Forum Question: iPods for Kids (iTunes Accounts)

Forgive me if this has been discussed before, but we are getting our kids ipod touches for Christmas (they are 6 and 8 yr. old). I’m not sure of the best way to set them up an itunes account. If they have their own accounts, I don’t want it setup with a credit card. I would like to let them both use my account, but if they do, I would like to be able to put any of the apps they purchase (with gift cards for good behavior or something) on my phone if they are worthy. :o) So, what is the best way to manage these new ipods so that I can control the purchasing, and maybe use the apps (since I’m buying them). Oh, their accounts will be on their own Macs for them to sync with. We aren’t all using the same Mac.

Thanks all!

— Rick

Comments: 169 Responses to “iPods for Kids (iTunes Accounts)”

    11/29/09 @ 9:53 am

    The simplest solution is to use your iTunes account for them. You can use the same account on more than one Mac (up to 5). Since all of these machines will be authorized for the same account, they can all get the same apps, music, etc. Home Sharing is designed for this situation, in fact.
    You will be able to control the purchasing because it will always ask for a password when they go to buy something new — as long as they don’t know the password, they can’t purchase anything. Even if they did, you’d get the receipt in an email.

      James Kennedy
      10/29/11 @ 5:50 am

      What happens when they leave home – will they need to buy all their music again?

        10/29/11 @ 8:04 am

        No. It will remain in their iTunes collection. Music hasn’t been DRM-protected in iTunes for years.

      12/26/11 @ 6:56 pm

      I’m 12 and I just got an itouch. my parents have android, therefore don’t see the reason in getting an itunes account.I’ve tried 2 diffrent e-mails and even used 1963 for birth year and it still won’t work. so technically the only thing that works is the internet. and I ndon’t want to wait 6 months to download an app or text someone.

        12/26/11 @ 8:08 pm

        Well, now they do have a reason to get an iTunes account. They’re going to have to set one up as you need to be 13 to have an account.

        7/24/12 @ 9:08 am

        try creating a new email as your current email settings may say ur age

      2/25/12 @ 12:16 pm

      Can they download FREE apps without knowing my password?

        2/25/12 @ 1:00 pm

        Only if you set the store to not ask for your password — but then they can download paid apps too. So no. Probably best that you approve even free downloads, though. Some free apps are rated as not-for-kids.

    11/29/09 @ 10:14 am

    I’ll have to go back and watch your home sharing video. What worries me about using the same account, but on a different computer, is that they will be able to get all of the apps that I’ve downloaded also (which might not be age appropriate for the rating I set for them). I want them to have their own set of apps, that aren’t mine, but be able to use the apps they buy under my account (if that’s the best solution).

    Thanks for your help Gary!

      11/29/09 @ 10:17 am

      Check into the iPod Touch’s parental controls. You should be able to set a rating limit on their iPhones.

    12/15/09 @ 7:00 pm

    I’m having the same issues with a little wrinkle. She lives at her mom’s during the week. I have an iPhone + touch + a netbook and can’t seem to come up with a good plan for her purchases. The last person I want to have this password is her mom (my ex). God knows how much damage she could do. To tippy top it off I just talked to her about what type of WiFi and what security is in place. She’s not sure. Awesome! The blind leading the blinder. I think I’m going to just remotely run her computer through LogMeIn (free) and have it open so I can sign in anytime I need to (along with WOL). I can run all my computers though LogMeIn on my iPhone ($30.00)so I don’t think I’d leave her hanging even while I’m at work. I really just want set up a separate iTunes account but I have 3 iPhones and a touch with a small fortune in apps. My 5 computer limit doesn’t get me too far when you dual boot and screw around with other operating systems.

      Dave Taylor
      3/17/10 @ 10:08 am

      Dare I say it, as a single Dad to three, two of whom now have iPods of various flavors, can’t you tell her to keep track of her wish list and then when she shows up on the weekend, you can buy / download whatever she wants and thereby not have to worry about issues like network security at your ex’s place?

        11/29/11 @ 7:46 pm

        same here

    1/1/10 @ 3:01 pm

    I have a related question–my ex-husband and I used to share an iTunes account, which we also shared with our children–no problem. However, I am now setting up my own independent account and he will retain the shared account with no more shared access between the two of us. Is is possible for the children to be able to maintain access both of our accounts with their iPods?

    3/16/10 @ 1:35 pm

    My 12 year old daughter wanted an Itouch for christmas. She began asking 12 months prior. We finally decided to splurge and get her one since she was always playing the games on my iphone. It never occurred to me she would also have unmonitored use of the internet (we have wireless in our home) and a password on her Itouch. At first I told her we would have to have the password and although she was upset that we didn’t trust her, she gave it to us. She has since set up several random email accounts with individual passwords and she has changed her Itouch password to lock the entire thing. I’m sorry but I have no way of knowing with whom she is talking to or what accts she even has. We monitor the computer but how do you delicately handle this situation to ensure that your child isn’t innocently talking to child molesters, etc on line? HELP! I’m now GREATLY regreting this purchase. Please advise what do other parents do? I am so concerned for her and don’t want her to feel policed but kids never think they’ll fall victim to online preditors.

      3/17/10 @ 8:32 am

      Besides the Settings, General, Restrictions, there isn’t much you can do. Of course the problem is the same as if she uses computers at school, a friend’s house, library or any public computer.
      I’m not a parenting expert, I’m a Mac expert. But I do have a daughter rapidly approaching that age. I plan on making it a rule (no exceptions) that we have passwords and access to any online account (email, social networks, etc). It is simply a safety issue and she’ll have to accept that until she graduates high school.

      Dave Taylor
      3/17/10 @ 10:12 am

      What I would do? I’d change my network password. At some level, though, she’s right and you need to trust that you’ve done a good job raising her and don’t need to micromanage her use of the network.

      It’s a tricky balance: I insist that I have the passwords of my kids accounts (Facebook, Gmail) but I know that they occasionally wander afield and register on other sites. I decided that being Draconian about it would make it an interesting game for them, so I just chill and occasionally might say that I think it’s not a great idea.

      Good luck.

      11/7/10 @ 2:00 pm

      I don’t really think you should be concerned. She’s 12, come on. I’m 12. She just wants some privacy and she just doesn’t want anyone reading her email, getting on her iPod, etc. I want my privacy even if I’m doing nothing wrong.

      3/18/11 @ 6:06 pm

      Our 12 year old daughter won an iPod touch. I locked out the built-in browser and purchased and installed the Mobicip browser. I can set ratings, allow sites, and create time limits. You can also view reports on activity and sites visited. Well worth the cost!

      As for 12 year old Jesse…you don’t know what you don’t know, so trust that parents are doing the best for their kids when they set up parental controls. The parents that are doing a bad job are the ones that give their kids smart phones with unrestricted web access. I volunteer as a chaperon for field trips and the things some of these kids talk about, I didn’t learn until college! (The teachers often ask me to sit in the back of the bus because I’m a big guy and sometimes the only dad on the bus).

      4/28/11 @ 1:54 pm

      “She has since set up several random email accounts with individual passwords and she has changed her Itouch password”

      She has violated the terms of the deal. The solution is to take the ipod away from her until she is ready to respect the compact.

      Yvonne Conybeare
      6/19/11 @ 6:02 pm

      You are the parent, you bought the ipod, you are in charge. Take her iPod from her until she agrees to cooperate. If she can’t use it with your rules, she shouldn’t have it!

