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How Do You Set Up iCloud for a Family?

While this is a bit of specific case, I do know plenty of people besides myself who are using a single Apple ID to share apps between several devices. This capability, along with the inexpensive and contract-free iPod Touch, is one of the big attractions of the Apple ecosystem for families. I have an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2, my wife has a 3GS, and my two boys each have an iPod Touch. We also have an Apple TV in the house now, and when I upgrade the 4S in a month (I hate you AT&T), my wife will inherit my iPhone 4 and my 5 year old daughter will take her 3GS to use without the SIM as an iPod. Thanks to the ability to share my original Apple ID, we’ve been able to save a lot of money in apps and music over time. The Apple ecosystem makes perfect sense for a family like us, and I know many others who are doing the same things with several Apple devices in their households.

As great a fit as the Apple ecosystem has been, it can also be a real hassle trying to keep all of those devices upgraded, backed up, and synced with 2 different computers in our house. This is one of the reasons that I was so excited when I heard Steve Jobs describe what iCloud would offer when it arrived. It was instantly going to do away with all that complication, and allow each of us to manage and backup our devices without going to a specific computer.

However, questions that were not answered in the general descriptions of Mr Jobs’ keynote soon arose after I started using the iOS 5 beta on mine and my wife’s iPhones. If we only had one Apple ID, and our iCloud account was linked to it, how were we supposed to independently synchronize our devices? And this was with only two devices in our house running the beta. We would eventually be adding four more when iOS 5 was released. How the heck was this going to work?

Unfortunately, Apple was not giving away any specific answers to this and many other specific questions during the beta. I dug through the Apple forums and did several Google searches, but most of the discussions that I came across centered on the exact opposite problem- people who had multiple Apple IDs and MobileMe account who would no longer be able to use them all one a single device. Even when I came across discussions of this issue, there weren’t any solid answers.

This put a damper on my enthusiasm for iCloud, as my wife and I would now have to pick and choose who got to use what sync features. I already had an established document workflow with Docs To Go and Dropbox, and we have an Exchange server at my office, so all of my Calendar, Contacts, Mail, and Notes are already backed up. My wife took these features in iCloud. However, I really needed a way to sync Safari bookmarks between my iPhone and iPad, so I had to take that. It wasn’t an issue having all of our content combined in Photo Stream, and iCloud never had any trouble keeping our backups separated and easy to manage. But the sync issues were definitely a concern going forward.

Finally, last weekend I tried my search again and finally stumbled upon some answers. Apple recently released a support article that describes some of these policies and processes. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t cover our one Apple ID for a group scenario. Apple certainly hasn’t made the setup process straightforward or described it in great detail, but thankfully, they have given users the ability to either set up separate iCloud accounts, or, even better for families, “sub-accounts” in iCloud that are tied to the master Apple ID iCloud account.

When you set up your first iCloud account, it automatically uses the email address of the Apple ID that you are logged into your device with. I think that this is where a lot of the confusion comes in. Your Apple ID and iCloud accounts are NOT inseparably linked. Apple never has made this distinction completely clear. Even worse, during the setup process I will take you through in a moment, they are referred to as Apple IDs. I guess they can be used as Apple IDs, but they don’t HAVE to be, and that is an important distinction.

So, here is the solution that I found to get iCloud working for my family. This process may change in the future now that iCloud is in the wild, but for now, the setup of “sub-accounts” currently takes place on your device. First of all, you need to make sure that the device you are using is currently set up with the Apple ID that you plan to use going forward. Remember that, starting in iOS 5, once you sign into the Store or iTunes with an Apple ID, you are going to be tied to it for 90 days. You can no longer switch back and forth and apps and music from different accounts. Also, you need to designate which device or devices are going to exclusively use the master iCloud account that is directly tied to your Apple ID. You will not need to perform the procedure detailed below on those devices.

Before you start the account setup process, go to the iCloud tab in your Settings app. If anything except Photo Stream, Documents & Data, and Find My iPhone are selected, turn them off.

Once you’re ready, go to the Settings app on your device, and then to Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

Now you want tap Add Account. You’ll notice that your choices now include iCloud. This is what you want to choose.

Next, Tap the Get a Free Apple ID tab at the bottom of the screen. Don’t worry. You aren’t replacing the Apple ID you purchase with. This will not change anything to do with your App Store or iTunes account. This will be a new iCloud account with an @me email address. Again, Apple could have made this process more intuitive.

After selecting you country, and entering your date of birth, you will finally be ready to set up your new iCloud sub-account. Note that you will also get a free @me email address as part of this process. Choose “Get a Free @me Email Address” to set up your new account.

Once you are finished, you will have your new iCloud sub-account. When selected from within Main, Contacts, Calendar, your account edit page will look strikingly similar to what you see when you go to your main iCloud settings.

Now, you’ll want to turn on any of the features that you want to be synced to iCloud. Only devices tied to this iCloud ID will sync here. There will not be any conflicts with the main iCloud account user’s data. As for my household, I have already set up an account for my wife, and I will probably get one for my oldest son, as well. My little ones don’t use email, contact, or calendar, and Safari is turned off in the parental controls on their devices, so they really don’t need separate accounts yet. At least the option will be there when they are ready. All of these accounts are working as intended thusfar.

So that’s the good news. However, you may notice that there are no options for Photo Stream, Documents & Data, or Backup here.

That’s because Apple has restricted those features to the main Apple ID account. Thankfully, this isn’t a problem for the most part. If you go to the iCloud tab in Settings, you will see that it is still active, and is still pointed to the master account, not your new sub-account. That is why you needed to turn off all of the sync features before you set up your new account.

So let’s go through how the iCloud accounts interact. First, you actually have the option to do Find My iPhone through either account. For the sake of organization, I would suggest that you leave this enabled under the master account, so you don’t have to log in multiple times to track down your devices.

As for Photo Stream, it really depends on what kinds of pictures you take, and how you want to access them. My wife and son and I will all be using it, and it will work fine like that for us. They will have to put up with the occasional work photos and review screenshots, but it is worth the hassle to be able to freely share pictures among ourselves. However, it would be nice to see the ability to remove unwanted pictures from the Stream, directly from your device. You can reset the entire stream from settings, but that is like using a sledgehammer instead of a scalpel. I think that would definitely broaden Photo Stream’s appeal in the eyes of some early critics.

As for device backups, they will work as described by Steve Jobs in his last keynote.

As long as your device has backup enabled under the master account in the iCloud tab of Settings, your device should automatically attempt to backup once per day when it is plugged in and logged onto WiFi with Internet access. You can also initiate a manual backup at any time from the Storage and Backup tab at the bottom of the iCloud settings page.

There is, however, one small caveat to mention in regards to backups that ties into the next topic. Apple has given us the ability to manage our iCloud backups in great detail.

You can readily see exactly how much of your free 5GB (or more, if you choose to upgrade) you are using, and exactly what apps are using it. This is a very useful addition that gives users a lot of control over their data and is extremely easy to use. However, while you can turn apps on and off here, you do not have the ability to restore the data from a single app. Device restores are still one size fits all, which seems very arbitrary and limiting, considering the amount of control Apple has given us over all other aspects of the feature.

I noticed this limitation recently when I had to reset my wife’s iPhone 3GS because of a problem related to data corruption. Unfortunately, because of that, the problem was part of her backup, so a restore wouldn’t do us any good. I had to set her iPhone up as a new device. The iCloud backup of all her app data was absolutely useless in this instance, as there was no way for me to get to that data without doing a restore. It would really be of great benefit to users if Apple would add this capability in the future. What good is a backup if you can’t use it when and how you need it?

Now we get to the part where things are, well, still a little cloudy. (Sorry. I couldn’t resist.) How will the Documents & Data synchronization work if multiple users are tied to it? I don’t think document sharing among multiple users would be the end of the world. It might add clutter to have my work stuff and my wife’s personal docs all in one location, but I’m sure it could work if we need it to. Since I am already using an alternative method, she probably won’t have to worry about me cluttering up her document collection, anyway.

While mass document syncing may be a hassle, at least we have a pretty clear picture of how it will work. We still don’t have a definitive answer on how the Data portion of this equation lines up, though. If multiple users under the same master iCloud account have this feature turned on, what will happen if they all have and use the same app? Will we constantly be overwriting each other’s game and app saves? That would absolutely suck. Is the implementation of this feature going to be left up to individual developers? If so, that could make things even worse because of the inherent lack of consistency from app to app.

According to all of the descriptions that I have read of how data sync will work, it looks like it was really geared toward an individual user with multiple devices that they want to keep in perfect sync. So, for me personally with an iPhone and iPad with several apps that I use on both, the data sync is going to be perfect. However, for the purpose of this discussion, it is a bit of a detriment that Apple isn’t giving us the flexibility to allow Document & Data sync under each iCloud sub-account.

There is another potential solution to this issue, but it will unfortunately has tradeoffs of its own. It appears that every Apple device owner has the ability to set up an individual iCloud account with the standard 5 GB of free storage, regardless of their Apple ID. So, you don’t have to set up an iCloud sub-account under a master. If you prefer, each user can have their own, individual account.

If you have already set up iCloud using your Apple ID (which is the default), then you will need to go into the iCloud settings and Delete the Account. Don’t worry, as this only deletes the iCloud account from this device.

You will also be prompted as to whether you want to keep your current data, or delete it.

Once this is done, go into the iCloud settings again. If you have already set up a sub-account, simply use that account information here. If not, then just follow the prompts to set up a new iCloud account from scratch. Now, you will have all off the services available to you, including a new Photo Stream, separate Documents and Data sync, and separate Backup. You also get a full 5 GB of storage for your new account.

Unfortunately, doing this will split up your Photo Stream, which sort of defeats the purpose of it for family use. Also, you will no longer have the option to view all of your devices at one time in Find My iPhone. Instead, you will have to remember each login and view them all separately. However, if you really need Documents & Data sync for more than one member of your household, then this is they only way to do it.

(Update: It seems that there is also another alternative iCloud setup that you can use for a family. Check the comment from Mu’aawiyah Tucker below for, what is essentially the opposite of the setup that I am using. He has a shared sub-account, with Calendar and Contacts synced and Find My iPhone shared, and then individual master iCloud accounts with their own Document Sync, Backup, and Photo Streams.  If you need Document & Data sync for each user, but don’t care about Photo Stream, then this is the setup for you. Thanks to Mr Tucker for sharing this alternate solution!)

