LG’s premium smartwatch now comes with LTE and mobile payments

LG Watch Urbane LTE

Believe it or not, LG already has an upgraded version of its luxurious Watch Urbane: meet the Watch Urbane LTE, a souped-up version that focuses on speedy mobile data. The timepiece (which isn’t using Android Wear) isn’t as substantial a phone replacement as Samsung’s Gear S, but it will let you leave your handset at home sometimes. You can make LTE phone calls, share your GPS location, translate foreign speech and hold walkie talkie-style voice chats. LG has also upgraded the battery from 410mAh to a hefty 700mAh, so your cellular wristwear shouldn’t conk out prematurely.

This isn’t a one-trick pony, either. Besides the addition of GPS, the Urbane LTE is one of the first smartwatches beyond the Apple Watch to include NFC-based mobile payments. So long as there’s proper support (LG isn’t going into details yet), you can tap your wrist to pay instead of fishing your phone out of your pocket. And you may have noticed that there are three buttons on the side instead of the regular Urbane’s one — those are for navigation and quick settings, LG says. There’s no mention of when you can get the Watch Urbane LTE, but you can be sure that we’ll take a closer look at it when Mobile World Congress kicks off next month.

LG Watch Urbane LTE

Juggling Too Many Remotes? Try This Touch Screen

How many remotes does it take to watch television, stream Netflix or record your favorite show on DVR? The Ray Super Remote wants to declutter your coffee table and become the central nervous system of all of your home entertainment systems.


The touch-screen device, released Tuesday, is designed to control TVs, cable boxes, DVRs, video game consoles and Internet streaming players such as Roku and Apple TV. What’s more, it runs on software  that learns viewers’ preferences so it can list programs suited to personal interests.

“As we looked at ways to reimagine TV, it seemed like the remote control needed the most help,” says David Skokna, CEO of New York-based Ray Enterprises. “We think we have a big opportunity to do something magical.”

Priced at $199, the remote won’t be released until May or June, but pre-orders are being accepted online at http://www.ray.co. It requires a Wi-Fi system and pay-TV boxes to work properly.

This isn’t the first attempt to build a smarter remote control. Logitech and a few other electronics companies have been making universal remote controls for years. More recently, a variety of mobile  apps have been offering ways to turn smartphones and tablets into multipurpose remote controls.

After nearly three years developing his device, Skokna is counting on the Ray remote’s versatility and intelligence to stand out from the other options on the market.

The Ray remote controls more than 200,000 devices and can run applications that will enable it to control other Internet-connected home appliances, such as Google’s Nest thermostat. The search and recommendation features are set up to eliminate the need to spend a lot of time looking for content. Users can tell the remote what kinds of programming interests them, such as soccer or comedy, so shows fitting those categories are automatically highlighted on the nearly 5-inch screen.

The remote’s battery lasts for about 10 days, and can be easily recharged in a power station that doubles as a holding tray.

The biggest question facing the Ray remote may be this: How many people are so frustrated with juggling multiple remote controls that they will be willing to spend $199 on another device?


Infected Android Apps From Google Play Affect Millions

Infected Android Apps From Google Play Affect Millions

Google’s app scanning process may have missed the malware because “they rely mostly on static code analysis and the app in question may have used a ‘time bomb’ method — waiting a period of time before downloading and executing the malware,” said Patrick Murray, vice president of products at Zimperium.

Millions of Android users have been hit by malware posing as games on Google Play, according to Avast security researcher Flip Chytry.

The malware harbors fake ads that pop up when users unlock their devices, to warn them about nonexistent infections, or that their devices are out of date or have porn.

Victims are then asked to take action. If they agree, they are redirected to poisoned Web pages that contain dubious app stores, or apps that try to send premium SMS messages — which are expensive — without their knowledge, or apps that collect scads of personal information on the sly.

Sometimes users were directed to legitimate companies’ websites, or to security apps on Google Play, but even if they install these security apps, the unwanted ads keep on popping up.