      12/26/11 @ 3:07 pm

      You are kidding me right? You don’t want a 12 yr-old to feel “policed”! Are you a parent or a wanna be friend to your 12-yr old? I’m not trying to be “sticky” here, but come on. She needs some major character development as she has violated your trust and proven herself to be willing to lie and cover-up. She does not deserve the toy. Take it away. Period. No drama, no fuss, simply take it away stating “you have violated our trust and will not regain the privilege until you can prove you deserve it”. Place some serious criteria for “proof” of trust, say not being caught in any form of a lie for a period of one year. Why the heck are we coddling the next generation … sheesh. Before you get too bent out of shape her … father of 4, foster father of 4 more … I’m not some out of touch go-gooder.

      1/8/12 @ 3:57 pm

      Trust works both ways; if she’s seen fit to open up new email accounts and change passwords, it’s clearly because she doesn’t trust you to allow her to use it in this way – i.e. she knows that she’s up to no good.
      The solution with my daughter was to simply take away the computer/mac/ipod privileges until she agreed to use them in accordance with the rules that we’ve made for her safety.
      She may not like it, certainly won’t thank you (until she has kids of her own one day!), but at least she’s safe!

      2/15/12 @ 8:09 am

      take it away from her. who the heck is running your household?

    5/22/10 @ 5:56 pm

    I share an iTunes account with my 13 year old. Should he have his own account to use with gift cards for his new iPod touch? How do I transfer the video and his part of the music on our account to his new account? I need to keep my account for my iPad…

      5/22/10 @ 7:28 pm

      It might be a good idea to have him start his own account. Music purchased recently should be DRM-free, so you can just give him his music. But video will be harder. It will be tied to your account, not his. But any Mac can be authorized for multiple iTunes accounts, so he can still watch the video.

    5/24/10 @ 6:52 pm

    Hoe domI give him his music? Can it be exported from my account to his?

      5/24/10 @ 7:18 pm

      Copy the files. Locate the files in the Finder and copy them over.

    5/25/10 @ 3:43 am

    Thanks. Sorry about the odd typing.

    8/10/10 @ 7:16 am

    well me and my dad are having a commotion about sharing his account but he wants to me have an account without using his paypal but he gets the reciept is there a way to do that?

    oh in case if your wondering aubout bad web browsing use open dns its free and it works well
    you set the topics you want to block or even the websites. the best part it works on the entire network! even ipods

      8/10/10 @ 7:22 am

      That is an interesting idea. I’ve never heard of Apple offering that. But you could set up an iTunes account where the email address is something that forwards to both your Dad and you.

      2/15/12 @ 8:11 am

      itunes allowance. easy setup in account

    Louise Bronaugh
    11/13/10 @ 3:36 pm

    My son has an iPod that is synced with my mac and consequently his ipod has a lot of music on it that he doesn’t want. He now has his own computer and I tried to set up his own account, but somehow managed instead to make his computer one of the 5 in the house and it has all of my library on it! We still have the same problem. How do I get him set up with his own account to use his own gift cards with? Or, should I keep him on mine, but if I do, how do I keep my music off of his iPod? Is there a video to watch on this topic?

      11/13/10 @ 3:40 pm

      So it sounds like you just set up his iTunes to use your account. Sign him up for his own iTunes account and switch to that. Then, remove any music you might have transferred to his computer. Also, turn off sharing and Home sharing. This will give him his own account separate from yours. Then erase and re-sync the iPod to this account. Then he can start fresh.

    Louise Bronaugh
    11/13/10 @ 4:10 pm

    Would it just be simpler to share the account? If I do that, how do I keep his music separate from mine? Also, I think he is prohibited from having his own account due to age (12). Is this correct?

    Mary West
    12/7/10 @ 7:17 pm

    We are getting our two daughters ipod touch’s for Christmas. We have 1 computer. We both have iphones and 1 ipad. In iTunes on my account I sync my phone and ipad. My husband has a separate profile on the computer for his itunes. If I setup the girls under my profile on each of their touch’s 1) will I be able to name them differently (child1 iphone, child2 iphone) 2)will they be able to get some of the “paid” games from my phone 3) is there another way we should set these up.

      12/7/10 @ 8:45 pm

      If you set those iPods up in your iTunes account, then you can share music and apps with them. They would be “your” iPods — which may be what you want, really. You can name them anything you want.
      That’s a very easy way to set it up. Otherwise, if they had their own accounts on the Mac you would have to set those up with your Apple ID (you can have multiple IDs in iTunes) so they would be allowed to use your apps. And then it would be a pain to move apps and music between the accounts. You can always go to that setup later.

    Mary West
    12/8/10 @ 6:47 pm

    THANKS! That helps clear the confusion in my head.

    Mark Geinosky
    12/11/10 @ 1:55 pm

    I have 4 ipods and 4 seperate windows vista accounts (on one computer) for each user. My youngest is 11, responsible and I tried to set up itunes under her vista account and import her old music (backuped to another hard drive) to Itunes.

    I received an error saying she is too young to have her own account. I am surprised apple thinks it’s the true parent here but oh well.

    Do I have to uninstall Itunes, reload it and lie about her age to make this work?

      12/11/10 @ 4:01 pm

      Reinstalling should be needed. Just try creating the account again.
      But why do you need an account at all? An account would be for buying music or apps. If she is 11, then she wouldn’t be able to do that anyway (no credit card, right?). So just have her set up on your account.

        1/8/12 @ 4:02 pm

        No – gift cards etc mean that on shared accounts a parent can spend their children’s birthday/Christmas gifts. Take it from me; this is very bad!

    Michael Firestone
    12/18/10 @ 11:53 pm

    Just got ipod touch with face time for me and my sonhe lives in another state set uphis ipod touch but need account and when i tried to face time it would nt work any suggetions mine works tried it woth a coupel of people is this because of his age and no itunes account

      12/19/10 @ 10:04 am

      He needs to set it up, but he doesn’t need an iTunes account to do so. Just an Apple ID account. If he is having trouble setting it up he should stop by an Apple Store or call Apple and they will help.

    12/21/10 @ 4:32 pm

    I have just purchased an ipod touch for both my 10yr old daughter and 13yr old son. I’ve registered their ipods but can’t set up separate itunes accounts given their age. If they’re using my account (which I’d prefer) how do I manage their gift vouchers separately to keep up with who’s spent what?

      12/21/10 @ 4:36 pm

      Having them both on your account is the only way to go. I’d imagine you’d just have to keep track of it manually.

    12/23/10 @ 6:49 pm

    Hi Gary,
    You sound like a total expert in the field of ipod touches!! I have just purchased the ipod touch 8GB for our 10 year old daughter…my husband however thinks its inappropriate for her age & is worried about internet access…is it straightforward to block access to unwanted sites…would you agree with him?? I know she would be very happy to receive & capable of using!!…Does anyone else have any advice about this??

      12/23/10 @ 9:51 pm

      There aren’t site-by-site parental controls on the iPod Touch, but you should implement those on the network anyway. See episode 453:
      Having Internet access is a topic probably better addressed by a parenting expert, not a technology one. But as a point of data, my daughter is in 3rd grade and is already using her Mac and browsing the Internet as part of her school work. I use the technique in episode 453 on my network, but am also preparing her (and myself) for the day when she knows enough to get around a simple DNS block.

        12/24/10 @ 9:02 pm

        Thanks Gary! Have looked at the link (episode 453) That’s all very useful, i will give this info to my husband. Planning to go ahead with gift tomorrow for Christmas Morning…limitations/restrictions and a few rules & regualations should hopefully prevent any future problems…

      3/18/11 @ 6:10 pm

      Your husband is right. When my daughter (aged 12) won an iPod touch a few months ago I blocked the default browser and installed the Mobicip browser. You can set it up to block many different categories of sites, set time limits, and view reports. Well worth it.

