Why Are My Parents’ iPhones All Synchronised Up?

Why Are My Parents’ iPhones All Synchronised Up?

Sometimes, it befalls us technologically savvy folk to help those who are less knowledgeable about their gadgets and devices. Today we’re taking a look at a pretty common family situation: one daughter, two parents, two iPhones, one account, lots of confusion.

Photo: Pixabay

As my friend Rachelle recently wrote on Facebook (reposted with her permission):

“Friends that work at Apple: my parents linked their account name for their phones and now their phones are the same. Can anyone help me figure this out? Oh also they don’t remember their passwords…”

One Apple ID, two devices, two people, double the headache

If I’m reading this right, it sounds like Rachelle’s parents have two iPhones — obviously — and one of them is probably the device that one parent has been using for a while. The other one is probably brand-new (or recently reset).

And when setting up this iPhone for the first time (or again), one of parents decided it would be more convenient to just use the same Apple ID as the other device.

That totally makes sense on paper. You’re then only paying for an app once, not twice, after all — or a movie, or an album, et cetera. The problem? Both iPhones will synchronise a lot more information: apps you’ve downloaded, your photos, your music, your iCloud contacts and calendars, your reminders, et cetera.

There’s a lot. And don’t get me started about iMessage: That’s going to be complete chaos to manage on two “separate” devices that, to Apple, appears as one person’s two devices. Get ready for a lot of confusion.

If you really, really want to go this route, you could always turn off every aspect of iCloud on iPhone number two. However, in doing so, you aren’t really going to take advantage of the full range of Apple’s services on that device.

For example, if you aren’t sending your photos to iCloud — or any other cloud storage service — one dropped iPhone could spell the end for everything you’ve recently shot. And how many of us connect our iPhones to a laptop or desktop to run a backup anymore?

Rather than try to comb through this mess, here’s my idea: Go back, reset the second phone (you’ll lose your iMessages, but, well, it happens), and choose to set it up as a brand-new device when prompted. Don’t restore it from a backup. Also, sign into it with a different iCloud account.

Once you’re back in business — as in, back to your device’s home screen — have parent number one set up Family Sharing and invite parent number two’s Apple ID to participate. In a nutshell, this will allow you to maintain separate accounts for things like messaging and notes, while still getting all the benefits of purchases made within your family.

If either parent makes a purchase on the App Store, for example, both will be able to download the app to their devices (and parent one’s payment method will be charged).

The same is true for any iTunes content, too. Heck, your parents can even hide some of the content they buy, in case they don’t want the other to figure out their newfound love of Nickelback (or something). You’ll get all the benefits of the one-Apple-ID, two-devices “solution” with none of the drawbacks.

As for them not remembering their passwords, that’s the easiest fix of them all.

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