How to Share Purchased Apps, Music or Games with Your Family on Android

One problem with digitally downloaded media is the inability to share it. Unlike physical games, books, and CDs, digital goods are usually tied to an account and can’t be shared outside of it. While good for people supplying the products, customers are left high and dry with no way to share what they love.

Recently, we’ve seen companies open up to sharing digital media, even if it’s quite heavily restricted. This is the case of Google Family Library which allows users to share their Google Play media among members of their family.

If you’re interested in sharing media with your family, how do you set it up?

Getting Started

You can set up family sharing via a browser or through the Google Play app. Once you have started the process, both methods will guide you through in a nearly identical way. Don’t worry too much about which to use!

On the Web

Activating this feature using a web browser is very simple: go to the Google Play store, then click “Account” on the left.


Under the “Family” header click “Sign up for Family Library.”


On an Android Device

To do this on an Android device, open the Google Play app and tap on the three bars beside the search bar on the home page.


Go to “Account.”


Here, go to “Family.”


Finally, select the only option here, “Sign up for Family Library.”


Setting Up the Family

Regardless of whether you’re using a computer or on Android, the rest of the steps are very similar. For the first few screens read the details and move to the next step when you’re ready. Eventually, you’ll come across the following page.


This will allow you to set up a default paying option which your family can use to make purchases in the Google Play store. If you’re not keen on the idea of your kids racking up vast bills on games, you can set it to ask you to confirm payments before any money leaves your account. If you want to read more in-depth information about how Google handles a shared payment method, check their support page on the topic.

After you’ve set up a payment method, you’re asked to invite your family.


Make sure everyone you want to invite is thirteen or over and has a Google account. You can invite up to five people to be in your family.

Once done, Google will ask if you want to share all your family-compatible content immediately. If you don’t want to do this, don’t worry – you can add each item individually later on!

Sharing Media

So now you have your Google Family set up, and you’re ready to share media. The question is, “How?”

Unless you chose the “Share All Media” option during setup, no media will be shared whatsoever. To share media, it has to have been purchased using the payment method tied to the family account. If you used an alternate payment method, such as a personal card or PayPal, you won’t be able to attach media you bought with it to your family account.

You also have to make sure Family Sharing is enabled for your media and that you bought it on or after the 2nd July 2016, the date when Family Sharing went live. Media that’s compatible with Family Library will have a little house symbol in its additional information. When accessing Google Play on a browser, the house symbol looks like the following image.


Via the Google Play app, it looks like this:


If something fits all of these restrictions, you should see a “Family Library” toggle underneath the download buttons on its Google Play store page. Simply switch this on to share your media. You can stop sharing a piece of media by simply toggling this off again.

Share and Share Alike

With more and more of our media becoming digital, it’s hard to share what we love with others. With Google Play’s Family Library, you can invite the whole family and share media with one another while also keeping tabs on any purchases your children make.

Do you use family sharing features? Would you? Let us know below.

Simon Batt
Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.

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