    12/24/10 @ 12:15 am

    I got my 10-year old son an iPod Touch. I set up a separate iTunes library on my iMac for him and loaded a bunch of songs. I enabled restrictions on the iTouch. When I tried to enable restrictions on his iTunes library, I found that I could not name the libraries separately, and the restrictions placed on his library were now on my library. I undid those for now. Also, I loaded a few kid-friendly apps from my iPhone/iTunes Library into his library–the icons appeared in his library, but did not sync onto his iTouch (even when I “turned on” the install apps restriction (to allow installation). What gives? How can I give him a separate library with separate restrictions? what’s the problem with the apps? Btw, the music I copied for him synced fine with his iTouch. Thanks.

      12/24/10 @ 12:22 am

      The restrictions work on a user account (Mac user account, not iTunes). So if you want to use that, you would set up a separate Mac user account for him. Not sure what is up with the apps. Perhaps you bought them with your iTunes store account but you haven’t authorized his iTunes library with your iTunes account. That’s a guess. Hard to tell without seeing it.

    Eric R
    12/31/10 @ 8:09 pm

    Ok, Similar situation as other discussed here. I bought a new ipod touch for my 10 year old. I’ve linked it to my itunes account, and have it set up to manually sync. Everything’s working well, but here’s my concern.
    Daughter: Can I please get this free app? (Download directly from ipod, connected to home wifi network)

    Dad: Sure (Dad types in account password, and downloads free app) – then gives ipod back to daughter.

    Daughter: Cool, I can get more coins inside my free app for only $29.99. {purchase} – No password required, because the password was just entered a few minutes ago.

    Dad: if I only had a way to “logout” of the itunes store before giving the ipod back to the 10 year old, life would be much simpler.

    Can anyone HELP with this?

      12/31/10 @ 9:36 pm

      You can log out of the app store in the App Store app. Just go to the “featured” section by tapping the button at the lower right. Then scroll all the way to the bottom. There you will see a button labelled “Apple ID: X.” Tap that and you get to choose Sign Out. At least you can on the iPhone in iOS 4.2. I assume it is identical for the iPod Touch.

        Eric R
        1/1/11 @ 12:08 am

        Gary, Awesome – exactly what I was looking for, and it does work the same on the itouch.

        Grateful -Eric

    Jamie W.
    1/3/11 @ 6:37 pm

    My daughter & I both got an iPod touch for Christmas. Is it “allowed” for me to buy a game & her to have it on her iPod as well? She has an iTunes account set up on her computer & I have one on mine, so we don’t share iTunes, but I would like to be able to share purchases made. Thanks.

      1/3/11 @ 10:52 pm

      You can authorize both iTunes on your computers with your account. She can have her own account and your account authorized at the same time. Then you can share apps. Use Home Sharing as a quick and easy way to transfer the apps between your computers. You can then put apps you buy with your account on her iPod Touch.

        Jamie W.
        1/5/11 @ 6:11 pm

        Gary – Thanks for the info, but for some reason, even though I have home sharing on, it does not show apps. It shows music, movies, podcasts, itunes U, books, & playlists. I’ve looked under preferences, etc. and can not seem to find a way to show the apps or to transfer them from one computer to another.

          1/5/11 @ 6:18 pm

          Are you sure you have Home Sharing turned on, or just Sharing? They are two different things. Sharing is in preferences, while Home Sharing is in the Advanced menu on the menu bar.

            Jamie W.
            1/5/11 @ 6:52 pm

            It’s homesharing as under advanced it shows “turn off home sharing” on both computers. I see everything, except apps!

              1/5/11 @ 7:09 pm

              Not sure why you aren’t seeing apps. You are using the latest iTunes on both machines, I presume. And have both machines authorized with each other’s accounts. I can’t think of what would cause you not to see apps.

                Jamie W.
                1/5/11 @ 7:31 pm

                iTUnes 10 on both, have both signed into my iTunes account, I can see each other’s Library, but only shows what I listed above, not apps. I’ve checked all the selections I can under Preferences & Advanced & can’t figure it out either! Very frustrating as I know it should be there! Thanks for your help, I’ll keep trying – maybe a reboot and try again tomorrow!

    1/22/11 @ 2:16 pm

    My 11 year old son has an iTouch and uses our iTunes acct, which has worked so far, because it does allow us to control access to appropriate apps and music. He would like to get his own iTunes acct. (too young) in order to set up a Game Center account, which requires using our personal Apple ID; he would like it to get “achievements” in his free apps. Can I set up his own Apple ID so that his name is linked to game achievements, etc? and are there any risks (privacy, etc) involved?
    Thanks so much!

      1/22/11 @ 3:07 pm

      You can set up his own Apple ID, sure. but you may have to lie about his age to do it. “Privacy” it too broad a term for me to comment on — what specific concerns do you have with him getting his own account and posting scores publicly?

    1/27/11 @ 6:55 am

    It looks like you can help me. We have 2 itouchs and 3 ipods in our house. We all have itunes cards we would like to use individually. Is there a way for each of us to have our own individual itunes store acct. without each having a different email address? It looks like apple wants our appleid to be an email acct. and my ids don’t have their own email. Is this possible or do we just need to use the same account and pool our cards together and just keep track of who spent what on our own? Thanks for your help.

      1/27/11 @ 7:40 am

      I’m pretty sure you need a unique email address per account. You can call Apple and ask. But why not get individual email accounts? Just get some free gmail ones to use?

    3/10/11 @ 10:52 am

    We trusted our 15 yo son to follow our rules, so when we got him a laptop, we allowed him to have his own iTunes account on it. Well, when he turned 16, he apparently decided it was okay to get Explicit content! He has since downloaded 40 explicit songs! I wish there was a way to move them into a playlist that I could lock! I know I can delete them from his account, but how do I now set up a lock on the content? If I go in to his account, he is basically the one in charge of it. So when I edit preferences and set Parental Controls, it’s doing it under him – as administrator; therefore ‘locking’ it isn’t doing anything as he can just go in and unlock it! Is there a way for me to set up restrictions on his account?

      3/10/11 @ 11:00 am

      Not if he is the administrator. You’d have to make him a non administrator to do that. The idea would be to create a new Administrator account. That is yours and don’t share the password with him. Then change his account to a non-admin one. Then set parental controls on it.
      Have you given a listen to some of that “explicit” content? If it is just music, then it comes down to the words in the lyrics. They may not be that bad. Your idea of explicit isn’t necessarily the same as the rules set up by the music industry. I know I’m sometimes baffled by that label on some songs. Movies too. The King’s Speech is rated R, but True Grit is PG-13. Just as an example.

    Emily Johnston
    6/21/11 @ 1:46 am

    okay, I have just bought my 12yr old an ipod touch. She has her own user account on our computer and I would like her to have access to Itunes via her user account so she can use vouchers she has been given and upload her own music. I don’t want her to have full access to my library in case she accidentally deletes something etc. How can we organise this?

      6/21/11 @ 2:15 am

      No good way to do it. You can’t get her her own account yet, at least not legally.
      I would let her use your account. That’s the best way to do it. Just have her use your iTunes account on her Mac account. She can’t delete anything from your side of the Mac (and if she could, you have backups running anyway, right?)
      The only trick will be to keep gift cards straight. If you get one for $10 and she gets one for $10, either use them right away, or coordinate so you know who has how much in thr account.

    Emily Johnston
    6/21/11 @ 2:35 am

    Thanks – that’s clearer.
    How do I set up access for her into my Itunes account through her computer user account (PC not Mac)?

      6/21/11 @ 11:11 am

      Just set up iTunes on her PC and use the same account information. This will give you both access to the iTunes Store using the same account.
      But for giving her access to your music on your Mac it is harder. Read up on Home Sharing as that is the function of iTunes that lets you share music between computers on the same network.