“Some of the malware lies quiet for up to 30 days before activating,” Chytry said.

Google spokesperson Elizabeth Markman did not confirm how many devices had been hit.

“Our techniques for protecting Google Play users continue to improve, and are reflected in the low numbers of users who install potential malware from the Google Play Store,” Markman stated.

About the Apps Breaking Bad

The Durak card game app was the most widely downloaded of the malicious apps, Chytry said, adding that Google Play’s statistics showed it had been installed between 5 million and 10 million times.

All the apps mentioned by Avast had been suspended, Markman told TechNewsWorld.

The Durak app had been removed from Google Play when TechNewsWorld checked at 8:43 a.m. PT today, but was available when checked at 12:06 p.m. PT.

Google Protection

“We scan apps as they are uploaded to Google Play, running each app to detect and remove malware, spyware and Trojans from Google Play,” Markman told TechNewsWorld.

That scanning is done by Bouncer, a service Google implemented in 2012.

Google can then disable developer apps and accounts if they violate its terms and content policies.

“Our goal is to provide people with an extra layer of protection while still maintaining Android’s openness and developers’ workflow,” Markman remarked.

What Went Wrong?

Google’s app scanning process may have missed the malware because “they rely mostly on static code analysis and the app in question may have used a ‘time bomb’ method — waiting a period of time before downloading and executing the malware,” Patrick Murray, vice president of products at Zimperium, told TechNewsWorld.

This is a core vulnerability when it comes to apps, Murray pointed out, because all mobile apps must communicate frequently with a server to complete updates, receive instructions and perform other tasks.

Additionally, Google’s scanning services are not adequate because scanning “is only as good as the signature database it has from the service provider,” Andrew Blaich, lead security analyst at Bluebox Labs, said. “It takes several different malware scanning programs to catch all known malware on a device since they all scan for different things.”

Google’s policy of openness is the problem because the resulting business model and architecture “make Android very difficult for them to secure,” Murray said.

Anatomy of a Takedown

In April 2014, Google enhanced its “Verify” apps to continually check devices to make sure all apps are behaving in a safe manner even after they’re installed.

However, this service “only works after an app is identified as bad,” Blaich told TechNewsWorld.

Google’s “Bouncer” service “works more along the lines of risk management,” Blaich remarked. “If enough red flags show up, then an app becomes a candidate for takedown.”

Protecting The Enterprise

Malware downloaded onto BYOD devices “can easily compromise the enterprise network by stealing corporate credentials or simply bringing the compromised device back onto the network,” Zimperium’s Murray warned.

Businesses “need to think about expanding their BYOD initiatives to go beyond simple management of devices, and employ solutions on the device that prevent these types of cyberattacks,” Murray suggested. For example, they could monitor devices continuously so malware “is caught whenever it is delivered, even if it tries to lie and wait for a period of time before detonation.”

By Richard Adhikari

A website that transforms a YouTube song in to guitar chords


Chordify is a free online music service – made for and by music enthusiasts – that transforms music from YouTube, Deezer, SoundCloud or your private collection, into chords. Our service automatically recognises chords from the audio signal, and aligns them to the music in a simple and intuitive player. Chordify is a cutting edge service that helps both novice and trained musicians to play the music they want to play, making state-of-the-art music technology available to the public at large.

Experience a simple and beautiful chord extractor that helps you play any song. Click here

Technology behind Chordify

We’ve done our best to make our website simple and easy to use, even though there is some complex technology behind Chordify. Our website is built using up to the minute web development techniques, like HTML5 audio etc.

Behind the scenes, we use the sonic annotator for extraction of audio features. More specifically, we extract the NNLS chroma features developed by Matthias Mauch using the Chordino VAMP plugin. These features describe the tonal content of a piece of music. Next, a Haskell program HarmTrace then takes these features and computes the chords. For this to happen, HarmTrace uses a model of Western tonal harmony to aid in the chord selection. At beat positions where the audio matches a particular chord well, this chord is used in the final transcription. However, where there is uncertainty about the sounding chords at a specific position in the song, the HarmTrace harmony model will select the correct chords based on the rules of tonal harmony.

