How to Share Your iCloud Storage With a Friend or Family Member

This step by step guide shows you how to give permission to a friend or family member to share your iCloud Drive storage space so they can save and access their own files on it.

Here’s a scenario for you – you’ve got an iCloud+ account (a paid iCloud subscription) and your friend doesn’t. They’re running low on their free 5GB of iCloud storage space and desperately needs more (and probably getting constant emails from Apple telling them their iCloud storage is almost full). Why not share some of your extra space with them? Although Apple refers to this as “Family Sharing” – there’s absolutely no reason you can’t share your iCloud storage with a friend, roommate, co-worker or other acquaintance.

Following the steps outlined below you’ll be able to grant permission for a friend, roommate, co-worker OR family member to use your iCloud storage space to save their own photos and data. It’s very important to note that no, they will not be able to access your iCloud data and you will not be able to access theirs.

From the official Family Sharing guide by Apple,

Everyone’s personal files and preferences stay private. When you share iCloud+, family members can’t see each others’ photos, files, or documents.

For the sake of this guide we’re going to use an iPhone to complete all of the required steps. You can do this on an iPad and the steps will be almost identical. You can also do it on your Mac via the Family Sharing icon in the System Preferences and while though steps are quite different, you should still be able to follow along.

  1. The first step is to setup Family Sharing itself. This is an Apple feature/service that allows you to share various services and subscriptions with “family” members (remember – that can include friends, roommates, co-workers etc). Although there are lots of things you can share, we’re only going to cover iCloud storage – feel free to check out all the other options and settings once you’re done.
  2. Start out by tapping the Settings icon.
  3. the iOS Settings button

  4. Select your Profile (directly below the word Settings).
  5. an arrow pointing to a Profile in the iOS Settings

  6. Choose Family Sharing from the list of options.
  7. an arrow pointing to the Family Sharing option in the iOS Settings

  8. Tap the + Add Member link.
  9. adding a member to your family to share iCloud storage on an iPhone

  10. A Invite People to Your Family window will appear – select the Invite People button inside of that window.
  11. an arrow pointing to a button titled Invite People

  12. If the person is right next to you with an iPhone/iPad you can use AirDrop to send the “invitation” link, otherwise tap the Mail icon.
  13. the Share menu for iOS and iPadOS with the Mail icon highlighted

  14. Enter the email address of the person you want to allow to use your iCloud storage space, and give the email a subject (or enter a short message) so they know why you’re sending a long and slightly strange looking link.
  15. an email with a link to share iCloud storage on an iPhone

  16. When the person you invite opens the link in the email they’ll be invited to join your “family” – tell them to tap the Join Family button.
  17. a Join Family button

  18. Then they just have to tap the Done button and that’s it – they don’t need to do anything else.
  19. a Done button

  20. Now that your friend is a member of your “family”, you can share your iCloud storage with them. Once again open your iPhone/iPad Settings and select your Profile.
  21. an arrow pointing to a Profile in iOS

  22. Choose Family Sharing again.
  23. an arrow pointing to the Family Sharing item in the iOS Settings with a new user added

  24. This time scroll down to the MORE TO SHARE section and select the iCloud+ option.
  25. the MORE TO SHARE section of the Family Sharing section

  26. When prompted, tap the Share iCloud+ With Family button.
  27. a Share iCloud with Family

  28. That’s it. Tap the Close button.
  29. a Close button

  30. Now return to Family Sharing – this time you’ll see a new section titled SHARED WITH YOUR FAMILY and inside of it an item named iCloud+ – select it.
  31. From here you’ll see a list of the people using your iCloud storage (iCloud+) and how much space each person is using.
  32. a list of people with whom you share iCloud storage

  33. After you’ve given your friend permission to use your iCloud storage, they can return to their iCloud settings and see that the amount of usable storage space has increased to whatever your plan includes. You’re a good friend!
  34. an updated iCloud storage graph seen by the person with whom you share

  35. In addition to via your iPhone/iPad, you can manage friends (users) via the System Preferences on a Mac. I’m not sure why you can’t manage users via the web, for now it’s via iOS and macOS only.
  36. an arrow pointing to the Family Sharing section of the macOS System Preferences

While you’re here, why not check out our other iPhone and iPad tips, tricks and tutorials? :)


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