Why isn’t Apple Music Family Sharing working?

Apple Music Family Sharing allows up to 6 family members to share an Apple Music subscription through Family Sharing. This allows access to over 90 million songs, playlists, music videos and more. However, sometimes Family Sharing doesn’t work as expected and Apple Music can’t be shared between family members. There are several potential reasons why Apple Music Family Sharing may not be working properly.

Check Eligibility for Family Sharing

In order to use Family Sharing for Apple Music, all family members must meet the eligibility criteria. Here are the requirements to use Family Sharing:

  • All family members must have their own Apple ID
  • All family members must use the same payment method
  • The family organizer must be 18+ years old
  • All family members must have two-factor authentication enabled on their Apple ID
  • All family members must be in the same country or region

If any family member does not meet these requirements, it can prevent Family Sharing from working properly. Double check that all family members are eligible and meet the criteria.

Confirm the Family Organizer

For Family Sharing to work, one person must be designated as the Family Organizer. Only the organizer can enable Family Sharing and invite other members. Make sure the correct person is set as the Family Organizer in Family Sharing settings. If there is uncertainty over who is the organizer, you can check by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS device
  2. Tap your name at the top of Settings
  3. Tap Family Sharing
  4. Check who is listed under “Organizer”

If the wrong person is set as the organizer, you may need to disable Family Sharing and re-enable it under the correct organizer. All members will have to be invited again.

Verify iCloud Settings

Family Sharing relies on having the right iCloud settings enabled. Here are some key points about iCloud and Family Sharing:

  • All family members must use the same iCloud account for Family Sharing. You cannot mix and match.
  • iCloud storage bills will be paid for by the family organizer via the shared payment method.
  • Family members should enable iCloud Music Library to access shared Apple Music songs and playlists. This keeps everything in sync.
  • At least 200MB of iCloud storage is required to use shared Apple Music. More storage may be needed for larger music libraries.

Check that these iCloud settings are configured properly for each family member’s account. Incorrect iCloud configuration can disrupt access to shared Apple Music content.

Re-send Family Sharing Invitations

In order to join Family Sharing, each family member needs to accept the Family Sharing invitation sent by the organizer. Sometimes these invites expire or are accidentally deleted before the person accepts. When that happens, they will not be successfully added to the Family Sharing group.

As the organizer, you can check the status of each family member under Family Sharing settings. If any member shows as “Pending” or “Invited”, they have not accepted the latest family invite. The fix is simple – re-send invites to any member still waiting to accept. Here is how:

  1. Open Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing on your device
  2. Tap on the family member showing “Pending” or “Invited” status
  3. Tap “Resend Invite” and confirm
  4. The family member will receive a new invitation to accept

Once all members have accepted their invites, Apple Music sharing should start working immediately.

Double Check Content Sharing Settings

Even if Family Sharing is enabled correctly, you still need to turn on sharing for Apple Music itself. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing on your device
  2. Tap Apple Music
  3. Enable “Share My Music” and “Share My Music Videos”

Every family member who wants to share music needs to also enable sharing on their end. Toggle these settings on for each family member’s device. This ensures all Apple Music content can be viewed and played by everyone in the Family Sharing group.

Update Software

Apple Music Family Sharing requires the latest iOS, iPadOS, macOS or tvOS software version to work properly. Outdated software can sometimes disrupt Family Sharing functions and content syncing.

Ensure each family member’s devices are running the most current software versions available. You can check and install updates by going to Settings > General > Software Update on iOS devices or System Preferences > Software Update on Macs. Installing the latest updates can often resolve Family Sharing issues.

Sign Out and Sign Back In

In some cases, Family Sharing gets temporarily stuck if there are errors joining the group or syncing content. Fixing it may be as simple as signing out of iCloud and Apple Music and signing back in.

Have each family member sign out of iCloud, reboot the device, then sign back in. Then sign out of Apple Music and sign back in. This refreshes all the necessary credentials and gets Family Sharing communicating smoothly again.

Check Apple Music Subscriptions

In order to share Apple Music, one family member must be paying for an Individual or Family subscription. Check that the family organizer has an active, paid Apple Music subscription enabled as the shared payment method.

Also, verify no family member has their own separate Apple Music subscription. You cannot merge or share across individual subscriptions and Family Sharing simultaneously.

All family members should cancel any individual Apple Music subscriptions first. Then enable sharing under the family organizer’s subscription only. Having multiple subscriptions can disrupt access to shared content.

Review Parental Controls

The family organizer can set parental controls and restrictions on Family Sharing members under age 18. This includes restricting and blocking certain content.

If sharing problems coincide with a child’s new device, check parental control settings. Usage restrictions blocking Apple Music could interfere with sharing. Consider temporarily lifting restrictions to verify this is not causing problems.

Also ensure the proper content restrictions are set based on the child’s age and maturity rather than overly broad bans on music services. Some restrictions may be more limiting than intended.

Factory Reset Affected Device

In rare cases, software glitches, outdated device settings or corrupted files may disrupt Apple Music on an individual family member’s device. This can prevent sharing even when Family Sharing is set up correctly.

Trying a factory reset/restore can clear out any underlying software issues and reinstall a clean working version of the OS. Just be sure to backup the device first and choose a time when the reset won’t be overly disruptive to the person.