Chordify fosters open-source software. Not only do we use open-source software packages like GHCPHPSoXsonic annotator and MongoDB, but we also give back a large share of the in-house developed technology to the music information retrieval research community via open-source software projects like HarmTrace and scientific publications.

Chordify could not have been realised without the support of Utrecht University.

What Is Android TV, and Why Was Google TV Killed?

Long live the king, sneered Android TV as it threw Google TV off the cliff and into a herd of stampeding wildebeests.

Well, not exactly, but Android TV is replacing the now-five-year-old Google TV. And it’s not just an update — it’s a complete remake. Only a tiny fraction of Google TV devices will be updated to Android TV.

For all intents and purposes, Android TV is a new beast. Google is, once again, coming for your living room. So what exactly is this new technology, and how can you get your hands on it?

What Is Android TV?


It’s an operating system (OS). It’s a version of Android 5.0 Lollipop made just for TVs. But what that means for the average consumer is a much more cohesive relationship between all their smart devices.

This OS will come built-in to some TVs in 2015, and also in the form of set-top boxes to magically transform your normal TV into a smart TV. The set-top box arena is already pretty crowded, with options like the Roku (our review), Apple TV (our review), and Amazon Fire TV (our review) all offering compelling products. Some TVs by Hisense and TCL already ship with Roku TV built-in, just like what Google is trying to get manufacturers to do with Android TV.

As for a set-top box already running Android TV, look no further than the Nexus Player. It has received mostly lukewarm reviews since its release in November 2014, mostly due to a lack of apps and lack of TV pass-through — but as the OS matures and more hardware manufacturers get on board, those problems will surely fade away.


Android TV, in fact, supports the Google Play Store and the wealth of apps there. The biggest problem is that developers have to design a 10-foot user interface version of their apps if they want them to be usable and enjoyable on the big screen.

The good news is that since Android TV is linked so closely to standard Android 5.0 Lollipop that developers can use the Android SDK to easily develop both for the smartphone/tablet and TV operating systems.


Assuming that Android TV gets the kinks worked out of it in the coming months, users can expect a few major features.

  1. Voice control. Using a microphone built in to your remote, gaming controller, or smartphone, you can ask Google anything you want and the intelligence behind Google Now will respond well.
  2. Gaming. Google is really working on improving the gaming experience here, so expect a larger push of Android TV-compatible games and controllers.
  3. Screen-mirroring and content sharing. Have a photo or video on your phone that you want on the TV? No big deal.
  4. Consistent interface. Google TV was hounded for its inconsistent, clunky interface, but Android TV is built on Material Design principles and should fit right in with your phone’s OS and all those Material Design-inspired apps.

Want to see some of that in action? Sony has produced some of the cheesiest commercials on this planet, but they also happen to demonstrate Android TV’s features pretty well.

Above, you can see the most awkward family ever using the Voice Search and Google Cast features.

In this video, Sony shows off the gaming aspect of Android TV with what looks to be a group of teenagers forced to sit around and pretend to like each other. Hopefully your gaming experience on Android TV won’t be quite like this — but you get the idea.

Basically, if all turns out as Google says, Android TV should allow your TV to become an extension of your phone or tablet that is integrated into all the same Google services you’re already using.

It looks pretty awesome, but as we said before, it is entering a crowded playing field.

The Smart TV Battleground

Think of Android TV as the OS for TVs in the same way that Android is the OS for phones.

However, in the smartphone realm, tons of hardware manufacturers have adopted Android as their OS without a problem, but the TV market is looking to be much more fragmented than that.

Samsung, a leader in smartphones and TVs, won’t be using Android TV in their newest Smart TVs. Instead, they use a proprietary software developed by Samsung, and they’re calling their products simply Samsung Smart TVs. They’ve actually been in production for a few years now, and they have a few apps available for them like YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu Plus.