There is also what looks to be a bug in the initial roll out of iCloud that bears mentioning here. As I stated earlier, each iCloud account comes with a free @me email address. However, while some users have reported that devices tied to an individual or master iCloud account automatically get access to their new email account in the Mail app, many others like myself do not. To get around this bug, I tried to go through the same setup procedure as described earlier to set up a sub account. However, instead of setting up a new ID, I tried entering my existing iCloud ID. Unfortunately, this brings up the following error message.

So, if for whatever reason, your iCloud email doesn’t show up automatically, how are you supposed to get access to your shiny, new email address? Fortunately, there is a work-around for this issue until Apple releases an update that will squash this bug. Go to your Mail, Contacts, Calendar settings, tap Add Account, choose Other, and then Add Mail Account.

Now, you can set up a basic IMAP email account.

Enter your name and @me account information here.

Now, you will need to enter the Incoming and Outgoing Server information.

Incoming Mail Server:
Host Name: p02-imap.mail.me.com
User Name: (Your full email address, including @me)
Password: (Your iCloud account password)

Outgoing Mail Server:
Host Name: smtp.me.com
User Name: (Your full email address, including @me)
Password: (Your iCloud account password)

This certainly isn’t the polished user experience that we expect from Apple, but at least this work-around will allow you to view your new @me account on your device. Apple doesn’t allow iOS devices access to the same iCloud web services that computer Internet browsers get (another curious decision), so this is the only way to check to your email on your device if it doesn’t automatically appear under accounts. Thankfully, since setting up sub-accounts is done in the Mail, Contact, Calendar account settings, they don’t seem to suffer from this bug. I have set up 3 now, and have not seen any issues with email not showing up properly for them.

So, as I said before, Apple has given us a way to keep using a single Apple ID for multiple users and devices. The setup may not be very intuitive, or the instructions very clear, but the mechanism is there, and it does work. It does seem like each feature was created in a vacuum, having its own strengths and specific purposes. Unfortunately, because of this, it seems that using certain features as they were intended can prevent you from using others. For example, if you want all of your family on Photo Stream, forget about everyone being able to use Documents & Data and vice versa.

Understand that I’m not trying to be too hard on Apple, here. iCloud is a brand new service, and is part of a very ambitious software release, in conjunction with both iOS 5 and iTunes Match. Hopefully Apple will take the time to clean things up a bit in future updates so the setup process is less confusing and some of the features will work together to their fullest extent for more than just individual users. However, just having the capability to manage a household full of devices without shuffling between computers is definitely worth the effort. Combine iCloud’s new goodies with iTunes Match, and you have a killer combination that puts all the power to manage your iOS apps, data, and muic in the palm of your hand, which is exactly where it belongs.

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  • Jared

    Great Article!! thanks for all the hard work.

    • jhrogersii

      Thanks Jared!

  • Ryan Todd

    Great write-up! I just upgraded to iOS5 today. So far no problems, but I have a few complaints. Your article addresses sharing apps across multiple devices. But I have a different issue. My girlfriend an I share an Address Book, iCal (not just calendars, but all of iCal), and Notes. I want to be able to sync those features without sharing the rest of the features of iCloud. In other words, I don’t want her apps, and in return, she doesn’t want mine. What we both want is information sharing. iCloud doesn’t seem to offer this for the family or the couple. I don’t know if a “sub-account” will resolve this issue.

    What I would like is to be able to have is two master accounts, or just multiple accounts. Then, for each account, the ability to choose what information you want from a particular cloud.

    It seems easy enough.

    Any thoughts?


    • jhrogersii

      Hey Ryan. Thanks for reading. As for your question, an iCloud sub-account should work fine for you. From what I can tell, if you already have iCloud set up on each phone, then you could either set up a new master account to share, or pick one of your iCloud accounts to use as the master, and set it up under the main iCloud account in settings on all of your devices. This will allow your devices to share Cal, Contacts, and Notes like you want. One of you can then use the master account for the rest of their needs, while the other goes through the setup I laid out to make a sub-account using their former iCloud master account. That, or both of you can use your former iCloud accounts as sub-accounts if you go with a new shared master. The choice is yours.

      There are some caveats here, though. If the two of you want to use Document & Data sync or do backups, they will have to be shared under the master account. If that is ok with the two of you, then this should work. Also, I’m not completely sure how smoothly you Calendar, Contact, and Notes info will migrate across when you make this switch. When you delete your master account, you have the option to keep the data on your device. This should allow you to migrate it after you enter the new master account, but I’ve never tried this, so I’m just not sure. Be sure to get a good backup and sync before you attempt this! If you do it, let us all know how it goes. Good luck.

      • jhrogersii

        Oh, and I forgot to mention that none of this will affect the separate Apple IDs that you use to purchase apps and/or music. The two logins are completely separate, so one should not affect the other, even if the new iCloud master account matches the Apple ID that the other of you buys stuff with.

        As I said in the article, Apple need to be more clear about this distinction in their general descriptions of iCloud, rather than burying this information in support articles.

      • jhrogersii

        After some more thought, and thanks to Mu’aawiyah Tucker post also here in the comments, it seems that the opposite setup from my original suggestion should also work for you, as well. In fact, it might work a lot better. You can use a shared sub-account to sync your Contact, Calendar, and Notes, and leave your current individual master accounts as they are now. This is going to be a better solution for you if a shared Photo Stream is not important, as you will each be able to have separate Documents & Data sync and 5 GB of storage, but still be able to use Find My iPhone jointly.

        Just be sure to turn off your Calendar, Contacts, and Notes in your master accounts before you add the new, shared sub-account. When it prompts you about keeping or deleting your data, keep it, and it should then be merged together under your new sub-account once it is set up. Again, just be sure to backup both devices before you do anything. Good luck.

      • Ryan Todd

        So far our system has been a success. One major problem. We both use iChat, and we noticed that our iChat window has only one of our names as the user. The problem is with the Address Book we both share in our “sub-account”. I noticed that Address Book changes the card of the User each time I change it on either laptop. If I change it on my girlfriends computer (so her info says “Me”), it changes my name to her name in my iChat window. When I correct it on my laptop (have my card info say “Me”), it changes her iChat to my name.


        I can’t figure out a solution.

        Any advice?

        • jhrogersii

          I’m not a Mac user, so I am not familiar with iChat. Are there any Mac users who can shed light on this issue?

  • Pingback: How Do You Set Up iCloud for a Family? – iSource | Mobile News World Magazine()

  • Thank you for the effort you went to produce this beneficial article. I also had big issues with how it would sync, as before with MobileMe we had a unified contacts list, and calendar. That was my main concern, as I did not want anyone in our family to have separate address books.

    However, we eventually found an easy solution. We have 4 iOS devices, two that are mine and the other two are for two of our family members. So with my two devices, its simple, I use my first Apple ID for App purchases, and another (a second) Apple ID for my iCloud settings (as it was converted from MobileMe). I use my first Apple ID for App purchases for All 4 devices and log in with that on the ‘Store’ in settings. Just change all of them on all devices to that, so we don’t have to ‘re-purchase’ apps on every single device. And after that every individual has their own Apple ID for iCloud. When it comes to the calendar, address book and ‘Find my iPhone’, I turned the other two’s iCloud address book, calendar and ‘Find my iPhone’ off, and added onto their devices my iCloud account as a secondary login found in ‘Mail, Contacts, Calendars’ and turned the address book and calendar settings on. I also turn their ‘find my iPhone’ on, and it seems to work with one login when I use it.

    So the end results is:
    One unified Apple ID for App purchase,
    One Apple ID for my own iCloud account,
    Two Apple ID’s for the other two members of my family,
    Whatever I want everyone to share, I turn off on their main iCloud log in and turn it on using mine, so that would be address book, calendar and ‘find my iPhone’.

    We don’t have shared photo stream, and documents in the cloud. The main reason is that I don’t share any documents or photos with them. Any pictures I need to share with them, I send via iMessage.

    I guess the above solution is mainly for those who want to share ‘Photo stream’ and ‘Documents & Data’. If they don’t, then I don’t see a problem in every individual having independent iCloud accounts as their main login, and whatever they want to share, add it as a secondary account.

    Thank you for the above, it was very beneficial.

    Lets not forget the ‘find my friend’ app that could solve some issues with shared locations.

    • jhrogersii

      Wow. Thanks for the great reply. It sounds like you are doing the exact opposite of what I did in my setup. I have to be honest that it didn’t occur to me to try this method, but it sounds like a better alternative for those who don’t care about having a shared Photo Stream. It’s nice to have confirmation of another alternative. Thank you very much for sharing it here.

      If you don’t mind, I am actually going to edit my article to include a note to check out your comment here for this alternative setup(with credit given to you as the source, of course).

      I will probably stick with my current setup for now, as my family really likes having Photo Stream. I know that there are plenty of other methods for sharing photos, but none are anywhere close to as easy as Apple’s. This is especially true with an Apple TV.

      However, after thinking about your method of setup, I would love to see Apple change course in the future. I now think it would be preferable to see Apple position Photo Stream more like Find My Friends. Rather than tying us to a master iCloud account, wouldn’t it be better to let users have separate iCloud accounts, and subscribe to each other’s Photo Streams (with permission, of course)? Apple would suddenly have a pretty strong social profile with a combo of this, iMessage, and Find My Friends. It doesn’t seem like it would be much harder to implement, but they would probably have to include more management controls over what photos appear in the stream. Maybe we will get something like this in iCloud 2.0. I certainly hope so.

      Thanks again for the great post.

      • You can use anything I said, no problem friend, and there is no need for any ‘reference’, there is no royalties here, lol

        As for the idea of sharing photos and allowing others to subscribe to people albums etc, they had that with MobileMe, and that got canned. On MobileMe, there was the ability to upload albums, and then share them via multiple means and permissions. You can even integrate it into your website like I did here:
        It flicks between pictures and I can add or delete pictures without even editing any HTML. MobileMe was very powerful, and in many ways, iCloud is a scaled down version. You could even had uploaded video. Photo Stream is a re-think of the original idea and a re-branding/re-packaging of something that was already there.
        Photo Stream is simply a method of syncing your pictures between devices, not to share them. I think if that allow your pictures to be shared again like they did before, that will be much appreciated. I often have to resort to iMessage to share photos or wait until my wife uploads it to iPhoto. Tim Cook did say that if enough people demand old features that they will bring them back…So I guess you guys could rally up a campaign.

