Should I use Family Sharing or share an Apple ID with my wife?

Dan Rothbart asked this question on Quora and added the following information:

Yes, #firstworldproblems, I know. My wife and I are both tech savvy, and take too many iPhone pictures and video of our two children. We each have a MacBook with a full internal hard disk, and external storage. She is the better photo organizer. I use clips to make home movies. 

With the recent releases of Family Sharing, Apple Photos, and iCloud Photo Library, I see an opportunity to reduce our storage cost/complexity, and to let us each take advantage of the other's creative&organizational skills. 

But two solutions are possible, and I'd like your advice. I'm not sure which of two configurations is best. 
(1) We share her Apple ID, so all footage flows to her account. She can organize and curate. I have access when I want to make a home movie. 
(2) We become a Family Account. Everything is shared in the family album, and we both have access and visibility. We also each have our own id, which just seems more appropriate. 


My answer

It’s generally wise NOT to share a personal Apple ID with someone else.

So the first option is definitely a no-go.

That does not mean that option #2 is automatically the best one in your case though.

First of, Family Sharing “just” creates a simple shared album, similarly to what you can achieve without creating a family.

This means that your wife and yourself still need to manually add pictures and videos in it, taking into account the limitations associated with Shared Albums (i.e. videos cannot exceed 5 minutes in length).

Besides, you’ll have the constraints of Family Sharing, in terms of payment for instance. All iTunes and App Store purchases will be charged to the credit card of the family organizer.

If you’re not OK with this, then I can suggest 2 other options:

(3) Create a new, dedicated Apple ID, for storing a shared library synchronized via iCloud Photo Library. You’d pay for 200GB or more iCloud Storage, which can be used also for the backup of your two devices. Up to you and your wife to decide if you’d use the shared Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Safari and iCloud Keychain features or not.

Then, each of you could still use your own, personal Apple ID for Contacts, Calendar, and Reminders by adding it as a secondary iCloud account on your respective device. The only drawback is that Notes and iCloud Drive is only available through the main iCloud account, and therefore would need to be shared between the two of you.

(4) If you and your wife can’t live with the drawbacks of the previous option, what about using a third-party solution?

If you have a Google account, then Google Photos could be used to automatically backup both your wife’s and your photos and videos, in a single cloud “database”.

Storage is free as long as you accept the limitations in terms of resolution for both photos (16 Mpixels) and videos (1080p).

Alternatively, if you already pay for Dropbox storage or have an Office 365 subscription, you could take advantage of their native iOS app to automatically copy photos and videos to a shared cloud storage. Simply install the app on both your wife’s and your iPhone and activate the “auto-upload” feature.

Do you have a question about Apple products & services? 
Are you thinking about buying an Apple device and not sure which one?

If that's the case, I offer you a 30 minutes consultation, no strings attached.

Yes, really, it's totally free and we can talk via FaceTime or Skype.

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