the household, there should be one main Apple ID that the family uses on each device to access information using iCloud. This will ensure that apps are only paid for once, and that calendars, reminders and contacts are all syncing to the same source. Decide whose Apple ID will be used for iCloud and who the keeper of the family contacts will be to avoid duplicates.

Think of your family's Apple ID as the home you all live in. You may all go to different places at different times, but at the end of the day, everyone goes home. Within your home are different rooms or common areas that each member of the family uses. Hopefully this diagram can help.
Within each room there needs to be furniture to fill it, let's call these your drawers. A calendar drawer for Dad, Mom, Boy and Girl. Each drawer is kept orderly by each member of the family and is accessible to everyone as well. Mom can open up Girl's calendar drawer to see when the next volleyball tournament is and so on.

Techy Tip: Make sure each member of the family has their own named calendar and contact group. This will allow for filtering later on when you want to see only what's relevant to you. Check out my previous post on calendars for more calendar tips.

Communicating as Individuals

In the home, each person communicates in their own way, and this should also be the case when using FaceTime. Each person should use their own individual Apple ID to communicate through FaceTime. Designating Apple IDs to these different functions can be done in the settings app of the device.

One family Apple ID for shared information, and individual Apple IDs for individual communication.
I hope this demystifies iCloud a bit and shows you that getting on board with iCloud will make family life much easier. It takes away the overcrowded wall calendar, outdated address book and countless post it notes, putting them all in one neat little package on your Apple device. Ah, that's a nice gift.

Are you still holding off on iCloud? Why? Have you hopped on board the iCloud train recently? How has it changed your family life for the better? Do tell!
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