        Your method works with best for those who want to share docs and photos, otherwise, everyone can have their own account. You have to remember that with a shared master ID, you also share 5GB, rather than have your own 5GB each. This is not a real issue unless you both backup in the cloud (which I don’t do, other than with the kids devices).

        With Apple TV, I’m not sure how it works as I don’t have one, but they should allow multiple logins to view multiple photo streams. That would help with families who want to share with each other what they have taken, of if relatives visit they can add their account to share their content.

  • Joey

    Thanks for a terrific write-up! It’s people like you that make the internets go ’round.

    • jhrogersii

      Thanks for your kind words, Joey, and thanks for reading.

  • This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much for your research and explanation!

    • jhrogersii

      Your welcomed, Kelly. No problem, and thanks for reading.

  • GraysonIP

    Thanks for the thorough article.

    Last week I set up my, and my daughter’s, respective iPhones with ios 5. However, I had not created an iCloud account for her at the time that I went through that set-up process on my daugter’s phone. Now, I can’t find a way to change her iCloud account to be different than my Apple ID. Do you know of any way (post set-up when ios 5 was initiated) to change the Apple ID that’s used on iCloud for my daughter’s phone?

    Thanks so much!

    • jhrogersii

      You can delete the master account from the iCloud settings page. Then just create a new one or replace it with another one. Just opt to keep the data on your device, rather than delete it, when prompted. Then your existing data should sync over to your new account.

      • GraysonIP

        Forgive me, but when I go to the settings page for iCloud, there is no option to delete. So, how would I got about employing the advice that you’ve provided above?

        • jhrogersii

          Go to Settings- iCloud. At the bottom of the screen, below the Backup settings, is a Delete Account button.

  • GraysonIP

    Actually, one more question. I was eagerly anticipating the option to organize my photo albums from my phone with the ios 5 update. However, it appears that one cannot move photos in existing photo albums which are synced to the computer. Instead, we can only move photos in albums which are created directly on the iphone. Bummer!!!

    As far as I can tell, it appears that in order to be able to move photos the way I’d envisioned, I’d have to replicate the albums that I have synced to my computer as new albums on the iPhone. Does this seem accurate to you? Do you know of any other work around?


  • jhrogersii

    I’ll be honest. I haven’t played around with the new photo features too much. I tend to clear them off device to cloud storage to save room.

    • GraysonIP

      Thanks so much for your quick replies. I very much appreciate your input, and I’ll try the remedy that you suggest relating to iCloud. Best!

  • Julie Lee

    Thank you for writing this very helpful article, although my head is still spinning from trying to figure this all out.

    I had a question – my husband and I both have iPhones and share an iPad. We rarely use it for e-mail since we share it and never set up any e-mail accounts. However, as you suggested in the article, I set up an iCloud account for our shared iPad. I noticed that the me.com address from the iCloud account is also a working e-mail address that I can send and receive mail from. Can I use that as our iMessage account too? And if so, do you know how to access a me.com e-mail account from a web browser? Because I set up a gmail account to use for iMessage and now that seems redundant. Thank you!

    • Julie Lee

      Okay, I guess I can’t use the me.com e-mail address for messaging since it says that it is already in use. Duh! Turns out I am using my apple ID for iTunes purchases for all of our devices and for the main iCloud setup, all of our devices have a me.com address also (I added my husband’s and the iPad’s by setting up a new iCloud account in Mail settings). Somehow my me.com address is just set up under my Apple ID. So if you go to my husband’s or the iPad’s mail accounts, the have an iCloud account AND a me.com account, but mine only has the iCloud account. Lastly my husband uses his own Apple ID for FaceTime and Find My Friend. There MUST be an easier way?!? Any suggestions would be welcome!

      • jhrogersii

        Ok, I’m trying to follow what you want Julie, but I’m still a little unsure. It sounds like you have a setup that will work, with separate iCloud accounts for yourself and your husband. It should be fine for you to use your iCloud acount for iMessage, as long as it isn’t also assigned to your husband. I had that problem this weken, as I set up my older son with his unique address under iMessage, but not his younger brother. When my younger son discovered iMessage, he was sending messages to me under my own email address, so i was getting both the sent message, and then the recieved one, as well.

        If you are having this issue, it is easy to fix. Just go to Messages in Settings, and tap the Recieve At field. Then tap the Apple ID field, and choose Sign Out. Then you can sign in using another valid email associated wth an Apple ID or iCloud ID. If your husband does this, then you two will be able to message each other under separate addresses. Also, if you would prefer to use an address other than your @me address, just use this same method to change it.

        As for web access, just go to http://www.icloud.com from a PC or MAC, and log in there with your iCloud account. You can see your email, calendar, contacts, and iWork documents if you use the Apple document apps. You can also access Find My iPhone from here. Unfortunately, this only works from a computer. Apple does not allow any mobile browsers that I am aware of to access the iCloud web portal. On an iOS device, you will get links to some apps, like Find My Friends, and Find My iPhone.

        Here’s a question. Can you see your @me account, which I am assuming is the master account that shows up under the main iCloud tab in Settings, under your email accounts? I can’t on my device, so I gave some steps in my article to get set this email address up as a standard IMAP account so you can see your mail on an iOS device. You can follow those instructions to get your @me email if you can’t currently see it.

        Did this help at all? If not, feel free to post any further questions that you may have. I will be happy to try and help. Good luck, and hope you and your husband get things set up to your liking.

        • Julie Lee

          Thanks so much for getting back to me! This has all been so helpful. And sorry if I am being confusing; I am not sure I know exactly what I want yet either!

          So to answer your question, I could see my iCloud account under my e-mail accounts, but it was named “iCloud,” whereas all of my other e-mail accounts are named by the e-mail address. If I set it up as an IMAP how you described it will I then have “iCloud” AND “name@me.com” in my e-mail list?

          The issue that I have is that I want to use the me.com address that is linked with my master account as the sub-account address, but it won’t let me since it is already linked with my master account. So I ended up creating a new me.com address but I like the address of the one associated with the master account better. Do you know what the pros and cons of using a master account me.com address vs. a sub account me.com address, if you are the primary Apple ID holder?

          Thanks again,

  • Cheryl

    Love all the hints/help here…yet,I am still ever so confused. We have five devices all tied to one Apple ID (gmail) and have individual .me addresses prior to all the updates. Somehow, my Cloud is tied to my gmail not to my old .me address. I am the first and only to update as I have told rest of family to “hang on”. What do I need to do? Start all over….yikes! Anyone willing to share a bit of “love”? Thanks in advance…

    • jhrogersii

      Here are some links for help with your account migration from MobileMe to iCloud.




      If you just want to use your current MobileMe address as your primary iCloud account, that shouldn’t be an issue. After you migrate your MobileMe account, you will want to delete your current iCloud master account from the iCloud heading in Settings on your iOS device. Just be sure to select the option to keep your content on the device, rather than delete it, when prompted during the deletion. Then, you will go back into the iCloud settings and enter your now-migrated @me address for your new account, and set it up. After this account is set, you can decide what to do for your family’s devices using the steps I laid out in the article.

      Remember, even though they may be using the same email address, this will have no effect on your Apple ID for Store and iTunes purchases. They are separate.

      Good luck, and feel free to ask more questions if you have any trouble.

  • Cheryl

    I apologize…I guess my main question at this point is how do we use or can we use our old .me addresses? It seems, after reading all this again, we are set up okay or will be? Again, thanks!

    • jhrogersii

      No worries. I just responded above if you want to migrate your address. If you don’t, then your current setup will work just fine. You can always migrate your MobileMe address and just set it up as an iCloud sub account with the description I gave in the article.

      However, if you do want your old address to be the master account, now is the time to make the change. You don’t want to get too far down the road, and have to migrate everyone’s devices, not just yours.

  • Cheryl

    You rock! So, if we all migrate or even if I keep my gmail as master and they migrate then we will not have sync issues? The last thing I want is my son’s “garbage”…again, thanks,

    • jhrogersii

      Yes. You can use any of the three scenarios laid out in my article. You can all have completely separate iCloud accounts and share nothing, have individual master accounts with a share sub-account (Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Notes, or Find My iPhone), or a shared master account, with separate sub-accounts. The decision centers around three things.

      1. Is storage an issue, and you don’t want to pay for more? If so, separate accounts, or separate master accounts each get their own 5GBs. A shared master account shares 5GBs with all users.

      2. Do you want to share photos with Photo Stream? The only way to do this is with a shared master account.

      3. Do you want separate Documents & Data sync? The only way to pull this off is to have separate accounts, or separate master accounts. You can’t have individual Documents & Data sync, and group Photo Stream at the same time in Apple’s current setup.

      Hope this clears it up.

  • Marisa

    Your article and all the relevant comments are what I wish Apple would have started with in the beginning!

    I have a similar situation to Julie–two iPhones, one iPad. Forgive me up front, because I am the least familar with the technology of the two of us. Up until now, I’ve always used my husband’s iTunes login info. Now that we updated to ios5, we each have each other’s contacts, he has to sort through my overbooked calendar, every device is reminded of every event, etc. We were intrigued by the idea of having a “family” calendar and the ability to share photos, but it seems as if we’ve just created one big mess. Any tips or suggestions on the best “fix”? Thanks so much!

  • Marisa

    Your article and all the relevant comments are what I wish Apple would have started with in the beginning!

    I have a similar situation to Julie–two iPhones, one iPad. Forgive me up front, because I am the least familar with the technology of the two of us. Up until now, I’ve always used my husband’s iTunes login info. Now that we updated to ios5, we each have each other’s contacts, he has to sort through my overbooked calendar, every device is reminded of every event, etc. We like having access to the same purchased music and apps and were intrigued by the idea of having a “family” calendar and the ability to share photos, but it seems as if we’ve just created one big mess. Any tips or suggestions on the best “fix”? Thanks so much!

