I have used iCloud on my Mac to store my Desktop and Documents folders for years.

I have an extra terabyte of iCloud storage that I'm not using, so I'd like to let a family member use it.

I have enabled "Family" in System Settings, and invited the family member, who has accepted (there is an explicit message that "All plans can be shared with up to five family members").

But, the other person is still getting a warning that iCloud Drive is full at 5 GB.

Can anyone confirm that it is possible to share iCloud Storage between family members, and point me to what I might be doing wrong?

Is there some difference between iCloud and iCloud+ that might be at work?

My main computer just says iCloud in the settings, but the family members' computer says "Upgrade to iCloud+ for more storage".

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can share this excess capacity with your family member. You may need to change settings to share it.

On your device, in System Settings > Family settings, make sure that you're sharing your storage with the family.

If you click "Family Checklist" you can verify if it says you're sharing "iCloud+" or "iCloud Storage" with your family.

Family Checklist

If you click into it, it should show your family and have an option to stop sharing. If it has an option to start sharing, click it.


After you've verified you're sharing family storage, try again on the other person's device and see if it recognizes the storage. If it still doesn't, view the Family Checklist on their device to see if they can receive the storage.

  • So I did as you suggested, from the main account everything looks fine, I am sharing storage etc. But from the "storage" account, I'm still getting a message that I'm out of space. I'll try signing out and in from iCloud later (sigh). I have also tried revoking the invitation to be a family member and re-inviting.
    – Andy Swift
    Commented Jan 4 at 17:46
  • 1
    I’ve had to contact Apple support when family sharing didn’t “take” in the past. I would suggest that before a removal IMO @AndySwift it can mess things up if the back end isn’t working and then the delete makes it harder to extricate from the mess.
    – bmike
    Commented Jan 4 at 18:13

What worked for me:

  1. Cancel the first invitation (I had done it via "Invite in Person").
  2. Re-invite the family member via Messages.
  3. While signed in to the family member's account, right-click and copy the message in question
  4. Sign in at appleid.apple.com
  5. Past the link copied from Messages in the browser and press enter (this resulted in an error)
  6. Re-paste and follow the link from Messages (this resulted in "you're already a member")
  7. Open System Settings, going to Family › [my account] › Subscriptions, and enabling iCloud Storage

In short, accepting the invitation from Messages in a web browser seems to have worked.

Signing in and out of iCloud did not work.

  • Interesting sequence. Is the family member using the same device as you sent the invite?
    – bmike
    Commented Jan 5 at 12:17
  • Yes, a 2TB iMac
    – Andy Swift
    Commented Jan 5 at 17:25
  • Glad it’s sorted and it helps you with the optimize / do not optimize settings differentiated for your needs.
    – bmike
    Commented Jan 5 at 18:58

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