    M. Smith
    8/24/11 @ 9:23 pm

    Hi Gary,

    My son just recently got in ipod and as he is not 13 he is set up as a non administrator (he uses my itunes account). My question is regarding game centre. How do I add friends (myself, his auntie, cousins, etc) in his game centre? Is it possible? It currently only shows 3 options: “Me”, “Friends” (with no option to add friends), and “Games”. There is no “Requests” option.

      8/24/11 @ 10:10 pm

      There are a few people reporting missing “Requests” in forums. But I don’t know of a solution, sorry.

    9/11/11 @ 10:41 pm

    14-yr-old shares my iPod touch account. We’ve both bought apps/music. She wants to know how she gets what she paid for when she moves out.

      9/12/11 @ 6:49 am

      That’s tough. You should start her on her own account ASAP since you “own” what you have both purchased up to now. Music is easy as it is non-DRM and you can just give her the files using Home Sharing for now. Home Sharing works for apps too, though she may need to re-purchase apps when she lives separately to keep them updated. But that is a long way off. I’m sure if you start with a separate account now, then it won’t be an issue many years later.
      See 291:

    9/12/11 @ 1:02 pm

    I’m going to apologize in advance in case this sounds like the same question, but in my head it seems different….
    I have a 10 year old and a 7 year old each with an iPod Touch. My 3 year old also has an old iPod Touch available for her to use. For myself, I have an iPhone and an iPad2. I would like all of us on the same account so we can share purchased apps that we all enjoy. HOWEVER…. how do you suggest handling iTunes gift cards that the older kids might receive? If I put the gift card on our family account, the one sibling could purchase an app using the other’s money. I considered locking out the ability to install apps so that I could monitor the situation, but then I would have to be involved on every free app “purchase” as well – kind of annoying. The best plan would be that our “family account” has no credit card linked to it and no credit balance, then they could download free apps like crazy. When they want to purchase an app, I hoped to “gift” them the app from another iTunes Store account where the gift card balances would be stored, but Apple does not allow you to gift an app using a gift card balance. So that’s a bummer.
    Anyone have any other ingenious solutions?

      9/12/11 @ 2:32 pm

      There’s no good way to handle gift cards. You’ll just have to start your own system of keeping track of the credit for each member of your household.
      Maybe turn it into a teaching experience — my 4th-grader is learning banking and checking in school. You could do the same at home with the real-world example of gift cards and apps. :)

        9/13/11 @ 7:34 am

        Well, tracking gift cards on my own is the easy part. The problem is that once you put the gift card in the account, let’s say it’s $25 and the child who’s gift card it is only spent $5, the account now has a balance of $15. If I’m letting the 7 year old sibling have free reign to download free apps, he would now have $15 to accidentally spend – and it’s happened – a lot – by my 10 year old even. The problem is that they understand that some apps cost money, they just sometimes think they’ve already purchased the app but deleted it, so they re-download it and iTunes charges them if they hadn’t, of course. Apple should really have a different message when you’re actually going to be charged for an app. Plus then there’s the problem of the “15 minute” window, if they’ve already downloaded a free app and put the password in, they get no warning on then BUYING an app (this is more of a problem with the 3 year old who can’t read and the older sibling has let her play with their iPod Touch after recently downloading an app).
        The best solution I can come up with is to maintain 2 iTunes accounts – a “paid apps” one and a “free apps” one. The kids would have free reign on the “free apps” account because no credit card would be attached and no gift card balance would be on it. Then, when they want to actually purchase an app, I would log in on their iPod with the “paid apps” account and download what they want, then log out and log back in with the “free apps” account. I would have to maintain gift card balances separately, but that’s fine as I would be involved in the download anyway.

    10/2/11 @ 8:30 am

    I am 12 years old and have been saving up for the ipod touch 5th gen for when it comes out. My parents won’t buy it for me and nobody in my immediate family has any apple products. Therefore, I will need an iTunes account which requires a credit card. My parents will probably won’t let me connect it to their credit card. any advice?

      10/2/11 @ 10:31 am

      You cannot open an iTunes account at that age (Apple doesn’t allow it). So you are going to have to have an adult open an account you can share.

    10/2/11 @ 4:09 pm

    I am going to get it in December (after I turn thirteen)

      10/2/11 @ 7:07 pm

      Oh, well in that case you can do it. You can use Apple Gift cards to set up an account. You can get those for cash at supermarkets, etc.

    10/3/11 @ 5:11 am

    Thank you but If I do get it in October, can I still use my i touch with out the iTunes account?

      10/3/11 @ 6:35 am

      You can use it, but you won’t be able to get any apps, buy music or videos from iTunes.

    10/3/11 @ 2:02 pm

    Thanks, you have been very helpful.

    10/8/11 @ 3:47 pm

    Now they unveiled the iphone 4s. Will there be an ipod touch 4s? Will it come with siri? Should I wait till the 5 or just get this?

      10/8/11 @ 4:17 pm

      Historically Apple has always come out with an iPod Touch a few months or so after the latest iPhone, and one that matches its processing power. So we can expect a new iPod Touch with an A5 processor in it, yes. No idea if Siri will be a part of it, or that will be an exclusive feature of the iPhone. They never name the iPod touch models — they are all called “iPod touch” and then “3rd gen” or “4th gen” in technical documents. So the next would be the 5th gen.
      The fact that they came out with a new “white” iPod touch just now probably means it is a while until the 5th gen iPod touch — I’d guess 6 months. But that is just a guess.

    10/8/11 @ 4:40 pm

    they said that they will release an ipod tuch with the a5 chip in it but I don’t know if it has siri?

    10/11/11 @ 8:23 pm

    My 10 year old daughter has my old 3gs iphone using it as an ipod. I have an iphone 4. She is connected to my itunes account an we manually sync songs, apps, etc so she can keep her apps and I can have mine separately. I am now concerned with the new ios5 update, that when she purchases a new app or i do it will automatically send to all devices in my itunes account. Is that true? I tried to set her up with her own itunes account and it said she was too young.

      10/11/11 @ 9:37 pm

      You have control over what is synced and what isn’t. You’ll see when you get it.

    10/12/11 @ 1:38 pm

    At this point, we have 2 iPods and 2 iPads. We are about to add a third iPad. My situation is, it’s so hard to sync the iPads! I don’t want all my kids’ apps on my iPad, and I have apps they don’t want, but some we do like to share! Is there a way to keep them separate, but be able to share the ones we pay for, such as a paid weather app, so we can all use them?

      10/12/11 @ 1:40 pm

      Yes. Look into iTunes Home Sharing. It lets you share apps with others in your house that have a different Apple ID.

    10/12/11 @ 1:54 pm

    Isn’t there a limit on how many computers? Our main computer was on home sharing, and was struck by lightning. Can I remove that computer to add the new desktop computer?

      10/12/11 @ 2:00 pm

      Home Sharing involves “authorizing” iTunes to use more than one iTunes account. I believe you can have 5 computers authorized for one account. Not sure if it has changed, but it used to be that you can’t remove computers that no longer exist. You simply wait until you hit the maximum, and then you get an option to de-authorize ALL of them (in iTunes). Then, of course, you re-authorize the ones you want.

        12/1/11 @ 8:07 pm

        If you de-authorize the max five computers allowed & then re-authorize a new computer, will you lose all of your music, apps, video, etc from the iTunes accout?

          12/1/11 @ 8:11 pm

          Lose your music? No. That would by really dangerous. Just re-authorize.

    10/12/11 @ 2:33 pm

    Ok, I will look into the home sharing, and see if I can figure it out. Once I get that far, is it difficult to “share” the apps that we want? I’m new at this, sorry. But thanks so much for all your info!