  • jhrogersii

    Unfortunately, now that you data is merged, all cleanup on both sides will have to be done manually. Apple, again, should have spelled out more clearly what the implications of “sharing” your Contacts and Calendar are. This feature is meant to be used to keep one user in sync across multiple devices more than anything else. It isn’t the same as having a single shared Calendar in iCal, Exchange, or Google Calendar. They really should have spelled out the distinction.

    Now, you do have the ability to turn off the visibility of certain calendars, both in the iCloud web version, and on the device. So, you could keep all of the information merged, and just segregate it into calendars for him, others for you, and then one or more shared calendars. Then, you would both have all of the data, but you wouldn’t have to see it all of the time. You’ll still have to “touch” all of your appointments to get theings organized, but it would allow you to share in an organized way.

    As for Contacts, Notes, and Bookmarks, I don’t think there is any way to easily share those without a big mess. You will need to have separate master accounts or separate sub-accounts to have your own unique Contacts, Notes, and Bookmarks synced.

    Does this help?

  • Cynthia Brown

    Great article, best help I have found so far. Can I have a shared apple ID for music and apps, then 2 separate iCloud accounts for iTunes syncing as well as contacts, calendar, etc?

    • jhrogersii

      Yes, you can. You have 3 options

      1. Completely separate iCloud accounts.
      2. A shared master account for Photo Sync and to keep your backups together and separate sub-accounts for personal Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Notes, and Bookmarks.
      3. Separate master accounts, which allows for separate Documents & Data sync, and a shared sub-account. The shared sub-account will let you have a single Find My iPhone account.

      There is a lot of flexibility here, but there are trade-offs with each setup.

      • Julie Lee

        Two questions (for now):

        1. What is the difference between Options 1 and 3 besides the shared sub-account? Is an iCloud account the same as a master account?
        2. If I set it up as option 2, can I switch it to option 3 or do I need to sign up for completely brand new me.com accounts?

        • jhrogersii

          The master account is the one that shows up under the main iCloud tab in Settings. Sub-accounts (as I have called them, not an official Apple term) are additional ones set up under Main, Contacts, Calendar. They are subordinate to the master account, and do not have all of the master’s features available.

          As for the difference between scenarios 1 and 3, in 1, you have two completely separate accounts that have no connection to each other. No data is share between them. Each user gets their own Photo Stream, Documents & Data Sync, Backup, and 5 GB of storage. In scenario 3, you get the benefits of scenario 1, with a more limited set of shared data through a shared sub-account. Through that account, you can share Mail, Contact, Calendar, Notes, Bookmarks, and Find My iPhone. You cannot share Photo Stream, Documents & Data, or Backup devices all in one location.

          Yes, you can switch the accounts around. You will have to delete both from their locations on your device, and then switch them. Just be sure to keep your data when prompted during the deletion process. I have confirmed that this works in my testing.

  • jdsmith14

    My wife, my daughter and I each use apple devices with ONE iTunes account, which happens to be associated with my @yahoo.com email. We buy an app/song once and everyone can get it on their device. We had iOS5 on two iPhones but didn’t setup iCloud at first. My wife’s phone was the first device to get set it up. So, we created it on her phone with a username that was similar to her @yahoo.com email account. No problem creating it. Great.

    Then on my phone, I go to setup iCloud too. Quickly realized that using the same information from her phone, both of us now have the SAME new email address @me.com – and it was really created as her email. I say to myself, “how do I get my own @me.com account?”

    Then I do some searching and I find this site and use my iPhone to set up a new Free AppleID as described and I obtain my own “mobile me” account. It did what it advertised, it gave me a brand new AppleID which came with a new mobile me email. I setup email on my phone, and I thought all was well again.

    The hitch is, my @me.com account isn’t linked in any way to our original AppleID! My wife’s @me.com account is! When you log into appleid.apple.com and manager your primary iTunes account – the <> created iCloud account became the @me.com Alternate Email address AND IS LINKED TO THE MASTER iTunes account for the family, any additional @me.com accounts you create are brand new AppleIDs.

    Basically I have the same problem as GraysonIP “Now, I can’t find a way to change her iCloud account to be different than my Apple ID.” The initial creation of an iCloud account gets tied to your primary iTunes account somehow. Its like Apple forced the “recommended” setting from this support article:

    I thought I would just delete her “Alternate Email Address” and put my new @me.com account as the Alternate. Unfortunately when I tried to add the new @me.com email as an additional alternate email to my primary iTunes AppleID account (appleid.apple.com) it gave an error message like: “that email is already associated with its own AppleID.”

    You cannot simply go and delete one @me.com email and link a the new “subaccount”. The “subaccounts” which are described on this article are NOT actually “subaccounts” of anything. They are brand new AppleID accounts. Only the first one created is an actual sub account. Make sure you create it under the appropriate household member.

    Unless someone smarter than me can offer a fix…

    Perhaps its not a big deal, but if you plan to actually use the mobile me email address, you will want to set it up originally on the main account holder’s device (ie the person who controls the master iTunes account).

    • Jeff

      I am not sure I followed everything you mentioned, but I actually called Apple about an issue similar to this. If you have an @me.com account, then it is its own Apple ID and can not be included on another Apple ID. Also, you can not merge Apple ID accounts into one account (e.g. you want to combine account balances), but you can change your Apple ID to a different email address as long as it’s not an @me.com account.

    • Julie Lee

      Actually, if youset up the subaccounts the way it is described in this article (so going through the mail setting and adding a new iCloud e-mail address and NOT through the iCloud settings) then you will be setting up a subaccount on each device, and if the iCloud settings are all set up with the same account, then all of the subaccounts will be linked. My goodness, this whole thing is so confusing! Hope this helps.

    • jhrogersii

      Please remember that I am simply sharing what I have gathered from various sources to figure out how to make iCloud work for my family. I can’t say that I am an absolute authority. With that said…

      I guess we need to clarify what is happening when these accounts are created. The term sub-account is just a term that I have used, that I have also seen some other users who have commented on the subject use. This isn’t an Apple term for this process. It is a sub-account, in one respect, because it is subordinate on the device to the master account, which is defined under the main iCloud settings. This is made clear when you look at the settings for each, as the sub-account’s clearly states that Photo Stream, Documents & Data, and Backup are only available using the master account. I guess this is just semantics, but I hope no one is getting confused out there.

      Honestly, I wasn’t sure if these accounts that are added later were linked on the back-end or not, but it now looks certain that they aren’t. This actually makes sense, because I confirmed in my testing that you can take one of these accounts that you create as a sub-account in the Mail, Contacts, Calendar settings, delete your device’s master account, and then use the former sub-account in its place. This would confirm what you are saying, that each of these accounts is actually stand-alone Apple iCloud ID.

      Also to clarify, when I speak of deleting an account in this article, I am not talking about deleting an account from existence. I am simply talking about deleting it from its place on your device.

      You are also right about the first account that you set up. It will automatically use your current Apple ID, which in my case is my Gmail account, and then automatically create an @me address based on that email. Apple doesn’t spell this out when you first set everything up, so like you said, you may want to think about what you are using before you set all this up. The only way that I can think of to avoid this would be to skip the initial iCloud setup you come to when you activate a new device or upgrade an old one, and then manually add the account from the iCloud tab in Settings. This should allow you to set up your iCloud account however you wish, independent of your device’s current Apple ID. Also, if you are a MobileMe user, and you have already migrated your account(s), then you should be able to use it here. Be advised that I haven’t been able to personally this, but it should work from what we now know.

  • jdsmith14

    Looks like this article is relevant to users who create multiple iCloud/AppleID settings. Looks like only 3 can be created per device. People aren’t sure how to “delete” an AppleID once its created (along with its associated iCloud account).


  • Jeff

    Great article and feedback. It has explained a lot and part of my issue may be related to sub-accounts. You lost me in that part of the explanation. My wife and I did similar setups but it just setup a master iCloud account for both. Also, is there a way to have both of our separate Photo Streams on a singe Windows computer? Here is our setup:

    – Apple ID shared across 4 devices, but only 2 run iOS 5 (2 old 3G phones will be used as iPods). This is for iTunes and Apps.
    – We sync Mail, Contacts, and Calendars with separate accounts through Google Exchange. This has worked great for us because we can share calendars, view multiple calendars, utilize Google Apps, and access our domain this way.
    – Separate iCloud accounts for Mail (by default/not a main account), and everything except Contacts and Calendars because that is handled by Google. Running both iCloud and Google created duplicate entries.
    – Now I am trying to setup our, recently demoted, shared home computer (where our shared iTunes library is located) to iCloud for Photo Stream. We do not desire to share a Photo Stream, but my question may fall into that category. I installed iCloud Control Panel (Windows) and Photo Stream works for one account. Any way to set it up for another account? Will I need to log out and then just log in with a different account each time one of us wants to get our pictures from iCloud?


    • jhrogersii

      So you just have two separate master iCloud accounts, right? If you don’t need to share Photo Stream, then you should be fine like you are. The only benefit to adding a sub-account that the two of you could share would be to have a single account for Find My iPhone for convenience. You wouldn’t even need to create another account to do this. One of you could simply add the other’s master as a sub-account on your device, and only check Find My iPhone to use this feature.

      As for Photo Stream, Apple has made it an all or nothing affair for now. You will either have to log in and out, or use a virtual machine running on your computer with a separate install of the iCloud Control Panel to do this. If you map a location to the Host OS, then it should work without having to manually move everything.

      Hopefully, Apple will expand Photo Stream to make it more flexible in the future.

