I will be giving my three children three iPads as their christmas presents. I am now currently using my iPhone 4 with my only one Apple ID for the App Store.

My question is if I set up their iPads using my Apple ID that I am currently using now, does that mean that if they download a game or anything from the App Store, will it appear on my iPhone 4 as well? And if I delete the app from my iPhone, will it delete on their iPad too? If that the case, should I set up a different Apple ID for them?


7 Answers 7


I strongly recommend you keep a separate ID for each person. When buying a song, for instance, you can share among 5 authorized devices. My computer, iPad, iPod, and iPhone make four. Now that my wife and daughter have iPhones, and daughter, a MacBook, I glad they have their own accounts. No crazy apps I don't know about clogging my devices. You want your own apple ID and iCloud. Really.

Edit - Using your Apple ID for Apple services will help clarify the iTunes vs iCloud ID usage.

  • Thank you so much for your responses. All of them are under 15, so I definitely will set up my apple id for all of them. Another question is, can we share one apple id for all the apps purchases and create different ids for icloud account for each of them? If so, how do I do that? Thank you.
    – julia
    Dec 20, 2012 at 7:17
  • Added link above to respond to comment. But, Yes, you can keep separate IDs for iTunes and iCloud. Dec 20, 2012 at 17:37

Depends on how old the children are. If they are 15 and above, you may want them to maintain their own accounts and identity on the devices. Otherwise, you may want to be able to monitor what they put on their devices. It looks like a management problem, not a technical one.

You can set up your iDevices to either download purchases automatically or not. If you delete an app from one device, it has no effect on its presence on other devices.

The downside to using different apple IDs is that if there is an app you want on all of them, and you don't want to buy 4 copies of the same thing, then managing their installation and upgrades is a pain. You will have to sign out of their account, sign in with yours, download the app, sign out, and sing back in with original account. Repeat. Repeat.

If you set up all of them using your own apple ID, that means you will have to buy them any apps they want to put on their device. Unless you are comfortable giving them the password to your account on the iTMS and the credit card authorization that is attached to it. And you have to make sure not to set up iCloud sync, because then they will also get your reminders, calendar events, photo stream, and any iTunes music.

  • 1
    Instead of signing out and in with the different IDs, you can just copy the app into the iTunes Libraries of each kid. Or (if you use your iTunes Library to sync all of them) just install it onto all of them from there.
    – nohillside
    Dec 20, 2012 at 5:47

I want to just answer the questions without making a recommendation since I can see many reasons that different people will want different account setups.

You can use one Apple ID for all the devices. If you want to turn off automatic download, you won't see the apps on your devices. If you delete the app from one device it does not delete it from the others. Even if you hide the purchase from your purchase history, the other devices can still re-download the app for free.

You only want to set up a second Apple ID if you want to let them control their purchases and budget (and not see their purchases in your purchase history). You can set restrictions to prevent age ratings and download blocks on a per-device limit and that is not tied to the Apple ID.

There is a limit where you will start having issues where more than 10 devices want to pull apps from one Apple ID, but even with 4 children devices, you still have 6 slots for yourself.

  • 2
    And here comes the advice - start with one account and see how it goes. You can always hide purchases you don't like later and split off your children one by one as they get mature enough to warrant their own Apple ID. I would sign them each up for their own Apple ID so they have their own iCloud backup/iMessage/FindMyFriends and their own Game Center identities, but you can control the purchases for as long as you like centrally up and until you get past 10 devices.
    – bmike
    Dec 20, 2012 at 23:10

Separate accounts with individual gift cards pre-loaded on each account might help teach the kids how to budget.


I have setup 25 iPads for a school before and Until we turned on the apple volume licenses, it did download to all devices because the option was set in Settings -> iTunes & App Stores.

On your phone if you turn off Automatically Download Apps from the above Settings area then you should be ok and it not automatically download apps after they purchase apps if you use the same Apple ID. You can also set Music and Books. Deleting from your phone will not affect their iPad.

For a lab I would recommend turning off the automatically download but for several kids I would recommend that you use one account.

For a group of small kids I would recommend one app, you don't have to buy the same app several times over. It might cause issues with GameCenter to only have one account for those games that keep data and records based on gamecenter. You can create multiple accounts there and solve that issue.

Keeping one account will also help with security and child management settings. You can view the amount left on the gift card and you will get email notifications when apps are purchased. Mine is tied to my paypal account, so I would get the emails if apps are purchased. You can set restrictions and manage parental controls on a mac to set age limits that you want the kids to be viewing for materials such as songs, videos, etc.

Have fun!


you can't give them an ID if they are under 13 :(

you can easily manage what apps turn up on your phone, the real problem for families is this: if I give them their own IDs do they can't share apps or music, can they? And we are still not dealing with the bigger issue: they aren't supposed to have appleIDs at their age.


iOS8 introduced a new Family Sharing feature; I would recommend that you keep separate IDs and invite your children to your account as family members:

Family Sharing

A new way to bring harmony to your family’s digital life.

Family Sharing makes it easy for up to six people in your family to share each other’s iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases without sharing accounts. Pay for family purchases with the same credit card and approve kids’ spending right from a parent’s device. And share photos, a family calendar, and more to help keep everyone connected.

Get organized.

To get started, one adult in your household — the organizer — invites up to five additional family members and agrees to pay for any iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases they initiate while part of the family group. Once family members join, the features of Family Sharing are set up on everyone’s devices automatically.

All your family’s purchases on all your family’s devices.

Everything’s better when shared, and sharing has never been easier. Once you’ve set up Family Sharing, all the songs, albums, movies, TV shows, books, and apps ever purchased by family members are immediately available to everyone else in the group. And, of course, so are new purchases. The content appears automatically in the Purchased tab in iTunes, iBooks, or the App Store for each family member. Just select the family member whose collection you’d like to browse, then download or play the content you choose. Other family members can access your collection in the same way. If you want to keep some purchases private, you can choose to hide individual items.

Making purchases is easy. So is setting limits.

All new iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases initiated by family members will be billed to the organizer’s account. But the organizer can still call the shots. Just turn on Ask to Buy for children in the family. When a child initiates a purchase, an alert is sent to the organizer, who can review the download and approve or decline it right from the organizer’s device. This applies to both purchases and free downloads.

More Information: https://www.apple.com/icloud/family-sharing/

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