If my family has family sharing, do I have to use the family credit card for every purchase, or can I buy some things on my own for my personal use and other things through the family sharing?

  • This is a actually a great question! The answer is not apparent either. For example, say a "family member" received a gift card. Normally when you redeem a gift card it gives your iTunes account a credit balance, but who can use that credit...anyone in the family or just the gift recipient? – Tyson Oct 27 '14 at 22:26
  • Great question - I was asking that myself the other day. Purchasing something from my iPad, I didn't see any option for selecting the payment method - it automatically went through the head of the family credit card. – nwinkler Nov 14 '14 at 7:39

Once you have family sharing turned on all purchases that aren't covered by a store-credit get billed through the shared payment method which is one charge card entered by the "Family Organizer" Apple ID.

Quote from the Apple Support article:

After you set up your family, any time a family member initiates a new purchase it will be billed directly to your account unless that family member has gift or store credit.

As a workaround @bmike recommends purchasing a gift card and/or refilling your iTunes balance so that no purchase ever is made on anything but store credit.

Discounted gift cards can be found at Costco and you can also store your iTunes account in iOS wallet app and recharge it at Apple Retail Stores.

  • Forgive the large edit. Ping me if you disagree and I can post another answer with the experiences we have had with this over the past year. Nothing seems to need the credit card now. Even Apple Music or iTunes Match subscriptions are coming out of the gift card / account balance these days which is nice. – bmike Jan 10 '16 at 19:44
  • @bmike Good suggestion. Some of your wording made it sound like I had done this method personally and was recommending it. I did some editing so it's clear I'm not personally experienced with the method you added. – James McMahon Jan 11 '16 at 16:17

The entire family’s purchases come from one account. The benefit to this approach is centralized control over purchases.


Once you have set up Family Sharing all your applications can be installed by other members of the family. I believe only the parents can pay for the applications unless credit is on the account. Other members can only 'ask' to buy applications.

You can find out more information about Family sharing here: https://www.apple.com/uk/icloud/family-sharing/

  • 1
    This doesn't answer the one specific question asked, and that is he "Required" to use family sharing to by an app, or can he buy on his own as well. – Tyson Oct 27 '14 at 22:21

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