Our household now has more Apple devices than people and when that happens it’s easy to get your iLife in a tangle. Recently my iPad was inviting me to my husband’s meetings and over Christmas my son’s iPhone photos automatically uploaded onto the family computer. Granny was a bit upset.
The secret to controlling what you share is your Apple ID.
Unlike your computer, your iPhone or iPad can only have one owner and it knows who you are by an email address that you have registered with Apple, called your Apple ID.
When your device is online it can be set to constantly send your data (your emails for this address and your diary dates, contacts, photos, videos and browser bookmarks) to Apple, who store it on their server and forward it on to any other device registered with the same Apple ID. Apple call this your iCloud account.
Where it goes wrong is when someone is using a device registered to a different person’s Apple ID. The new user may have added their own email account, but the device will still upload photos and sync diaries with the registered Apple ID.
So, unless you want to share every detail of your life, everyone should have their own Apple ID.
At the risk of complicating things, it’s worth pointing out that the account you have with Apple for buying music, movies and apps – your iTunes Store account – is a different thing altogether. Often you will have registered the same email address (as your Apple ID), but the two are quite independent. So if you want to you can have a single iTunes account for all the family, allowing you to educate younger generations about real music and proper movies, without receiving Facetime requests from their friends.