      10/12/11 @ 2:42 pm

      Well, looking at your original comment: Do you just have the different iOS devices? Or, do you also have different Macs? Or is it just one Mac? Or no Macs.
      Maybe Home Sharing isn’t the right way to do it unless you each also sync with a different Mac.
      But if you are on one Mac, I suppose you would each be using different user accounts, right?

    10/12/11 @ 7:16 pm

    No, pc. I guess I’m stupid – I’ve been working on this iTunes thing all evenning, and boy, is it messed up :-( Epic fail. Hope it can be fixed…

      10/12/11 @ 8:15 pm

      You’re just going to have to experiment once you update the devices to iOS 5. There probably isn’t a perfect solution, but I’m sure you can find something that works.

    10/12/11 @ 8:31 pm

    So where can we see each other’s apps, and how do we share them in home sharing?

      10/12/11 @ 8:41 pm

      It depends on whether you are all using the same Apple ID/iTunes Accounts. If you are, you can see the purchased apps in the App Store app. If not, I’m not sure how you can share them without a computer to use as a go-between. But it is a problem I haven’t thought about too much. I would visit the Genius Bar and spell out the problem and see what they say.

    10/14/11 @ 4:41 pm


    I’m still quite clear about what to do with my kids and iTunes now that they are getting old enough to be on their own. They have shared my account for years, but now I have a new macbook and the iPhone 4S and I want to split them off.

    I don’t want a new account for me since my history has these larger system/phone purchases. I’d rather setup accounts for each of them, but not quite sure what will happen with all of their music and apps. Can I split up the media so each of us have our own? We do not share the media between us anyway due to age, gender and taste — in other words my son does not want my daughters “stuff” and visa-versa.

    Can I setup accounts of each of them and simply copy their data to their computers? I’d imagine I would wipe their devices, remove the iTunes account on their machines, setup new accounts, get the devices working with the new, then import the data?

    Will some media be lost (to them) because of digital rights?

    They each have a couple hundred songs and a couple dozen apps.


      10/14/11 @ 4:51 pm

      All of the music you have should be DRM-free. So you should be able to transfer those to each device. You probably want to look into iTunes Home Sharing to transfer the apps. It will allow you to transfer apps from your computer to theirs. But it may not be necessary. If they log out of your Apple ID on their iOS devices and then create their own, it shouldn’t wipe out the apps or music there. So just make sure they have all the apps they need at the time you do the change. Not sure now with iOS 5.
      You can always experiment with one device, and restore it from a backup if you don’t get the results you want.

    10/21/11 @ 6:35 am

    I have given my son (12) my old 3GS iPhone. He has gone into iTunes to set up a new account and put his date of birth (obviously not knowing there is an age restriction). Access was denied, but now I am trying to set up an account with my details so he can access iTunes and it is not allowing me to – even when I put my real birth date etc in. Do I have to reinstall iTunes to get this access reinstated? If so will it delete my current iTunes Library?

      10/21/11 @ 6:38 am

      No, you don’t need to reinstall (and doing so won’t erase your data anyway). I think you just need to wait for a period of time. Try quitting iTunes. Maybe restart your computer for good measure. And wait a few hours (maybe more?) Then try it.

    10/22/11 @ 6:44 pm

    Hi,my daughter,8, has an iPod touch and enjoys FaceTime with relatives. It is set up as mine on my pc thru my iTunes account. I just got an iPhone 4 and she tried to FaceTime me, but it won’t work. My email address is set up on her iPod touch and my iPhone so I think that is why it will not work. What do I do so we can FaceTime each other?? I am hoping it is easy to understand. I am a fairly new apple person and am so afraid to mess something up. Thanks!!

      10/22/11 @ 7:13 pm

      Go into Settings, FaceTime. At the bottom you should see Add Another Email. See what happens if you add a new email address specifically for her, only on her iPod touch.

    11/22/11 @ 10:13 pm

    So im having the same concern as everyone and my workaround is manually syncing. Quite a pain, but..this cloud thing has my sons apps automatically popping onto my devices. My apps however, are NOT going to his. Can you explain why and how i can keep his apps away from my devices?

      11/22/11 @ 10:20 pm

      It is an option. Sync and go to the summary page for that device in iTunes. There is an automatic syncing option for new apps.

        11/22/11 @ 10:43 pm

        Sync his device and change the option? Or mine?

          11/23/11 @ 7:45 am

          Yours. Yours is the one that is probably set to download all newly purchased apps.

    11/30/11 @ 2:04 pm

    My Mother-In-Law bought my 11 year old son an Ipod touch. Had I known what a can of worms it is I would have asked her to give it to his cousin instead.

    My son is very responsible and mature for his age, so that hasn’t been an issue. But the way Apple has this stuff set up it just doesn’t work gracefully. They won’t let him have his own account, so he has to use mine.

    He gets gift cards which confuse my account totals, something keeps causing my purchased songs to be no longer authorized for my computer. And I can’t sync anything because when I do it starts downloading all of his free and purchased games.

    Since he has no Mac of his own, there is no way back up his iPod (he has more games than I have hard drive space) and no way I can find to just back up important stuff. Syncing fills my hard drive and locks up my Mac.
    Furthermore, most of the games and apps he downloads need daily updating which causes him to beg to be taken to the library, the coffee shop, or wherever he can get broadband access, and to want to stay there for hours while the thing updates. I argued that he could do without that but apparently the thing won’t take no for an answer and is basically unusable until updated.

    Bottom line: While my son loves it, I wish I’d never seen the thing and advise parents to make the iPod touch a “you can have one when you move out and get your own apartment” object. Get him a pony instead. It it’s a lot less trouble.

      11/30/11 @ 2:36 pm

      All of that can be done “right.” There’s no need to have apps he buys download to your devices (it is just a setting). Teach him responsibility by making him keep a simple ledger of gift cards and purchases. You can access a list of every purchase in the iTunes store. Or, you could just set up a separate account (for you) that only he uses, and then a separate user on your Mac for him to use to manage his iPod. Updates can be done over wifi directly to the iPod, so if you have wifi at home then there’s no need to go elsewhere.

    12/18/11 @ 11:44 pm

    We decided to get our 2 very young daughters ipod touches for Christmas. I knew nothing about them prior to this purchase. I thought it would be fun for them to use for games and music (so they would stop begging for my phone). I didn’t realize this thing was capable of so much! Now I am worried. Is there a way to disable or even remove some of the features (internet, facetime, etc)? If I delete the icons will they be gone forever?

    This forum has been really helpful already, but I haven’t seen a question quite like mine. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

      12/19/11 @ 12:07 am

      There are extensive parental controls. Go into Settings, General, Restrictions.

    12/21/11 @ 9:37 pm

    Hi Gary,

    You seem to be the Apple expert!

    We are giving our kids each an iTouch for Christmas.

    This is what I would like to do but I’m not entirely sure if it’s all possible:

    1. We would share music and apps, etc. but I’d like to be able to block some songs that I don’t feel are suitable for them
    2. It would be nice for each child to have their own library
    3. I would like to be able to use FaceTime and iMessage with both of them

    I think, from reading above, that you recommend adding their iTouchs on my account as “mine” and then manually syncing each of theirs with either their own library or playlist but do I need to set up email addresses for each of them so that we can all correspond through FaceTime and iMessage?
    Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    As it stands, we have one computer in our household, wifi network, and I am the only one with an AppleID.

    Hope you are able to assist me…I want to set everything up right so that they open up their new gifts and they are pretty much ready to go.

    Thank you & happy holidays!