      • Jeff

        Yes, we have two separate master iCloud accounts. I am not concerned about Find My Phone. I do not mind logging in separately or using Find My Friend to achieve the same location information (minus the security aspect).
        As for Photo Stream, I am using the log in and out method. You just open the PS Control Panel, click log out, log in with the different account, select PS from the list, and within seconds the other account’s photos are in the PS folder (both accounts’ photos are combined). It works nicely, because neither of our phones has the other’s pictures unless we include it in our Upload folder while we are signed in. It’s not quite the “Apple Way”, but much better than any “Windows Way” I’ve seen. There is one issue though, I do not see a metadata field that I can sort on to differentiate between our photos…you just have to know which ones are yours.
        For those Windows users who are interested in the Control Panel, here’s the link:
        And come to think of it, we now have 15GB of storage…Apple ID account, iCloud #1 and iCloud #2. Hmmmm…

  • Nick

    Ok so this might seam similar to some of the above questions but my brother And I just reasently updated our software on our IPhone 4. When we did this we did t know to make a second sub-account under the main master iCloud account. When my iPhone was done updating I had his contacts and I erased them not knowing that my data would be the new source to back up from. When I did this my brother lost all of his contacts. Is there any way to fix this or are my brothe and I out of luck?

  • Angelo

    My wife and I have separate iCloud accounts with calendars that we share with each other. However, I don’t see any way to turn off notifications on a shared calendar. I want to see events, but not be reminded of them. Any way to do this?


  • James

    not sure if this has been asked before but, when i setup the sub icloud account it supposed to send me a verification email, but i never get it.

  • Tom

    Many thanks for the informative article. I took a 1 to 1 class today, to try to understand how my wife and I can share our account. This article provides better information than I received at the store. You Rock!

    • jhrogersii

      Wow. Thanks, Tom. Glad I could help.

  • Moris

    First of all, thank you for writing this very helpful article.

    And here come my questions: I initially set up iCloud during iOS 5 installation on my iPhone, and following the “default path” I used my “old” Apple ID (the one used with iTunes Store, App Store, etc.) as iCloud account.

    Now, before activating iCloud on my wife’s iPhone, which shares with me the same Apple ID for iTunes purchases, I would like to change my actual iCloud account following the steps you suggested and create a new one to use specifically with iCloud and iMessages. But before proceeding I have two questions:

    1. does the new iClod account become a “master account” with all the features and services available (as Documents and Data, Photo Stream, etc.), or is it a “subaccount” with limited functions ?

    2. during the initial iCloud setup I was asked to add a free @me email address, and so I did. I suppose that the the new account setup will require a similar address: can I reuse the same @me.com address or have I to create a new one ?

    Thanks in advance!

    • jhrogersii

      Each iCloud account gets its own @me address. Because I followed all of the prompts when I installed the first iOS 5 beta that had iCloud enabled (I don’t remember which one it was), I ended up with my current Apple ID’s user name as my master iCloud user id and @me account heading. Fortunately, that is fine with me. However, it would have been helpful if Apple clarified this process a bit more. Some users, especially former MobileMe users, would probably rather go another direction here, and not create what may end up as a useless account.

      If you go through your original iOS 5 upgrade without setting up iCloud, then you can go into the iCloud heading in Settings, and put in any existing Apple ID or migrated MobileMe account that you choose in this position.

  • Margaret Hedstrom

    This article has been very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to share.

    I haven’t yet made the changes I am planning, but it seems to me that this all boils down to a few considerations. First consider what you want to share and what you need to be separate. If you need to have some things separate, you need separate iCloud accounts. Then set up the appropriate iCloud account on each device, add the shared account under Mail, Calendar, Contacts and choose what you want to share.

    One more item everyone should think about being shared or separate: iMessage. You probably want separate iCloud accounts for iMessages (or perhaps you can use another email account) because iMessages show up on every device using the same iCloud account (set in ‘Received at’).

    We have 3 devices: 2 iPhones and one iPad. I’m thinking we might set up two personal iCloud accounts for things such as mail, messages, reminders, backups, data and use the shared one for shared mail, calendar, contacts, notes. I’m hoping it will work to set iMessage up with 2 receive at emails: both our private one and our shared one. Hopefully that will let folks choose whether they want their iMessage to go to just one of us or to both of us, depending upon which email they send it to. I haven’t tried it yet, though. (I omitted photo stream from my lists because for us it will vary. One will not share them, the other will share in iPhone and iPad)

    Once set up, it should be fairly easy to change what you share and what is private by just turning the topic off where you don’t want it (keeping the data on your phone) and then turning it on where you do want it. The trick is to remember that iCloud settings are for your personal stuff and the Mail,Calendar,Contacts for your shared iCloud account is where you mark what you want shared. So you don’t need to be too concerned about whether you get it right the first time.

    • Moris

      Hi Margaret,

      you wrote: “We have 3 devices: 2 iPhones and one iPad. I’m thinking we might set up two personal iCloud accounts for things such as mail, messages, reminders, backups, data and use the shared one for shared mail, calendar, contacts, notes.”

      This is exactly our situation, and I too was thinking to have two separete iCloud accounts for “personal data” (e.g. we prefer to keep our Calendars separate), and one shared Apple account (the same already used for purchases, etc.) for all shared stuff.

      It also seems to me that to have an iClod account different from the one you use on iTunes Store is a “cleaner” solution, but this is only a my opinion.

      My only concern, the only thing which is not totally clear, is if I delete my current iCliud ID, that has been already set up as default with my “master” Apple ID, and then I create a new as for instructions above, the new account will mantain the same full functions ot the old one, like Documents & Data sync and Backup options.

      • jhrogersii

        Any account entered under the main iCloud heading in Settings will have Photi Stream, Documents & Data, and Backups available.

  • Margaret Hedstrom

    Does anyone know what happens to mail sent to a sub account in Mac Mail? With MobileMe, if you defined an alias email, mail sent to that account is merged in MacMail, so you can’t distinguish them from mail sent to the main account. If this is still true with sub accounts in iCloud, then there’s one more consideration for whether to use separate or sub accounts for non-shared stuff.

    One more item to consider: Find Friends needs the iCloud accounts for different iPhones to be different.

  • Moris

    I have another question, if someone can answer: let’s say that I delete my current iCloud ID (the one created by default with iCloud ID = master Apple ID) following the procedure describe above and I create a new iClud ID.

    If something with the new iCloud ID doesn’t work as expected, may I revert to my old iCloud ID ?

    • Jeff

      Why delete it? Just disconnect it from your device and go through the setup process again to create a new ID. If you need to, then you can go back to the old ID by changing the ID on your device.

      • Moris

        Hi Jeff,

        maybe I misundesrtood something in jhrogersii’s explanation about the need to delete an existing iCloud account (just above the 10th picture, where he says “If you have already set up iCloud using your Apple ID (which is the default), then you will need to go into the iCloud settings and Delete the Account.”

        Just to make sure I don’t make a mess, let me explain where I’m starting from and what is my goal: during iOS 5 installation I initially setup iCloud on my device following the default (Apple) path, that is, now as iCloud ID I’m using the same ID that I use for iTunes store.

        My wife’s device is setup with her own specific iCloud ID. She shares with me only the Apple ID used for purchases on the iTunes store.

        My goal now is to have a specific iCloud ID – different from the Apple ID used for purchases – to use on my devices only for iCloud syncing, iMessages and so on.

        If I understand correctly what you are saying, I should only have to logout from the current iCloud account, go through the Settings -> iCloud to setup a new iCloud ID and then login with it, without deleting anything. Is this that you mean ?


        • jhrogersii

          Hey Morris. Sorry I have been absent for a week or so. My “day job” has been absolutely killing me.

          I just wanted to clarify a bit. I used the term “delete” because that is what Apple calls it in their interface in iOS. However, you are not deleting the account. You are simply deleting it FROM YOUR DEVICE. Big difference. In fact, I don’t think Apple even provides a way for users to fully delete iCloud accounts once created. At least not yet. So, you will not be losing anything here. When prompted whether to keep or delete your data during the account deletion process, just be sure to keep it, and you will be fine. You will simply be removing one iCloud account from your device, and replacing it with another. Both accounts will still exist. When the new one is entered, if it’s data (if it is an existing account) will be merged with what is on your device.

          I have also mentioned this a couple of times in the comments, but I will touch on it again, in case you haven’t read them all. The whole master-sub account scenario that I have laid out refers only to their relationship to each other on your iOS device. None of your iCloud accounts will be linked in any way. Apple considers each one to be a separate Apple ID. They only differ in how you use them.

          The master-subordinate relationship is on the device. The master account is the one that appear under your iCloud heading in Settings, and it has all of the functions available, including Photo Stream, Documents & Data, and Backup. A sub-account is one that is entered using the Mail, Contacts, and Calendar settings, and does not have those features that I just mentioned. It is subordinate on the device.

          Hope that clears things up a little. Sorry for my delay in responding.

      • jhrogersii

        Technically, if you do this on your iOS device, Apple labels the button Delete Account. However, this only deletes the account from your device, not from existence. It is confusing, but since that is the terminology that Apple used, I used it in my article, as well.

    • jhrogersii

      Yes, you can. I did this in my testing to prove that you can swap accounts from master to subordinate on the device, and then back again. Just be careful no to delete you data when prompted, and you will be fine.

      • Moris

        Hi jhrogersii,

        thanks for all your helpful answers, and no problem for the delay 😉

        I have a last question regarding the @me.com addresses. You say: “Each iCloud account gets its own @me address.” But I don’t understand if this is “a must” or an option left to the user. I mean: what are the real advantages of using a new @me.com address if someone already has an email address available, that uses from a long time ?

        And – reading here and there – it seems to me that once you have choosen a @me.com address, this remains strictly linked to the iCloud ID, so that you can’t change it nor use for other purposes. Is that true ?

  • jhrogersii

    Unfortunately, any Apple ID that is converted, MobileMe account that is converted (which would already have an email address), or iCloud account that is newly created has an associated @me email address that matches the user name of the account. I have not seen any way around this.

    I think Apple just took the easy route here, opting for a “one size fits all” approach, rather than adding a lot of user settings. I guess this is an attempt to keep iCloud’s complexity to a minimum. It is geared toward being an easy solution for novice users, so I guess that is the reason. You don’t ever have to use these accounts, but they will be sitting there on Apple’s servers, regardless.

  • Tyler

    So if we go with the two master clouds (one on each iPhone) for storage purposes and a sub-account for the iPad we share, does the sub-account need to have the Apple ID that is tied to our single iTunes account so that we don’t have to repurchase apps and music?

  • David

    I have a pretty specific question and you seem to have all answers so far so I figured I would ask here. 🙂
    I am trying to have everything sync(calendar/photo stream/music/video/etc) between my phone and my wife’s phone(both 4s’s). So that part is easy, but I also want to use “find friends” so we can find each other. It makes me choose which phone to track.

