Our grandson, already smitten by Apple’s products, turns eleven next week. After careful discussion with his parents, we thought that we would buy him an iPad Mini, to give him important tools for when he starts at high school in a few weeks.
The iPad arrived a day early, and I checked that it was ready for him to perform the ceremonial unboxing when he visited, just a few days before his actual birthday. When he came round, I called him in, he enjoyed the nerdy thrill of the unboxing, then I swiftly took the iPad from him and secured it inside a Griffin Survivor case: I remember being that age and did not want him to call on the AppleCare+ cover unnecessarily. We plugged it into the power supply, and got on with setting it up.
I knew that creating him an Apple ID was going to be interesting. When the setup procedure reached that point, it recommended that I did so through Family Sharing, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Although I would have preferred him to have a ‘credit only’ account, I was quite happy to guarantee his purchases against my account and card.
Unfortunately, as I was happily working my way through the screens to do that, I was asked to confirm that I was his parent or legal guardian. Being neither, just a doting grandparent, it scuppered that plan.
Although both his parents have Apple IDs, his Mum did not have the bank card for her account, and could not go through this Family Sharing procedure there and then. When she got home and could do so, she too found the path blocked: because she (wisely) uses a debit card with her Apple ID account, the process would not accept that as a guarantee that she was over 18, and she was refused.
We get so used to Apple’s processes and procedures being slick and easy that it was frustrating that this nearly-eleven-year-old was unable to open Pages or Numbers (which I wanted him to see) or GarageBand (which he was more excited by).
The impasse was quickly resolved by Apple support. If you have not used this recently, you are in for a wonderful surprise. I entered my details and phone number on the Support Request page, and a few seconds later the phone rang, and I explained the problem.
The solution was simple: his Mum created a regular Apple ID for him on his iPad, using his normal email address, and without any credit purchase facility. He took that over, and she could then add it later to their Family Sharing. It is slightly cumbersome, but does the job perfectly. He is now off on his next step to the future.
It would be really good if Apple was to make access to this path a little easier: we could have done this straight after the unboxing, but its ‘helpful’ information provided during setup led us astray.