      12/21/11 @ 11:07 pm

      There are so many ways to do it. There is no right way. Here’s one.
      Well, you can set them up as “yours” and sync them to your iTunes. But just don’t let them sync them, only you control it. Then you don’t have to worry about which songs they have.
      You could set up 2 more Mac user accounts and then they have their own libraries, but then it gets hard to sync apps and the same music.
      As for FaceTime and iMessage, you will need separate email addresses since you need separate Apple IDs for them to only get messages meant for them. You can’t set each up with a free iCloud account — need to be 13 for that. So maybe free gmail accounts? Or, set each iPod touch up with a separate iCloud account that belongs to YOU, not them. Technically and legally anyway. But use your Apple ID for their App Store and iTunes, don’t purchase anything with those other accounts.

    12/21/11 @ 9:39 pm

    Also forgot to mention…my kids do not have their own email accounts.

    12/23/11 @ 10:28 am

    Thanks for the info…don’t know if it’s my cold but I’m still confused. Tried to set up gmail accounts – won’t let me. I’m using my info (incl. birth date) but it’s somehow wise to me.
    I will try to figure out the additional iCloud account option you mentioned…so I just add the iTouchs to my apple id and set up different iCloud accounts and then we can iMessage & FaceTime each other?? I’m such a rookie (sorry).

      12/23/11 @ 10:34 am

      You can set up FaceTime with different email addresses, yes.
      If you aren’t sure of exactly what you are doing, then maybe some first-hand help is in order. Maybe a visit to the Genius Bar.

    12/23/11 @ 10:46 am

    Thank you again.

    I’m on hold with the Apple Online Store. I can’t get to a Genius Bar before Christmas, unfortunately, so I’m hoping that they will help over the phone.

    Cheyenne Morris
    12/26/11 @ 11:27 am

    I have an iPhone with a large library of music and apps, etc. I just bought my 3 boys, ages 8,6,5, iPod Touches for Christmas. Their devices are under my iTunes account, but we want them to be able to text and FaceTime with me and their siblings, since me and my husband are divorced… The issue I am having is that their Touches are linked to my iTunes account, and it looks like I’m calling… How can I fix so that each child has their own identity for the FaceTime and iMessage? As for the music and apps, I just made them a music folder and set their Touches to only sync that particular folder, and unchecked the apps under the sync, that I didn’t want on their phone, is that the best way to do that? Is there a way to set-up YouTube parental controls? I’m worried about what they will view on the YouTube app…

    12/26/11 @ 3:59 pm

    Hi Gary,
    My son got the iPod touch for Christmas. I have read through the entire chain and am still trying to figure out which option is better: setting up his own iTunes acct or letting him use mine. Would you tell me positives and negatives of both options?

      12/26/11 @ 4:50 pm

      If he is under 13, then he is not allowed to have his own iTunes account. So that might make it easy for you.

    12/26/11 @ 5:18 pm

    We bought ipod touches for each of our kids. Right now I set them all up under my itunes account. When they download apps, will they go on each other’s ipod? I set up a separate email account for them so I think I can figure out the facetime issue. Any other drawbacks to having them on the same itunes account?

      12/26/11 @ 5:47 pm

      If you check off the option to automatically download new apps to that device, then they will automatically get any apps that others buy. But you can simply turn off that option. Then they have to go to the app store and download it manually.

    12/27/11 @ 1:03 pm

    I have a similar question. I have an iphone 4 and itunes account. I just bought i pod touch’s for my 7 & 8 year old kids and connected them to my account. I am separated and the kids will want to download apps when they are with their mother.
    My daughter can currently see text messages of mine on her touch which is alarming (I must have typed in my apple id in her device by mistake). Apparently I need to create Apple IDs for each kid. But should I create their own itunes account or keep it under my account.

      12/27/11 @ 1:32 pm

      You can’t create iTunes accounts for kids under 13. You can change the “Receive At” settings for iMessage in Settings, iMessage. You can download and install apps directly to an iOS device, so there should be no problem there.

    Amy Kulik
    12/27/11 @ 8:59 pm

    Hi Gary,

    Great forum! We got our 10 year old son an iPod Touch for Christmas. Only when trying to set it up did we learn about the age requirement for a gmail address and for Apple IDs. Rather than lie about his age, we decided to go with a kids yahoo account for the email and to use my Apple ID for his Touch. This seemed like it could be ideal, until I realized that if he wants to use Facetime with his friends or we want to use the new free texting over Wifi, it just won’t work since both my iPhone and his iPod Touch are associated with the same Apple ID. I can’t Facetime him and when his friends want to Facetime him, my iPhone gets the call. I am starting to think we need to create another Apple ID for his iPod Touch, but one that only I have the password for so that I can control purchases. However, I am wondering if that will cause problems for both of us being able to share the same apps. Does homesharing solve this problem, i.e. can two different Apple IDs share apps? I haven’t even thought about what to do with syncing his Touch (clearly we didn’t think this through). He definitely doesn’t need to have all my contacts, photos, calendar info, etc., let alone other stuff. I don’t have much on my iPhone in the way of music,video or apps, but that may change. Do you know of a better solution to this issue? Thanks!

      Amy Kulik
      12/27/11 @ 9:15 pm

      BTW, I’m not sure I understand the differences or nuances between managing iTunes accounts, libraries and Apple IDs, but that may be obvious from my question above!

      12/27/11 @ 9:23 pm

      You can set up other email addresses to use for FaceTime and iMessage. Look in their settings in the Settings app. Use his Yahoo email as a “Receive At” address in Messages and “reached for video calls at” in FaceTime.

        Amy Kulik
        12/28/11 @ 3:11 pm

        Thanks Gary! I tried your suggestion and I have detailed my experience below. I had to do some extra things in addition to what you suggested to get this to work, so I thought sharing might help some of your forum readers…

        After reading your response, I went into my son’s Settings and under Facetime it listed my Apple ID and under “reached for video calls at” was my email address. Under email addresses, I added his and removed mine. I tried Facetiming him and his Touch did not ring. Apple sent his email address an email saying that he needed to verify that his email address was truly his, (email showed up on his Touch). I clicked on the verification link and the response on the webpage was that his email was already verified. Retried Facetiming him and it still didn’t ring. I was able to successfully send him email, which he received on his Touch, but still no Facetime. Played around with it some more and got it to work by doing this: in the Settings, under Facetime, I touched on my Apple ID and it asked me if I wanted to sign out. I did. Then I touched my Apple ID again. It took me through a setup process saying something like “People will Facetime you using your email address. What email address do you want to use?” and provided a blank field. I typed in my son’s email address. Even though everything now looked exactly the same in Settings for Facetime as when I first added his email address and removed mine, for some reason Facetime now worked! It was as if we had to go through some new assignment process to get my address ousted and his instated.

        I went through the exact same process for iMessage in settings, but I still could not send him an iMessage. When I selected “send message” under his contact info in My Contacts, it just came up with “text message” and it did not go through to the Touch when sent. So I tried sending an iMessage from his Touch to my email address. It came through on my iPhone and now when I select “send message” from My Contacts for him, it recognizes his email address as one that is valid for iMessage, the “iMessage” box comes up, and it goes through to his Touch!

        I hope this wasn’t too confusing and that it can help some of your readers if they are having a similar experience.

        I am so grateful for your forum. Thanks for taking the time to respond so expertly and thoughtfully to everyone who contacts you!

        Now I just need to figure out how to manage syncing, and what should be shared and not shared between my iPhone and his iTouch. Is there a way to keep his stuff separate from my stuff if we are using the same computer and iTunes account to sync and update our Apple devices? When I read through the posts above, it seemed that most people’s kids were using different computers for their device syncing.

        Thanks again!