    Any thoughts?


    • jhrogersii

      Just set up an additional iCloud account for the other device, and log into Find My Friends with it. That’s all you have to do. I just tried it between my new iPhone 4S and my wife’s iPhone 4. We share the same Apple ID and master iCloud account under that Apple ID. I just used the iCloud sub-account that I set up for her, and Find My Friends seems to be working just fine.

  • Anna

    Awesome, this was so helpful! Thank you for all your hardwork.

    • jhrogersii

      Thank you for reading, and for your kind words.

  • Scott Richardson

    Great info here. I am hoping you may be able to offer some advice on 2 things.

    1. I had a Mobile Me Family pack and had created email addresses for my children. They have never been used. I would like to use those email addresses as iCloud accounts for my kids. The issues I have are that I can’t seem to get the passwords for my kids’ @me accounts that I set up. When I go to iForgot, neither the email reminder or date of birth recovery system works. Additionally, I want THESE @me email addresses to be used as my children’s Apple ID’s. I don’t want to have to create some other email addresses like gMail etc just so they can create an apple ID/iCloud account.. which leads me to my 2nd question,

    2. How do you create an iCloud account if you don’t have an email address already and you just want to use an @me account? I was fortunate enough to have an @mac and then @me account with .mac and Mobile Me, and it has always been my Apple ID, and so became my iCloud Apple ID. I use my @me email account and that’s it. Can my children sign up to iCloud, or anyone else for that matter, using just the @me account they create in iCloud?


    • jhrogersii

      Thanks for readIng, Scott. Glad to be of help.

      On your first question, I have to admit that I’m not a MobileMe expert, so I’m not sure about your first question. From everything I have heard, you should be able to migrate any previously set up MobileMe address. I would suggest that you contact Apple support, or set an appointment at the Genius Bar if you live near an Apple Store.

      As for your second question, you should be able to set up an iCloud account using any available iCloud user name. The only limitation I am aware of is that you can only set up 3 iCloud accounts using a single iOS device. So, if for some reason your old MobileMe accounts have been purged, you can set up new iCloud accounts with @me addresses with those same user names for your kIds to use.

  • kjs

    Wow, this is all so confusing. Lots of great advice, but I am wondering if you could sum it up a bit for me. I want to share calendar, contacts, gmail, apps purchased (but not use the same apps or have my apps change when my husband changes his. The Weather app seems to be synced and we each like to look at diff locations). I want to have sep docs, photos, imessage, and sep. storage, between my husband and I.

    I want to share my iphone and ipad, but not imessage with ipad. (At first my daughter’s texts to me were showing up on all three devices so I changed to using a diff email on all our devices. Does that mean I have sub accounts?)

    Don’t want photo sharing between any.

    We sync all manually to one mac. Not sure if this is all my concern, but I’ll start here. Anyone want to give me some simples steps?

    • jhrogersii

      Hello KLS. I know what you mean. iCloud is easy to set up for one, but a giant pain when you are trying to use it for a group.

      Ok, let me again state that, although Apple calls all of these addresses Apple IDs, and truth be told, they are each full IDs. You could assign a credit card to any of them and use them to make purchases if you wished. You just don’t HAVE to do that. Because they don’t have to be used for purchasing, it is possible to set some of them for separate purposes on the same iOS device or devices. So, it sounds like you and your husband already shared an Apple ID for purchasing apps and music. Don’t worry. Just leave that like it is. Just to clarify, it is entered as the login under Store in Settings. If you don’t want to automatically have new music, apps, or books that your husband purchases downloaded to your device, then just be sure to set the three Automatic Downloads switches in the Store page to Off.

      It sounds like you wear the “Apple pants” in this family, since you are asking me the questions. Were you the first one to set up a device and set up iCloud? Has anyone else already set it up on their devices? Does your daughter also have an iOS device?

      Here is what you need to do. You need a unique master iCloud account in the iCloud heading under Settings on each iPhone. If you have already gone through the iOS 5 iCloud setup, then you should have one account based on your current Apple ID used for purchasing. For example, I use a Gmail address for my main Apple ID. The iOS 5 iCloud setup process ended up using this account to create my first iCloud account. It gave me an @me address with the same user name as my Gmail address to go with it. If I log in with either email address, it goes to the same account.

      If you have followed the default upgrade path to iOS 5, then you probably have this same account on all of your devices. What I would suggest you do is to leave this iCloud account set up on your iPhone and your iPad. You will want to turn everything on, except possibly for Photo Stream. Although, if you would like to automatically share your photos to your iPad, or to your Mac without syncing, then you may want to consider using it.

      Now, you will need a separate master iCloud account for your husband’s iPhone. You can follow the instructions in my article to create a new one, or use any other Apple ID or migrated MobileMe account that you may have. Once it is set up, he will want to turn on anything that he wants saved that isn’t being shared with your account. Now, to be able to share Calendar and Contacts, you will need to set up the iCloud account that is the master on your devices as a sub-account on his iPhone. This is done under the Mail, Contacts, Calendar tab in Settings, and is detailed in my article. Once it is set up, check Contacts and Calendar, and you will be sharing your Apple iCloud Calendar and Contacts info between your two devices. Note- I am not completely certain what will happen as far as duplication is concerned, especially if a lot of the same information already exists on both devices. Be sure to do a full backup BEFORE you do this step, just in case.

      As far as iMessage goes, it is actually completely separate from both your purchase ID, and your iCloud account. This is also the case with Game Center and FaceTime At least it can be. In your case, you should just leave the primary Apple ID and iCloud account there. You can also add other personal addresses to receive messages from, so that they will all show up in iMessage. As for your husband, you will need to have a unique email address entered here, so that he doesn’t get all of your text messages on his device. To keep things tidy, he can just use the @me address that he gets with his new master iCloud account. He should also use this for FaceTime, so that it will be separate from yours.

      As for Gmail, you just need to each have the same account set up under Mail, Contact, Calendar, and you will both see it. iCloud will not share anything from Google, MS Exchange, or any other service except theirs, between your devices. It is an Apple only service. For example, I just ditched Google Calendar, which I have been wanting to do for a while now. I have gone back to my office’s Exchange server for work, and now use my iCloud Calendar for home. So, if I want to, I can share my personal Calendars with my wife and kids, but they can’t see my work stuff, because iCloud does not sync that across.

      Hopefully this helps. Feel free to comment further if you have additional questions. Let us know how it goes.

      • kjs

        Thanks jhrogersii. I appreciate you going over this for me.
        The part about duplication of info really has me in a spin. I
        went through this when we initially set up. EVERYTHING was
        duplicated. Such a shame that a great feature has to be so
        complicated. I will work on trying to separate our info.
        Re: my daughter. She has her own account but the fact that my
        husband and I share email and iCloud, when I sent her an
        iMessage from iPad it showed up on his phone also. Without
        including him in the thread, he was receiving our texts.

  • Kathy

    I updated both my husbands and my Iphone 4 to the latest apple update with icloud. Little did I realize that icloud would merge all of our contacts together….now I have 100’s of contacts on my phone that I don’t want there! I’m so frustrated….is there some way to get our contacts separate and back to the way they were? I was thinking of setting up a separate icloud account on his phone (we share our itunes account of course). My concern was that when I deleted the shared icloud account on his phone and set up a separate one for him that he would lose all of his contacts and I would still have all his contacts on my phone. Any suggestions?

  • Kathy

    Never mind….I think I have found the answer in previous messages…sorry I didn’t read them all before I posted mine! 🙂

  • Kyle

    Hi Jared, how does text messaging work under your setup? I have an iPhone4S and an iPad2 that I would like to have my txt messages on both devices. My wife also has an iPhone4S and an iPad, but only wants her texts on her phone. When I send texts via my iPad2, will users know it’s coming from me and can the txt conversations kept between only my iPhone4S and iPad2? Thanks and GREAT research!

  • zozob

    This was a great article, because we also use 1 itunes account for multiple family members.

    Between this article and me working through the gadgets, it seems to me that icloud and all those former me.com emails are only going to work on apple hardware. Just like I don’t want to be tied to a an isp, I don’t want to be tied to hardware. I think this limitation will hurt the overall success of icloud.

  • Craig S Pilarski

    I have read through all posts as lot of others have similar questions, but would like to get some confirmation before I proceed with any changes. Currently, I have two iphone 4s phones and a Windows PC. One phone has been set up with an iCloud account and is currently synching the contacts and calendars to my windows PC. The 2nd phone was setup using the same iCloud settings as the first so it basically has all the same contacts and calendar entries. What I am trying to clarify are the following:

    If I wanted to follow the instructions above to create a sub-account for the 2nd iphone do I need to create a new icloud account for this 2nd phone first? Right now, if I delete the current icloud account, these options as not shown. If I am signed in with the first icloud account on the 2nd phone, I don’t see the iCloud email setup options. based upon the thread above, I think i need to create a iCloud account for the 2nd phone, correct?

    2) If I figure out how to create this sub-account, it is not clear to me what benefit I get verses just keeping the same icloud account on both phones. Right now, my issue with the same iCloud account on both phones is that if I create an appointment on one phone, it will show just up on the 2nd phone, but I can not “invite” the owner of the 2nd phone to notify them of the appointment – it just shows up. If I create this sub-account, than do I have the ability to truly have two differnt iCloud calendars where you can invite a person to an appointment. i.e. not sure how the sharing of calendars works when subaccount are used.

  • Craig S Pilarski

    After I posted my question above, I became even a little more confused is if I was suppose to setup a the 2nd iphone with a new iCloud account, than I am no longer clear on how it stays linked to the master as in Step 4, another apple ID is created. I was expecting to have the 2nd phone signed in using the Master account, and than create a new apple ID for the 2nd phone under step 4. However, as as I stated above, I don’t get the optons as listed in the articles instructions when I am signed in with the master account on the 2nd iphone.

  • dlh

    I think you stay signed in to both. Each phone will stay signed into both. the “sub acct”, or newly created account,only shows up as an EMAIL ACCT. It backs up checked options. The master acct. shows up in settings under iCloud…only backs up checked options there. It’s up to you to tell your phone what you want backed up to each.

