Apple Confirms Family Sharing for In-App Purchases and Subscriptions is Now Available

Apple yesterday quietly expanded its Family Sharing App Store functionality, adding a new App Store toggle that allows family members to share in-app subscriptions with one another. Apple today confirmed that the functionality has now rolled out and that it's also applicable to in-app purchases.

share new subscriptions family sharing
In an update for developers, Apple says that it's now possible for them to enable Family Sharing for auto-renewable subscriptions and non-consumable in-app purchases, allowing all members of a family group to enjoy the benefits of these features.

You can now enable Family Sharing for auto-renewable subscriptions and non-consumable in-app purchases, allowing users to share their purchases with up to five family members. Family Sharing provides a streamlined, convenient user experience and can help you attract subscribers, encourage paid subscriptions, increase user engagement, and improve retention. Sales and Trends reports will be updated soon to help you understand the performance of family subscriptions.

Non-consumable in-app purchases include in-app purchases that unlock app features rather than those that use coins or other currency to purchase expendable in-app or in-game items.

Apple first announced these subscription and in-app purchase sharing options in June, and said that the functionality would come in iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS Big Sur.

Developers can choose to implement Family Sharing for in-app purchases or subscriptions or can opt to require each member of the family to subscribe separately or make separate purchases.

Prior to now, if one member of a family purchased an app that included a subscription benefit or an app feature that was unlocked via an in-app purchase, there was no built-in way for those features to be shared with other family members.

The Settings section of the ‌App Store‌ now has a "Share New Subscriptions" feature that's enabled automatically for people who use Family Sharing. To access in-app purchases from an app purchased by another family member, the app should be downloaded from the family member's purchased history. These features will only be available for apps where developers have enabled Family Sharing functionality.

Top Rated Comments

edwrap Avatar
19 weeks ago
FYI - For free apps with IAP unlocks (like Infuse), you‘ll need to download the free app from the family purchases list of the user that bought the IAP.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bigboy29 Avatar
19 weeks ago
If I understand this correctly, what Apple enabled by default is that you share subscriptions with family.... but developers still need to enable this sharing in their apps. In other words - if developers would rather not share subscriptions with family, they do not need to implement this sharing, and the fact that it is enabled in App sore will not matter.

Great that this is becoming a possibility, though, but I wonder how many will go for it.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0815 Avatar
19 weeks ago
Thats great news ... And seems to be enabled by default, at least it was for me
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Santiago Avatar
19 weeks ago

While Apple calls them "NON-Consumable" In-App Purchases (IAPs), I believe a better label would have been "One-Time-Purchase," OR simply combine the two like this:

... NON-Consumable (i.e., One-Time-Purchase) ...
I wish Apple made a bigger distinction between these two on the App Store, like they do with free vs paid. I'm fine with one-time-purchases for content, but want nothing to do with apps full of consumable purchases. Right now, you're stuck with having to scroll down to In-App Purchases and see what's listed there.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclo Avatar
19 weeks ago

FYI - For free apps with IAP unlocks (like Infuse), you‘ll need to download the free app from the family purchases list of the user that bought the IAP.
Thanks for the tip. Added that info to the article too.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DarthDale Avatar
19 weeks ago

If I understand this correctly, what Apple enabled by default is that you share subscriptions with family.... but developers still need to enable this sharing in their apps. In other words - if developers would rather not share subscriptions with family, they do not need to implement this sharing, and the fact that it is enabled in App sore will not matter.

Great that this is becoming a possibility, though, but I wonder how many will go for it.
I’m am doubtful ? developers will do this. What is the incentive? Once Apple stated the IAP process and it was not available to the family share I stopped buying anything that had an IAP subscription and looked for alternate products.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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