          12/28/11 @ 3:38 pm

          Thanks for the info. I’m sure that will help others.
          As for keeping “stuff” separate, that shouldn’t be much of a problem. I have many iOS devices synced to my Mac and I have different apps, songs, videos, and photos on them. Just carefully set each device up in iTunes so that new items don’t automatically sync. Then use each page of sync settings in iTunes for that devices to specify what you want and don’t want to be synced.

            Amy Kulik
            12/28/11 @ 4:35 pm

            From this reply, you will see how much of a naive user that I am!

            I have never used iTunes for anything but syncing my iPhone, and that seemed to magically just work, so I have never done anything in the way of setting up anything (I don’t have a library of music, and until recently, I only had one app on my iPhone). I have looked around on iTunes and I can’t find a menu item anywhere for setting up devices or user accounts. I have seen articles that talk about managing multiple user accounts under one iTunes account, but I can’t find anything that tells me how to create these user accounts or how to set up individual devices. Can you point me to something I can read about setting up multiple devices and/or user accounts under one iTunes account? I am totally confused.

              12/28/11 @ 4:42 pm

              You don’t need to have multiple iTunes accounts to manage multiple devices. Just plug in the device you want to manage, play around with its settings (sync this song, this video, this app, etc). Then remove that device and plug in another one and change its settings.

                Amy Kulik
                1/5/12 @ 12:00 am

                Hi Gary,

                I plugged in my son’s Touch, registered it and synced. After the sync was complete, in iTunes it showed the categories: Music, Movies, TV shows, and Books (I had downloaded an audiobook from our public library). There was no Apps category under his Touch device. There is, however, an Apps category under “Library” (I did not make a separate user account or library and just went for the simple route). Should I see “Apps” under his device when it is plugged in? This made me nervous and I chose to “transfer purchases”, but this transferred the apps to the main “Library”. Was this a bad idea?

                I am now wondering how game data is preserved on multiple devices, i.e. if he plays Tiny Wings on his Touch and I play it on my iPhone, will our progress data get overwritten with the other person’s if we sync our apps? Are apps something that should never be synced? While his Touch was plugged in, I went to Music settings and checked Sync, just to see what would happen (neither of us have any music). I got a message asking if I want to do that because everything on his Touch would be wiped out and replaced with what’s in the library. I am so confused! If we had any music, syncing the music would wipe out the apps? Please tell me I am misunderstanding this process.


                  1/5/12 @ 7:44 am

                  When you select his device you should see tabs on the right: Summary, etc. These are settings. You should see one for Apps for that device.
                  The Library represents the things you have stored on your Mac/PC. You can sync those things with your iOS device. Having copies of his apps in your Library is fine.
                  Game data is stored in one of two ways. First, on the device. It won’t then go from one device to the other, it sticks to that device. Some games store data on the Internet, though. It would be tied to your account. So in those cases you would share data with your son if you use one account — but it has nothing to do with iTunes syncing.

                    Amy Kulik
                    1/5/12 @ 9:52 am

                    I do see the App tabs at the right top. This is only for enabling syncing, right? I guess everything is grayed out because syncing is not enabled?

                    Is backing up different than syncing and does this mean that app game data is not saved during syncing or backing up?

                    If app data is stored on the device, is there any reason to sync apps?

                    Also, can you explain the message that I got when I tried to enable Music syncing? Will it really remove the apps unless I enable syncing for them?

                    Thanks again!

                      1/5/12 @ 10:15 am

                      Right. If you turn off syncing, then the rest of those settings will be grayed out.
                      Backing up is different than syncing. Backing up saves app data, but each device is backed up to its own file.
                      Syncing apps is a good idea as it backs up the app to your computer and makes it easy to pick and choose which apps you have on your device at any time without re-downloading them.
                      Syncing music will literally “sync” the music. So it will take the music you select and put that on your iOS device, replacing what is there now. So if you have something on the iOS device that is not on your computer, then it will be gone. But you should have all of your music on your computer, right?

    1/3/12 @ 7:33 pm

    WOW! First, thanks for all the advice you have been giving. You have given me a lot to work with. I just want to make sure I understand something. If my son (too young for his own account) gets an iPod and then downloads apps/music through my account–
    a. can he download directly to his device using a gift card, without syncing with my computer?
    b. when he is old enough to have his own account, can he take his music and apps with him? If so, how?


      1/3/12 @ 7:44 pm

      Using the gift card and downloading are two different steps. First he would use the gift card, crediting your account with the amount. Then he would buy the app. Both can be done on the device. No need to sync.
      No, there’s really no way to move apps from one account to another. But he can continue to use your account and his account — both can be “authorized” in other words. So he won’t lose those apps. Music isn’t copy protected anymore, so he can take those with him easily by just transferring the songs from your computer to his when the time comes.

    1/6/12 @ 9:33 pm

    I have seven year old twins who were each given an iPod Touch for Christmas. My husband and I each have iPhones for work and a shared iPad for home. I am trying to figure out how we can set up the touches so that my work phone does not have all their games loaded; initially I put in my iTunes account info so they could get started right away and ended up with a ton of apps (at least most were free). I believe they are technically too young (they need to be 13?) for their own accounts although they have received iTunes gift cards. I would like them to be able to use FaceTime as well with me and my husband but again not sure how to set this up; they don’t have email accounts but I could set them up if necessary. Any help is appreciated.

    1/15/12 @ 6:30 am

    I read a fair bit of this topic and decided to register a new separate account via the apple website on behalf of my child, in my own name and age, with no credit card details entered. I included one of the kid’s christmas iTunes voucher cards in the vouchers box during the account sign-up process (in the box under the credit card details, which I let blank). Fundamentally it’s my account in my name.
    This worked as I wished. It was done while also upgrading the device from iOS4 to iOS5. I changed the iTunes on the mac from my account to the new “on behalf of” account, launched the iOS5 upgrade which had been nagging me to do, it backed up the old device first, installed iOS5, and restored whatever complied with policy from the old account. This turned out to be the personal photos and videos previously taken, mail settings and privacy settings at least, but not any non-default apps installed under my own account which was on it prior to the changeover, no music (I only had some non-iTunes mp3s on it), and apparently no game score data. Don’t know about iTunes videos and songs, none were downloaded under my account.
    For me this is perfect. The kid’s unit has only the $s from the voucher on it and no credit card to dip into, but they can install free apps to their heart’s content, plus I still get to set tight parental controls via the “parental controls”. I can install whatever apps on mine without them appearing on theirs, and vice versa, and they can spend their money their way and get free stuff without bugging me for a password every time a new app goes cool.
    The name and birthday seem to be later-modifiable, so I can correct it later in life when the kid is of suitable age for a handover. But if that capacity gets locked out, it won’t hurt me much anyway.
    So that worked for me.
    There were no apps from my own account still installed on the iPod after the changeover, and I received numerous “you can’t associate this unit with more than one account” type warnings during the process. I don’t see how apps from two accounts can be successfully loaded onto one iPod, as seems to be discussed above. Wouldn’t mind it if could, but not a high priority for me, and I can’t see why apple would allow such generous usage breadth. Are there multiple user experiences of apps from two accounts being blended into one device?

    Daniel Casey
    2/28/12 @ 8:03 am

    I’m trying to make an Apple ID account for myself but it comes up with… You cannot create an Apple ID account because you don’t meet the minimum age requirement. I’ve tried multiple years and dates but none of them have worked. Can you please get back to me A.S.A.P

    Tracy Tyson
    3/14/12 @ 4:45 am

    I am trying to set up my old IPhone 4 for my daughter. So far, so good. I did not want to wipe the phone and set up her own account, because (1) She’s only 12 and (2) I wanted to make sure that she kept all the apps that she had previousy downloaded on what was my phone.