  • Jenny

    I have a different question. I have an iMac running snow leopard, and myself and two sons have iphone 3GS’s and my youngest son has an ipod touch. We sync all devices through my iMac with one Apple ID and one iTunes account. I have never had a Mobile Me account and have not set up icloud.
    14 months ago my ex husband bought an iMac and set up Mobile Me accounts for himself and the boys. 10 months later I learned that my bookmarks, calendars etc were syncing to his computer via the kids devices. I removed Mobile Me from their phones and Ipod touch. I recently discovered that iCloud was set up with my Apple ID and password on one of my boys’ phones. He did not do this. Their dad has told them that he wants to sync documents from my computer to his. Hmmm. How can I prevent my documents, music, calenders etc, from syncing to his computer now that iCloud is up and running and all devices can now sync wirelessly? I’m very concerned about this and Apple hasn’t been very helpful. Any help would be appreciated.

    • jhrogersii

      Sorry to hear about these issues that you are having, Jenny. I think I can help. First off, iCloud is probably set up on your boy’s phone because of the upgrade process to iOS 5. If you don’t opt out of iCloud, it automatically takes you through a setup process and automatically uses the device’s iTunes Apple ID. Apple does it this way to make it easy for those who aren’t familiar with setting things up manually, so that their devices will be backed up from then on without any user intervention. Unfortunately, it is geared almost exclusively toward individual users. That why I wrote this article. Apple didn’t make it very obvious how you could make the service fit the various ways that a family might already use iOS and iTunes.

      What I would suggest is that you, following the instructions in my article, set up new master iCloud accounts for yourself. Just pick a new ID that is different from the one you use for iTunes. This will give you your own place to store backups, photos, and documents, and sync your calendars. This will also break any links between your information, and your ex-husband’s. It will not affect your iTunes ID or you or your sons’ music or app purchases in any way.

      I think your ex has an inflated perception of what this service can do. First off, iCloud isn’t even compatible with Snow Leopard, so your computer will not sync with iCloud unless you upgrade to Lion. Even when or if you do, the only way that the two of you could sync documents between your two computers would be if you both have the same master iCloud account set up on your devices. Right now, it appears that there is a link between the two of you because of shared information through your iTunes Apple ID and your boys’ MobileMe accounts. Once you set up your own iCloud account, that connection will be severed.

      Apple has cleaned this situation up a little bit from what they had with MobileMe. Now, you either back up and sync Contacts, Calendar, Email, and Notes to iCloud, or to your computer. This closes the loophole that allowed your ex to get some of your information, which is good. In fact, if you sign up for iTunes Match like I did, the only thing you would have to sync with a computer for is for is to get your pictures and videos off the device, or to put movies or tv shows on it. Everything else would be via iCloud and over the Internet.

      As for your boys, MobileMe will be going away for good this summer, so they will need to transition their accounts to iCloud. The best way for them to do that would be to either migrate their existing MobileMe accounts that their Dad set up. Apple has a migration procedure on their MobileMe website, and they are actively pushing people to do this now. Once the accounts are migrated, these will become their own individual master accounts, and will not sync with you in any way.

      Now, if you do want to share SOME information with your kids, it is possible. First, you can follow my instructions for setting up a secondary iCloud account through the Mail,Contacts,Calendars settings on your phone. Just use your current iTunes Apple ID, since it is already set up. Then, you can choose individual items to sync with each other. In your situation, I would recommend that you only check Find My iPhone here, so that you can easily track lost or stolen devices from one login.

      If you were to check any of the other items available, you would be syncing ALL of the information in them on top of each other, which is probably not a good solution for any of you. Also, that might give your ex some access to your private information, so I wouldn’t recommend this. However, there is another way that you can share some things with your kids. If you log into iCloud.com with your master iCloud ID (after you set it up) and go to Calendar, you will see all of your Calendars and Reminder lists on the left. Clicking on the round button to the right of the Calendar or Reminder list will allow you to share this particular item with another iCloud user. This way, you could pick and choose what you all share with each other, while keeping your personal information to yourself.

      For example, my wife and I have a Shared Shopping List. We will message each other if one is going to the store to let them know we have added stuff to the list. If we both have Internet access, new items quickly appear for the one who is at the store. It’s a very handy feature. So, the three of you could have a shared family task list and shared family events calendar without giving away everything.

      Hopefully this helps. Feel free to message me again if you have more questions.

  • Heidi

    I’ve got a question about sub accounts…much like you we have many devices including kids using ipods and iphones. We want to give our kids view only access to our iCloud calendars so that they can see what we’ve got going on in a particular evening, but can’t accidentally make changes at this point. We have one child that we want to have view and edit options on only certain calendars. If we create sub accounts for the kids devices will they get full access to our Calendars, or can we “share” our calendars and restrict how they use them from our main iCloud iCal account?

    I agree that sharing the same apple ID for iTunes has been a big advantage, but some of the other issues it create are tricky!

    Thanks for your help!

    • jhrogersii

      It sounds like your best bet will to share those individual Calendars from the iCloud website, rather than sharing them all via iCloud sub accounts. This way, you have the ability to manage who can do and see what.

  • Heidi

    I can only share calendars with another iCloud account, so should I set up separate independent icloud accounts for each child and will that mess with their apple IDs for our shared iTunes account.

    I’m assuming that the sub accounts share the same, full access calendar privileges then?

    So confusing!

  • jhrogersii

    You should probably set up separate main iCloud accounts for each. If you have already set up their subaccounts, then you can actually just use them as their main iCloud account. Use the iCloud tab in Settings to do this. Just log out if whatever is there, and either plug in an account you have already created for them, or create a new master account.

    The main thing to remember here is that none of this will affect your iTunes Store Apple ID. This has no relationship with iCloud.

  • Heidi

    Sounds good, but as I have started to go through the process of setting us a new iCloud account, it seems the same as what you outlined for setting us the sub account. Am I missing something? What’s the difference between the 2 processes: setting us a new, separate iCloud account and setting us a subaccount for a shared main iCloud account. I’m not seeing a difference!

    Thanks again. You are very helpful and obviously have a good grasp on this whole process. I appreciate that!

  • jhrogersii

    There is no difference between the actual iCloud accounts, themselves. The difference is in where you enter them on your device, which determines which one takes precedence. The master account for a device goes under the iCloud tab in Settings. Subaccounts are set up under Mail, Calendar, Contacts in Settings, using the instructions that laid out in the article. Hope that clears things up.

  • Mark

    Hi jhrogersii,

    After setting my system up wrong, i’ve spent the whole weekend researching iCloud and found your article, which in my opinion must be the most comprehensive article available – so thanks so much for your great efforts!

    I wondered if you could help me with my problem:

    My setup is quite simple – just me and multiple Apple devices, one iTunes account that has all my purchases (on a Gmail account).

    My problem is basically the opposite to that of jdsmith14 who wrote on October 18.

    The first time I set up iCloud the account it made was based/tied to my iTunes account and linked to that account, so that i can log in to iCloud or iTunes withe the same *****@me username and password. To me this seems to be the best layout – one universal username and password that works for both iCloud and iTunes. BUT the problem is when I set it up I was just experimenting and used a random gobbledegook @me name- I had no idea I only had the one shot at it!, as from what you say, subsequent iCloud accounts get set up as individual and separate accounts (and don’t have the universal login feature), so the question is: Is it possible to get the system to produce another account like the first – tied to the main iTunes account?

    Also, at some point you touched on the point that MobileMe users would probable prefer a separate login – could you tell me why that is? and do you think there are any disadvantages for me using a system with one universal login username/password for both iCloud and iTunes?

    Thank for your help


    • jhrogersii

      Thanks for the kind word Mark. Now let’s see if I can back them up.

      Your solution is actually easier than you think. First, you need to make a fresh manual iCloud Backup. Then, you need to make sure that all of the information you need to be migrated to a new account is on all of your devices before you proceede. Well, everything you keep on that device, at least. For example, if you have an iPod Touch, and have your Contacts on there, but not your Calendars, you don’t have to add Calendars to it to do this. Just make sure that what you already have stored there is up to date, and matches the other devices.

      Now comes the tedious part. If you are using iCloud for any document sync, these WP be deleted from your device when you move over. So, you will need to sync them to Dropbox (if the app they go with allows), email them to yourself, or get them manually using iTunes on your computer. Your Photo Stream will also be deleted as part of this process, so also be sure to save any photos you need out of that. This is only necessary for ones not in your Camera Roll, or not backed up on your PC.

      Ok. Once you are ready, you will go to Settings-iCloud, and at the bottom of the screen, tap Delete Account. Don’t worry. This only deletes it from this device. You can put it back later if things go South. You will get the prompt that your Photo Stream and Docs will be deleted. As long as you backed them up, you are ok to push this. Go ahead and do this step on each device before you proceede.

      Before moving on, I would suggest that you go to iCloud.com, log in using you iTunes account, and check your Cal and Contacts, just to be sure there isn’t any info already synced there.

      Once finished, you can go back to the iCloud tab and log in using your iTunes account. As you go down the list checking boxes, you should be prompted as to whether you want to delete or merge your current data. Be sure to keep your existing data here. This is the most important step, because your devices become the conduit to migrate your data to the new iCloud account.

      Once everything you need to sync is checked on your first device, go to iCloud.com on your computer and heck to make sure your data is there. Now, you will need to put your Documents back on your first device. Either open the email attachments that you sent yourself, or use iTunes to put them back under the apps they go with. This way, as you set up the rest of your devices, the doc will show up, as well. Note that your Photo Stream will start over from here. Your old one still exists for 30 days, but you aren’t logged into it anymore.

      Now, just repeat this process for each device, and your data should all be there, hopefully will little or no duplicates. Hopefully this guide helps you out. Please let me know if you have any more questions.

  • Mark

    Hi jhrogersii,

    Many thanks for the very detailed setup run through – a couple of things I’d like to ask:

    One of the things that I would like to do is replace the iCloud account that I first made (has a nonsense name that I used for my test run, and now I’m stuck with – as I had no idea it would be hard to do a rerun)

    As has been said earlier, the VERY FIRST time (and only the first time) you set up an iCloud account from your iTunes account you get a master iCloud account that is linked to your iTunes account – from there on just one Apple ID name/password (either the gmail iTunes OR the @me iCloud login) is capable of logging you into either iTunes or iCloud. Thats a handy feature -only one login for both systems – but this linking of account ONLY happens the very first time.

