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Syncing two iPhones, two users, and one shared iPad2 with iCloud, iOS5

Posted on 2011-10-15
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I'm a little confused over the relationship between iTunes-to-device syncing and iCloud-to-device syncing and how they overlap (if not the same).

My wife and I each just got an iPhone 4S. Previously, we did not have iPhones, but we did share one iPad2. I am curious what the best way to sync our devices is going forward given the following scenario:

We used to share the iPad, and still do. We both have many apps and data (notes, pictures, etc) that we share on the iPad. We have used one iTunes account for everything to date, my iTunes account.

However, now that we both have iPhones with iCloud, the first thing I noticed when I synced my iPhone with my computer using my iTunes account, is that all of our shared data/apps from the iPad are now synced to my iPhone.

My wife created her own iTunes account for use with iCloud, so that we could each get 5GB of storage, vs sharing the same account like we do on the iPad. However, she would like to sync with the iPad content going forward (since she's the primary user of the iPad, even though it had previously used my iTunes account). I imagine there's a way to just un-pair it from my account and pair it to hers? Any unintended consequences to this? Alternatives?

The other issue is that with iCloud, I presume that all the pictures that she takes of our kids with her phone will be stored to her iCloud account, and all of my pictures of the kids to mine. Is there a way to sync just our pictures with one anothers', but keep the rest of our data from the devices silo'ed in our respective iCloud accounts (notes, to-do lists, apps, etc)?
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Question by:uzzidesign
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Assisted Solution

by:Aaron Tomosky
Aaron Tomosky earned 400 total points
ID: 36973352
Short answer, nope. Apple didn't bother to think of situations like this. Even if you remove the iPad from the situation its still a pita for users. Icloud will sync pics to all devices on and iTunes account. Not across accouts. However this doesn't mean you cant just manually copy all your pictures to a desktop computer like you should be for backups anyway.
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by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 36973403
Short answer above is mostly right.  The longer answer is that it requires some rejiggering.

Rather than share one iTunes account, create two accounts (user profile) and use Home Sharing to handle the distribution of content between the two phones.  The iPad can remain on the primary account with sharing used to divvy up some of the stuff there.

Also: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Other/Expert_Lounge/Q_27326602.html
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by:uzzidesign
ID: 36973426
Also: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Other/Expert_Lounge/Q_27326602.html
Heh, thanks for the relief, Jason. Too true.

I guess I was hoping for some kind of "shared" folder a la Dropbox, where we could designate our photos be sync'ed to their by default.
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Author Comment

by:uzzidesign
ID: 36973435
Yeah, I think I'll just copy both our iCloud pics to the local iPhoto repository. I'm just not sure yet how that existing repository will interact with iCloud, if at all.

So, any unintended consequences awaiting me if I go ahead and un-pair the iPad from my account and pair to her new iTunes/iCloud account?
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 36973486
I wouldn't do that until you are reasonably sure that home sharing and other measures are displaying "her" content on her iTunes instance.  Once you can see that stuff, it should be okay to switch ownership as she won't lose all that much. Stuff like email accounts would need to be recreated, too.

Remember, switching ownership of the device causes iTunes to wipe it.  Backups, backups, backups.  
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 36973505
Also she will have to switch accounts constantly to upgrade her apps. It's really really annoying. Even free apps get "purchased" and tied to an account.
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by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 36973515
Yeah, there is that.
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by:uzzidesign
ID: 36973537
I'm still a bit confused about the home sharing, never used it before.

I wouldn't do that until you are reasonably sure that home sharing and other measures are displaying "her" content on her iTunes instance.

"Her" content on "the" iPad is currently associated with my iTunes account. Her content on Her iPhone is currently associated with Her iTunes account. Home sharing would presumably be set up with my Apple ID on our computers, no? What would the scenario look like when she syncs her iPhone to a computer that has iTunes logged in with my Account, presuming it's the "shared" account? Unless home sharing allows different iTunes instances to be logged into different Apple IDs and still "share" from a specified iTunes account?
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Jason C. Levine earned 1600 total points
ID: 36974257
Okay, before too much else:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3819 (Understanding Home Sharing)
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1203 (iTunes: How to share music between different accounts on a single computer)

Since the iPad is owned by you (the original account), it should probably stay there.  Stuff like apps, books, movies, music can be shared between the two accounts on the machine (second link).  The problems are going to be the two users/single machine...that scenario works best if you have one Apple ID to share between the two users.  Each device is recognized independently and synched that way.  

Two AppleIDs/two machines is ideal for Home Sharing since each user can pull what they want from the other person (first link).

My son and I are running under the same AppleID and sync to my computer.  My wife uses a different ID and her laptop to sync and we use Home Sharing to trade music, apps, whatever.  

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Author Closing Comment

by:uzzidesign
ID: 36984053
Thanks, Jason. Here's what I ended up doing:

Sharing the same Apple ID between all devices so that we can share apps. What I realized is that you can either selectively download from the App Store the purchased Apps you want (vs. syncing) on each device, or, in your settings you can tell it to automatically push all new purchases to your other devices (or not).

Separate iCloud ID for my phone, and separate one for my wife's phone which is also used on the iPad (so her iPad and iPhone can be synced over iCloud).

I guess I just didn't originally realize you could separate your iCloud ID from your App Store ID. On top of that, I'll have her iCloud photo stream to the iPad and her computer, and my photo stream to my computer. Via home sharing, I can then copy photos from one album to the other to consolidate.
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Author Comment

by:uzzidesign
ID: 36994343
K, one last clarifying question, if you guys are game ...

Does iCloud only sync my calander, contacts, apps, and Photostream? Further, am I to understand that on my desktops, the only files that are sort of "synced" are Photos and music via "Home Sharing"?

Ideally, does iCloud have a means of syncing other files on my Macs yet like how Dropbox installs a folder in the finder that syncs the contents across all devices?
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 36994414
To be honest, I'm unclear on iCloud's full capabilities and if Apple makes a distinction between "sync" and "backup".  I know it will backup music and also sync documents under Pages, Numbers, Keynote and I'm assuming the rest of the app devs will get API hooks over time.

I don't think iCloud has the DropBox sharing method enabled but logging into the same account from multiple devices should be supported.  But to the best of my knowledge, you can't designate a part of user A's iCloud to be shared with user B in the same way that I can designate a file or folder on my DropBox to be shared with any other user via email.
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