After the reset, test Apple Music sharing again. If it now works where it didn’t before, you know some type of internal glitch was responsible and the reset fixed it.

Contact Apple Support

If you continue experiencing problems getting Apple Music Family Sharing to work after trying the above troubleshooting, reach out to Apple support for personalized help.

You can contact Apple support via:

  • Phone – 1-800-APL-CARE in the US or check the Apple support site for your country’s phone number
  • Chat – Initiate a live chat at getsupport.apple.com
  • Twitter – Tweet @AppleSupport for help from the official Apple Support account
  • Apple retail store – Book a Support appointment at an Apple Store Genius Bar

When you contact Apple support, provide as much helpful info as possible like:

  • iOS/iPadOS/macOS version on each family member’s device
  • Specific Apple Music sharing problems occurring
  • Screens shots of error messages, if any
  • Family Sharing and iCloud configuration details
  • Troubleshooting steps attempted so far

An Apple support advisor can walk through tailored troubleshooting steps specific to your Family Sharing setup. They can also diagnose any underlying problems and get Apple Music sharing fixed for your family.

Reset Home Sharing Association

In addition to Family Sharing, Apple has a separate content sharing feature called Home Sharing. This also allows sharing music between people in the same household.

If you previously set up Home Sharing, it could be interfering with attempts to now use Family Sharing. Try turning off and resetting Home Sharing by following these steps:

  1. Open Settings > [your name] on your device
  2. Tap Home Sharing
  3. Tap Stop Home Sharing
  4. Enter your Apple ID password to confirm

This will reset any Home Sharing associations. Now try setting up Family Sharing again for Apple Music without Home Sharing enabled. The two systems can sometimes conflict, so try using just Family Sharing if you don’t need Home Sharing.

Review Apple Support Forums

Thousands of people have likely experienced similar Apple Music Family Sharing problems and discussed solutions. Check out Apple’s own community support forums to read about fixes that have worked for other users.

Some key forums to review include:

  • Music for Family – Dedicated Family Sharing discussions
  • Apple Music – Troubleshoot all Apple Music issues
  • iCloud – Fix iCloud problems related to Family Sharing

Look for forum threads with similar titles or symptoms to your own problem. Oftentimes another user has documented a successful fix. Try any promising solutions that apply to your situation.

Review Apple Music System Status

Before spending too much time troubleshooting family sharing problems, check if there are any current system issues with Apple Music. Sometimes service disruptions, glitches or downtime can prevent Apple Music from working properly.

You can view the real-time system status of Apple Music services like so:

  1. Go to apple.com/support/systemstatus
  2. Select “Music” from the list
  3. Check if any issues or outages are indicated in red

If Apple Music is experiencing a current system problem, you’ll have to wait for Apple engineers to fix it. Family sharing will not work correctly during the outage. Continue monitoring the status page until services are restored.

Make Sure Apple Music Streaming Works

Before troubleshooting Family Sharing specifically, take a step back and confirm Apple Music itself is working properly on each family member’s device.

Try streaming music, playing downloaded songs, and accessing playlists for each individual. This verifies basic Apple Music functionality is OK independently before introducing Family Sharing.

If any user is unable to stream or play Apple Music content on their device normally, fix that first. Family Sharing relies on functioning Apple Music service. Diagnose and troubleshoot any individual issues blocking usage.

Check Account Purchase History

Purchased Apple Music family plans renew automatically each month. To confirm the shared subscription is active:

  1. Open the App Store on your device
  2. Tap your profile icon in the top right
  3. Select “Purchase history”
  4. View the status of latest Apple Music purchase/renewal

If there is any issue with the latest billing transaction, such as a declined payment, it can disrupt access for family members. Work with Apple Support to resolve any billing problems.

Make Sure Members Appear in Settings

For a quick verification that Family Sharing is properly set up:

  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing on your device
  2. Check that all family members are listed
  3. Ensure no one is stuck in “Pending” or “Invited” status

All members should appear in the family group. If not, re-send invites or troubleshoot why any are missing or pending.

Allow Time for Changes to Sync

After making changes like adding family members, enabling sharing options, or changing restrictions, give it some time to sync across devices before expecting results.

Depending on factors like number of devices, size of music libraries, and internet speeds, it may take from a few minutes up to an hour or more for Apple Music sharing changes to fully take effect.

Don’t keep making more changes if it doesn’t seem to work instantly. Give it a reasonable window of time for your Family Sharing setup to update across devices.


Apple Music Family Sharing provides a great way to enjoy Apple’s extensive music catalog with your loved ones. However, it relies on correct setup and compatible devices to work seamlessly.

By reviewing each family member’s eligibility, verifying iCloud settings, re-sending invites, and managing subscriptions properly, you can isolate and resolve most common issues preventing sharing.

Patience and working methodically through possible causes allows you to pinpoint where Family Sharing is breaking down. Getting stuck? Extra troubleshooting assistance and direct fixes are available from Apple’s support team.

With a proper Family Sharing configuration, the whole household can soon be enjoying and sharing their Apple Music playlists, stations, downloads and more – no longer wondering why it doesn’t “just work”.