    The problem I am now having is that although I have changed the email address, IOS5 does not seem to recognise it as her friends, cannot seem to send her messages from their IPods, nor can I using my IPhone 4S. I am obviously missing something, but I cannot work out quite what. Can anybody help please?

    Bobby C
    4/23/12 @ 2:02 pm

    My son has an iTunes account for his 2nd Gen iPod Touch which unfortunately died after falling, so I’ve bought him a new one for his 13th birthday.

    As he was under age at the time, the account was set up using my e-mail address and password & consequently I had to enter it every time he wanted to download something (even free stuff), even though the money in his iTunes account was from prepay iTunes cards.

    As he will be old enough, I was going to set up his new one with his own e-mail address, but will the apps he bought for his old one upload from the computer to the new Touch, or not because it’s a different account?

    Thanks in advance…

      Bobby C
      4/23/12 @ 2:16 pm

      Oops, just read some more posts above & looks like apps can’t come across to a new account. Shame – will have to leave his new account ’til after his birthday so he can have the choice what he wants to do… Thanks anyway…

    Michael T
    5/16/12 @ 9:32 am

    My wife and I recently purchased an iPod Touch for my 10yr old son. He is sharing my iTune account for the device and is able to download music and apps via my account or my wife’s account. The problem we are having concerns access to text messeges sent by me and my wife. If he conducts a search for my name or my wife’s he is able to see “recent” (i don’t know how far back they go) text messeges. We aren’t sexting, but we are discussing issues we don’t want him to read. We have taken the iPod away from him until we figure out a way to stop this issue. Any suggestions?

      5/16/12 @ 9:47 am

      Turn off messages in Settings, Messages, iMessage. To turn it back on again, he would need your password.
      You could also always set up another account for yourself — and then let him use that account instead of your primary one.

    7/13/12 @ 9:32 am

    Hello! I am heading to college in the fall, and I would like to open my own itunes account. I already have an iphone and multiple ipods, but they’ve been synced under my mother’s account. Will I lose all of my apps and music if I create my own account?

      7/13/12 @ 7:02 pm

      You should be able to use Home Sharing to get the apps and music from your mother’s account to your new iTunes account. Of course they may just remain there once you switch too.

    Amy Kulik
    7/16/12 @ 12:33 pm

    Hi Gary,

    You were a great help to me in January, so I hope you can help me now :-).

    I have an iPhone and my son has an iPod Touch. Both of these use the same Apple ID/account (son is 10), and you helped us to get his FaceTime and iMessage set up to his own email address (which has been working great, BTW).

    Here is our new problem … my son has been playing a game since January called Dragonvale that uses Game Center. He has never logged out of Game Center since signing up, until today when I was trying to help him with something and inadvertently logged him out. He has forgotten his Game Center password. Since Dragonvale uses Game Center in order to play, he will have lost 7 months of game progress if I can’t figure this out. If he tries to log back in to Game Center, it asks for the Apple ID (not his Game Center nickname), but when I put my Apple ID and password in, it says that there is no Game Center account for my Apple ID. I do not remember how he got his Game Center account originally, but he did have a user/nick name just for Game Center. There does not seem to be a way to retrieve a forgotten Game Center password as far as I can see. I have checked numerous support boards and it seems many people have this same problem and have not found a solution. Also, since it doesn’t recognize my Apple ID in Game Center, I am not sure how his Game Center account was set up in the first place. I hope you have some experience with this that you can pass on to us!

    Thanks so much,


      Amy Kulik
      7/16/12 @ 1:39 pm


      After 5 hours, I found something that worked. Here is the info from another message board that I successfully used to fix this problem…

      Enter your Game Center user id in the Game Center Apple ID field. Then repeatedly enter anything into the password until it says you have entered the password incorrectly too many ties and you need to reset it. Choose reset. After game center asked you to reset the password, it will take you to a link where it will ask for your Apple ID. DONT put your Apple ID there, instead put the username your son created for the GameCenter. Then just follow the prompt, fill up his birthday (considering he really did use his real birthday for signing up) then it will ask for the answer to his secret question.

      It will then ask you for a new password. Create one and you can now use again the account that he created.

      I hope this helps people out there!

    7/16/12 @ 1:36 pm

    He must have used another Apple ID to sign into GameCenter. Without remembering that ID, or the email address used by that ID, there’s not much you can do.

    Amy Kulik
    7/16/12 @ 1:46 pm


    One more question. As mentioned earlier, I have an iPhone and my son has an iPod Touch. They both use the same Apple ID account for purchasing apps, music, etc (son is only 10 so doesn’t have his own Apple ID/account). Everything my son has purchased was through his iPod Touch, not our computer. I have never symced apps for him, but he is running out of room on his Touch. Can I solve his space problem by syncing his apps? If so, since there are currently no Apps in his iTunes library on the computer (as he purchased them on his Touch) will syncing wipe out what is on his iPod Touch?

    Thanks again,


      7/16/12 @ 2:34 pm

      I don’t see how syncing will help. Syncing would copy the apps to his iTunes library. But they would still be on his iPod taking up space. He can get rid of them off his iPod if he no longer needs them. Syncing them to iTunes will mean there is a copy on that Mac, but that doesn’t really help. Re-loading previously deleted apps from the Mac or from the iTunes store directly on the iPod will accomplish the same result.
      What should concern you, though, is whether he has ever backed up that iPod. If he has never synced, then probably not. Or, maybe he has used iCloud online backup. Or, maybe backing up isn’t important if he is only 10 and just plays games.

        Amy Kulik
        7/16/12 @ 5:23 pm

        I was thinking that I could sync his apps to his iTunes library (which currently has no apps in it), then he could delete the apps (i.e. games) on his iPod that he doesn’t use on a regular basis. If he wants them back, I figure he could just get them from the computer (it’s a PC). I have backed up and synced his iPod, but did not enable syncing apps. I wonder if I load/sync the apps to the computer, and he deletes them from the iPod Touch, will he lose his game progress? To alleviate his space problem temporarily, I downloaded all his photos and video to the computer and then we deleted them from the Touch.
        You mention that we could get his deleted apps from the iTunes store or the computer if we delete them on his Touch but wouldn’t we need to pay again if we got them from the iTunes store?
        Also, someone told me that syncing makes your iPod match your computer, not the other way around, so it would wipe his apps out on his Touch, when in fact, I want to get the apps on his Touch copied onto the computer iTunes library.

          7/16/12 @ 5:37 pm

          There’s little point to syncing apps that way. If he wants an app back, he can just go to the app store and re-download it. If you sync to the PC, then want it back several months later, chances are that the app will be an old version by then anyway.
          You don’t need to pay again. Your iTunes account knows what you have purchased and you can re-download purchased items without paying again.
          Syncing would not wipe out the apps. But I don’t see any advantage to it in your case.

            Amy Kulik
            7/17/12 @ 12:45 am

            I’m calling them apps, but they are actually games. I don’t know where the game progress is stored, so I have the following questions:
            1. Does deleting the game from the iTouch delete his game progress as well or is that stored elsewhere (for non-Game Center games)?
            2. Would syncing the games to the PC save the progress data, such that it could be restored if we put it back on his iTouch later?
            Thanks for always making things clear and putting things in perspective!

              7/17/12 @ 6:59 am

              1. Maybe. It depends how the developer stores game progress. If they use Game Center or some other server-based storage, then the progress is safe. If they store locally, then deleting the app will delete the progress. But if that game’s progress is so important, it would be less likely that that app would be deleted from the iPod. I’d imagine only games that you are “done with” would be deleted.
              2. No.

    7/19/12 @ 10:33 am

    We have an Ipad. Our kids recently got iPod Touch. How do we setup Fecetime and imessage using their own email address, but the same apple ID?

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