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I've been sharing my Apple ID (I'll call it A) details with my wife for many years, in order to share app purchases.

We'd now like to switch to Family Sharing. My Apple ID A would be the "family organizer".

After setting up Family Sharing, my wife would set up her iPhone (in Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID) to use her own Apple ID ("B"). This ID currently has no purchases.

What will happen to her existing apps, some of which have saved local data?

Reading around a bit, perhaps we'll run into this sequence of problems:

  1. The existing apps might still be marked as "purchased by" A. If my wife wants to update them, she'd need to enter the A credentials (source)... I guess this is OK, but not ideal.

  2. To fix that, perhaps we could delete the offending app and then re-purchase it using her account B (which is now linked to A via Family Sharing). Updating it then requires her B credentials, which is fine.

  3. But then presumably we'll find that the app's saved local data has been deleted by the reinstall. Perhaps we could then use iMazing to restore the app data from an earlier backup (source).

Have I understood this correctly?

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+50

I also shared my Apple ID with my wife for app purchases, and found the transition to Family Sharing painless. This Apple support page goes into details, and I'll answer some of your specific questions below.

What will happen to her existing apps, some of which have saved local data?

Most likely your wife's iPhone is set up so that iCloud (Settings > iCloud) is using B's Apple ID, and iTunes & App Store (Settings > iTunes & App Store) is set up with A's Apple ID. This makes the transition easy, but just in case please make a full encrypted backup with iTunes.

On your wife's iPhone, go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID and click "Sign Out", reboot the iPhone, and then sign in with your B's Apple ID. A should then create the family group and invite B to the group.

The existing apps might still be marked as "purchased by" A. If my wife wants to update them, she'd need to enter the A credentials

The linked answer describes how app authentication works when there are apps purchased under multiple Apple IDs on the same device. The authentication process for Family Sharing works differently.

Under Family Sharing, account B's credentials will be valid for purchases shared by other family members if she has been flagged as a Parent/Guardian by the Family Organizer. This includes apps, music, movies, and iBooks. To download apps made by other members, open the store app that you want to download content from, and go to the purchased page. On iOS devices this is located at:

App Store: Tap Updates > Purchased.
iTunes Store: Tap More > Purchased.
iBooks: Tap Purchased.

The only time that a purchase needs to be authenticated is when a child that has be set as "Ask to Buy" tries to make a purchase.

  • Agreed. We went through the same process, no loss of data on either device. – dr.nixon Feb 7 '16 at 15:58
  • Thank you Ben: you've helped me make a bit more sense of this - much appreciated. Also thanks @dr.nixon. You've both given me a bit more confidence to go ahead. I'll try and report back. – Ashley Feb 10 '16 at 9:07

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