    What I would like to do is delete the test run iCloud account (with the stupid name) and find a way to rerun the initial setup that creates the iCloud account and binds the two accounts together with a single login. Unfortunately just running the iCloud setup again only results in a separate account with an individual and different login for iTunes and a different login for iCloud.

    Its possible that there may be some work-around using Alternate Email addresses, but I have not found one so far.

    Do you know how to rerun the INITIAL iCloud setup? or do you know of a workaround that links the accounts?

    On Oct 21st you said :

    “Each iCloud account gets its own @me address. Because I followed all of the prompts when I installed the first iOS 5 beta that had iCloud enabled (I don’t remember which one it was), I ended up with my current Apple ID’s user name as my master iCloud user id and @me account heading. Fortunately, that is fine with me. However, it would have been helpful if Apple clarified this process a bit more.

    Some users, especially former MobileMe users, would probably rather go another direction here, and not create what may end up as a useless account”

    That intrigues me, could you tell me why it may not suit MobileMe users, that they may end up with a useless account ?

    Thanks again for your help!


  • Emma

    Hi thanks for the article its very detailed I was just wondering I have 3 iPhone 4s & an iPhone 3 plus an iPod touch in my house hold & since they are all connected to the one iTunes when we download a game only one of us can use that game or we can all use it but it signs us in under who ever gets the game first…if that makes sense…
    So 3 of us have word with friends but we can’t play against each other as it signs us all in to the one account…If I make the sub-accounts will this help stop that or is there something we can do to stop apps syncing all accounts?
    Thanks for your help 🙂

  • Rebecca

    my question

    i want to share 2 photo streams on one pc with different user accounts. Is this possible? We have two seperate icloud ids at the moment, would you suggest using the same one to share photo stream? Currently having to log in and out of the control panel to upload photos.

    Why didnt apple think of this, seems you can only use 1 photo stream per PC. Very annoying indeed.

    Whats the work around solution?

  • Blake

    I’m not so smart. I need simple numbered step-by-step instructions.

    I’ve read this entire thread, and am as confused as I think I could be.

    I have four family members, each with iPhone3GS running current OS5 version.

    1. Need to share apps and music

    2. Need everything else (contacts, email, alerts, calendar photos) separate for each.

    I thought I followed the directions, used same master (existing apple id used for apps and music purchases) but with separate “sub” iCloud accounts. Big problem. All calendars and contacts merged. No we all get calendar alerts from each other’s calendars. Hours and hours wasted. So frustrated. What are the simple numbered steps I should have followed, but didn’t.

    I don’t think Apple could have made this any more goofed up and unintelligible.

  • Thomas

    Hi jhrogersii,
    Let me please add my sincere thanks to you for doing an amazing amount of work to help the rest of us here. I agree with many of the other comments about your explanations and knowledge being superior to virtually any other support sites I’ve seen. You’re a blessing to us all.
    I had just called Apple Care tonight, with a slightly different variation on other needs noted here. My wife and I have iPhones and iPads, and want to share purchase/apps. Also we want to share contacts and calendars, having those reliably updated when either of us makes a change. I’m a bit ignorant on the Reminders app though. I need my own separate reminders list so that her phone doesn’t alarm each time. I understand that I can go thru a setup to share a reminders list with another iCloud user (would be nice to share a “family shopping list,” for example), but wanted to make sure that each of us can also have our own separate reminders as well by setting up a “subaccount” as you described? We would like separate iWork files and will put up with separate PhotoStream (as long as I can plug her phone into our iMac and sync the pictures over on the rare times she takes some). Will also put up with having to somehow sign into another account to “Find my phone” in order to have the other goals of shared calendar/contacts/apps/music, but separate reminders and iWork files.
    Interestingly, a very nice person I spoke to thru Apple Care tonight said it can’t be done. I had her repeat it 3 times, being absolutely clear on my question, and she told me that we can NOT share the apps AND have separate reminders.
    I hope she was wrong, but if anybody could confirm if our needs sound like they can be met by creating a subaccount on my wife’s iPhone and iPad, I would be deeply grateful!! Thanks again to all of the contributors here !

  • Mike

    Hello there. This is my first iPad 3. It’s a bit late for me so excuse my “thoughts” while I type this. When my wife and I first obtained our iPhone 4’s, I was the main Apple ID “holder”. Now that we have this iPad, she wanted her own ID so that she could sync her contacts, info with her iPhone.. Whatever. I’m ok with that. The only thing I would like to sync with our new iPad is the save games from the apps I purchased on my ID. I’m sorry if this has already been answered, but right now I’m getting drowsy. If you need more info, let me know. Thanks in advance.

  • Nicola Gaze

    Thank you so much this was really helpful! I am still a little unsure as my kids (with ipod touches) are too young to open an icloud account.

    What would you recommend? I would appreciate any advice.

    Thanks again.
    Nicola Gaze

  • Steve G

    I note that you mention an Exchange account for your calendar from work. I have one also and had a terrible time with ghost meetings appearing that I think were related to using an interface with Plaxo to translate the calendar from Office to the original iPhone back in the day. This was so much trouble for me and my institution (although we never were able to confirm that the Plaxo interface was the problem, but the trouble went away some months after severing all Plaxo ties) that I never dared link my calendar to our iOS devices through Mobile Me.
    I would love for my wife to be able to view my exchange calendar. I can not link her iPhone or iPad directly due to institutional policy as I would really be giving her my log-in information. Can the iCloud calendar be safely populated from your exchange calendar and then viewed by others either by the method that you describe or the one described by Mu’aawlah Tucker?

  • pb

    I just added two new iphones for my kids. When we went through the set-up/activation process using the same apple ID for both (hadn’t read your article yet…) all of my contacts were added to their phones. They don’t want my contacts, so we used Cleanup, an app that lets you remove groups of contacts rather than going one by one. Once they had done that on their phones, I went back to my phone and found that the process had removed all of the contacts from there as well.

    I’ve gone back and created separate Apple IDs for the kids’ phones, so they are no longer linked to mine in that way. I then went through the process of erasing my phone and using an iCloud backup to restore its previous settings. Each time it looks like that restore process is complete, I can momentarily see all of my contacts again, but a few seconds later they’re gone, replaced by those that my son has entered on his phone.

    So I guess the good news is that there is a back-up of my contacts in the cloud and available for the purposes of restoring. But do you have any good ideas for how to get them to show up again on my phone and stay there for good rather than for just a few seconds?

  • Lucymccabe

    Hi, I am hoping that someone can help. My sister in law has 3 iPhones all linked to the same apple account and one I pad. When I message her using I message which goes to the email address for her apple account all three I phones get the message. How can we fix this? Thanks in advance for any help

  • Ken

    you say to turn off the contacts, calandars, reminders, bookmarks, ect… When I do this it asks me if I want to delete or save to IPhone. The problem is that my Wife and I both upgraded and didn’t realize that our contacts and what not would be on both phones. What is a simple solution to this? I am willing to add the new Icloud account and continue to keep sharing the Itunes account with her. I just want to make sure what to do at the beginning when I turn off the contacts and such that I still have them contacts somewhere and we both don’t lose our contacts. Will my Wife need to do the same. Or should she just go to Icloud.com and delete my old contacts? Thanks for the great article. Ken.

  • Hi can you help me I got a I phone and used a apple I’d number for set up, then my daughter got the same phone and used the same I’d number. Both the phones synced and all her contacts came to my phone and I lost all mine. I then set up a new apple I’d account on my phone and my daughter kept her old I’d account but our phones are still doing the same things any suggestions on what to do.
    Thanks anything you could do would be a great help.

  • April

    Thanks so much for the info. I was pulling my hair out trying to get this setup for my family.

  • Mikey

    I’m about to give up on Apple altogether after this ridiculousness.

    The dot-Mac account I had for years was working fine as a Family Pack.

    My wife still uses a G4 Powerbook so that can’t be upgraded to iCloud and my daughter’s too young to sign up for iCloud – the Family Pack solution was great for us. This new thing adds nothing & has resulted in me squandering too much of muy life trying unsuccessfully to recreate something we already had.

  • Shaun Hutchinson

    Many thanks for this – very very useful:):)
    I have one question! – On my wife’s MacBook running Lion I want her to see our master iCloud account Address book and Calendar, but her own Safari bookmarks and Notes from her sub iCloud account, is this possible? I suppose I could subscribe to our home calendar as a workaround as suggested above but it looks like you can only have one iCloud account for syncing on a Mac running Lion? – its just that we have different Safari bookmarks and notes, and with iOS 6 and Mounhtain Lion you can sync Safari tabs which would be really useful for my wife as she takes the train everyday and uses the iPad and in the evening uses her MacBook.
    Many Thanks again.

    • jhrogersii

      I am not aware of any way to have multiple iCloud accounts displayed on one computer. I think using one account, and then sharing calendars and tasks from another is the closest you can get.

      I know it is a big switch, but if one of you switches over to Chrome for your browser, then you could both have synced bookmarks and tabs from your iOS devices.

      • Julie

        Sorry to be so stupid but I need idiot proof step-by-step instructions.
        This is my first iPhone and I can not seem to add another iCloud account. I have an iPhone 3GS on OSI6 which I have not long purchased.
        The Apple ID has been set up using our joint home email account and the master iCloud is attached to that. My husband is in the process of purchasing another iPhone 3GS so we need to have another iCloud account set up so we don’t have our contacts, calendars merging together.

        Trouble is every time I try to ‘Add Account’, then select
        iCloud as the steps above show, an error comes up ‘User name or password is incorrect.’

        The main account is linked to the Apple ID and password – how
        do you set up a new iCloud account without raising an error?
        I’ve tried everything and so confused – what am I doing wrong?

        1. We need to share apps and music

        2. Everything else (contacts, email, alerts, calendar photos)needs to be separate for each.

        Frustrated. 🙁

  • Cathy

    Tried to do this for my son aged 9 and it said that he was not eligible. Is there an age restriction?