Resolving issues with Family Sharing
Apple's Family Sharing system is a great way of saving money and sharing purchases you enjoy with others in your family and we're happy to extend these benefits to our users with some of our options (e.g. Lifetime Family).
However, sometimes people run into issues and chances are, that if you're reading this, you might be one of the people that has encountered issues with this.
This troubleshooting article aims to give you some insight in how Family Sharing works behind the scenes within placiibo, offer solutions for the most common causes of issues with Family Sharing and suggestions on how to proceed if none of the offered solutions resolve your issues.
How does Family Sharing work behind the scenes?
Family Sharing relies on the family member using the "Restore Purchases" function to unlock functionality.
Before we explain how this works with Family Sharing, it might help if we explain how it works normally.
Normally when you tap "Restore Purchases", placiibo will ask the App Store servers if the account that's logged in in the App Store app has any known purchases for the placiibo app.
placiibo never gets access to your Apple ID during this process, rather the App Store knows to look specifically for purchases on the account that's logged in.
In response the App Store will return a receipt that lists all the purchases that are made for placiibo, placiibo will look at the receipt and if it sees the relevant purchase on the receipt it'll unlock the functionality that is associated with that purchase.
The process for Family Sharing is near identical. placiibo will make the same request and will receive the same receipt. If a family member within the Family Sharing Group has made a purchase that is eligible for Family Sharing and this family member has enabled the option to share purchases in their Family Sharing settings, the App Store will make sure these purchases show up on the receipt of the respective family member.
Although the App Store will specifically flag these purchases as part of Family Sharing, this is ignored by placiibo for purposes of unlocking functionality, meaning that placiibo only looks if the purchase shows up on the receipt or not and acts no different than when the purchase is made directly by the Apple ID that's logged into the App Store app.
Below are some common issues that might help in resolving the issue you might be experiencing. At the end there are some suggestions to follow if none of the common issues apply to your case.
Currently placiibo offers only one product that allows for Family Sharing: Lifetime Family.
This troubleshooting article will be updated if there are any other products that offer the ability to share the purchase through Family Sharing, however, an easy way of knowing if the purchase can be shared is by looking at the name. If it contains the word "Family" it means it's enabled for Family Sharing.
So if you're running into issues, the first step would be to verify that you've purchased the correct product. You can either do this by checking the email receipt that is send out by the App Store or by looking through your transaction history. By clicking here on an Apple device (i.e. iPhone, iPad, Mac) you'll be immediately directed to your transaction history.
Once you've verified that you indeed purchased a product that is enabled for Family Sharing, the next step is to trace back to when you made the purchase.
Theoretically, if you make a purchase that is eligible for Family Sharing, it should be immediately usable by other members in your Family Group.
In practice however, we've noticed that sometimes it takes up to 24 hours for the App Store records to properly update.
Since placiibo is reliant on the App Store to provide the correct receipt that indicates that an Apple ID has access to a specific product, there's no other option than to wait until these records are properly updated.
Family Sharing not properly setup
It's important that you've properly setup your Family Group and that your family members have accepted the invitation.
Apple has a pretty simple support article that explains how to set up a group, invite people and see if they have accepted your invite: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201088
Additionally it is important to make sure the settings are correct and that the person uses the same Apple ID for accepting your invitation and for logging into the App Store app.
Here is a pretty extensive list of things to check, provided by Apple: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201454
In a nutshell the important steps to go through are:
- Make sure the family group is properly set up
- Make sure the family member has accepted the invitation
- Make sure the Apple ID used to accept the Family Sharing invitation is the same Apple ID that used to log into the App Store app
- Check that the option to share purchases with family members is enabled
- Log out of the Apple ID account under Media & Purchases (or Apple Store) on the family member's iPhone and log back in
The steps in this section, in addition to the steps provided by Apple in their support documents, are the most extensive, but also the one's with the highest likelihood of resolving your issue.
If none of the information and the options above were able to help you resolve your issue then the only other real option is to contact Apple Support. They have the possibility to take a deeper look into the accounts involved to see if there's anything causing issues.
You're of course also welcome to reach out to us, but we are limited to verifying if the correct product has been purchased, after which we will refer you to the steps above and contacting Apple Support as a last resort.
If you do choose to contact us, please make sure you include the logs of both the family member that made the purchase and the family member that has issues restoring the purchase through Family Sharing. For steps on how to export logs please see: How do I export logs?