Google Family Library – signup and save money

Google Play Family LibraryMany of us just stick to free apps and games but there are a large number of paid apps that are well worth the small outlay to get. It can get a little more costly if other members of your family buy the same app or game, so Google recently introduced a great feature called the Family Library. This enables you to share downloaded apps, games, books, music etc with up to 5 family members to avoid having to pay for them again.

Setting up the family library is quite straightforward – here’s how to do it.

  1. Open the Play Store app on your phone or tablet
  2. In the top left, tap Menu Menu and then Account and then Family and then Sign up for Family Library.
  3. Follow the instructions on screen to set up your Family Library. If you aren’t part of a family group, you’ll need to create one first.

Note: Everyone in your family needs to follow the instructions above to set up Family Library.

One person must be set up as the Family Manager, requirements for this person are that they must:

  • Have a valid credit card set up to use as the family payment method.
  • Live in one of the countries listed under “supported countries” – at the time of writing this has been introduced in 12 countries and I assume that if it isn’t yet available to you the Family Library feature will not show up in your store app.
  • Not be part of another family group on Google.

As mentioned above, you need to have a payment method set up first which just means some method of payment. A credit card is fine because you have to enter your Google password before any purchase can be completed. Go to Account – Payment methods to set this up. If you can’t remember your password, just reset it using the recovery options you set up when the account was created. You did set up one or more recovery options didn’t you?

To join a family group, you must meet these requirements:

  • Have a Google Account. If you’re under 13, your family manager needs to create a Google Account for you.
  • Live in the same country as the family manager.
  • Not be part of another family group on Google.

Once you have set up the library, you can invite family members, change settings like always adding items to the library (this is turned on by default) and individually remove items that are shared. I’ve left mine to share any new app or game so that my wife can easily just install something if required. When she goes to the Google store and looks up an app or game she sees ‘Andy added this to Family Library’.

Note that not all apps can be shared, I presume this depends on if the app developer has approved it. Developers now cannot completely opt out of Family Library, but they can opt out any purchases made prior to 2nd July 2016, so apps bought prior to that date may not be shareable.

One other thing to check – and again this is set by default so it shouldn’t need to be changed – is to set purchase approvals to only paid content for younger family members. This means that the family member needs your approval for all purchases including apps or items sold inside apps and games. Just in case! Check this by tapping Manage family members, then their name then Purchase Approvals. This should already be set to ‘Only paid content in Google Play’.

I think this is a generous approach that Google has taken so we can save some money and share purchases with our family members. It effectively means that 6 people can benefit from the one purchase. Thanks Google!




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About the Author : Andy describes himself as "an older geek" and has been assisting seniors with understanding technology for many years. He is involved with his local seniors computer club and believes that seniors appreciate assistance from those of a similar age group.

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Thanks, Andy

1 Comment on Google Family Library – signup and save money

d said : Guest Report one year ago

Stumbled across your blog today and review your apps review and tips and tricks. Excellent resource. Please review android apps that block unwanted / robo phone calls.

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