I'm told that some children have iPhones, that are part of 'the same iCloud' as a parent. I've seen that their messages appear to be mixed in with the parent's: the child's message to a friend is replied to both by that friend and their parent.

Can anyone explain how this works? Is this Family Sharing? Can the adult account view all communication (e.g. WhatsApp, Skype, Discord) on the linked children accounts, or just that on Apple apps? Can the adult delete photos on the linked accounts?

  • 1
    This has nothing to do with family sharing. Since their devices are linked to the same iCloud account, messages will be received/sent to all devices signed to this account.
    – zerohedge
    Jun 9 '19 at 11:09
  • >that are part of 'the same iCloud' as a parent. They all are having same account(Apple ID) so all the things of that ID will appear on all devices.
    – anki
    Jun 9 '19 at 12:29
  • do I understand this correctly - if the iPhones share an iCloud account, they share iMessages and photos taken on the phones? If so, what else do they share (e.g. WhatsApp, Skype, Discord messages)? Do they share Contacts? Jun 9 '19 at 14:55
  • @ColinRowat They share everything because they are the same account. What you probably really want is Family Sharing where each person has a separate account and you can establish who can do what re running apps or sharing photos etc. apple.com/family-sharing
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 9 '19 at 14:58
  • I've deleted the followup questions in the comments below (doesn't help to ask the same clarification question trice). Every device logged in to the same iCloud account can see all the data associated with such an account (Mail, Messages, Apps, iBooks, etc)
    – nohillside
    Jun 9 '19 at 15:27

The scenario you describe is what Family Sharing is designed to avoid.

Each person should have their own iCloud account, then each person's data is exclusive to them, but apps/books/music/calendars can, at the parents' discretion, be allowed to be used on the children's devices.
That's just the apps, not the data on those apps.


Messages will be synced across all devices logged in with the same AppleID ('the same iCloud'). To prevent that, have each kid set up their own AppleID and use that. You can still combine them into a family sharing setup afterwards.


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