Some models even have a camera for Skype video calling. The OS itself is pretty crowded. There are separate screens you can rotate to access, all trying to get you to buy and use Samsung products, which often feels like bloatware — something anyone with a Samsung phone can attest to.

LG, another big name, is using their own webOS software to power their TVs. They’re eloquently calling them Smart TV with webOS. Rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? This OS was sold to LG by HP (after they acquired Palm, who originally developed it).

Maybe you remember HP’s failed TouchPad, which ran webOS. This OS look simpler than Samsung’s crowded OS, but without a large app store or the power of Google Now behind it, it’s difficult to say how long it can stick around. Though it’s mascot, BeanBird, is pretty cute, and its design philosophy is simpler and looks more enjoyable than most of its competitors.

Vizio also has their own OS, which they’ve managed to name VIZIO Internet Apps Plus, which they sometimes shorten to VIA Plus. (Seriously, who is naming these companies’ products?)

It has a basic-looking interface, but most importantly, it has apps from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Spotify, Pandora, Hulu Plus, and more.

Panasonic has what they’re calling Smart Viera, Philips is using Net TV, and Toshiba is using Toshiba SmartTV. There really is just a ridiculous amount of TV operating systems out there right now.

Fortunately, Sony, Sharp, and TPVision (a subsidiary of Philips) have all said they’re making Android TV-powered televisions. Sony’s line of BRAVIA TVs, as well as the products from Sharp and TPVision, should be hitting the market sometime this spring or summer at the latest.

At that point, which OSes will win out the Smart TV battle is anyone’s guess.

Goodbye, Google TV


Introduced all the way back in Fall 2010, Google TV is now dead and gone as of January 2015.

It had a solid four years, but few will be sad to see it go. It was mostly received as a half-baked OS that wasn’t given enough attention by Google. That should be over now as Android TV is being treated as a major product intrinsically connected to other Android products.

A small subset of Google TV devices will get an upgrade to Android TV, but most will not (though Google didn’t say which products would get the update).

If you have a TV or set-top box running Google TV, it will continue to function as normal, just don’t expect any major updates or changes to the platform.

Google TV devices were actually manufactured by a variety of different companies including LG, Sony, Logitech, Vizio, ASUS, HiSense, and Netgear. It took the form of TVs as well as set-top boxes, but ultimately it didn’t take off in the way Google had planned.

So, Google TV is gone, but I think we can all agree that Android TV is a worthy replacement.

Where Can I Get Android TV?

You could buy the already available Nexus Player direct from Google for $99, though it might not be the bastion of Android TV’s abilities that many would like. With limited internal storage, no TV pass-through, and a general lack of ports on the device, it’s certainly not for everybody.


Interested in gaming? Then you might want to try the Razer Forge TV, which was announced at CES 2015 and should be hitting the market this quarter. This set-top box costs $99 alone or $149 with a gaming controller.

It has better specs than the Nexus Player, an ethernet port, and it can stream PC games from your computer. It’s a gaming powerhouse meant to show off everything that Android TV can do in that department — and for that, it’s pretty cheap.


Sony’s line of BRAVIA TVs running Android TV should be arriving sometime this Spring, though you can sign up to be notified when one of their new 2015 TVs becomes available. Keep in mind, these likely won’t come cheap as they are high-end, top-of-the-line models.

Also keep an eye out for TVs from Sharp and TPVision (though it’s possible TPVision could release TVs under the Philips brand name). They should be coming by the summer, but you can check back every once and a while at the official Android TV website: Android.com/TV.

The AndroidTV.com Controversy Explained

You might notice that Google’s official website for Android TV is Android.com/TV and not AndroidTV.com; there’s a reason for that. Back when Google was looking at the possibility of creating Android TV, they tried to get that domain name, only to find that it was already taken by a company called Exo Level. The folks of at Android Police did some great investigating, and what they found is interesting.

Google actually had an ICANN hearing back in March to contest the domain, but their case was denied. It’s easy to see how someone could be misled, though, since the site markets an “AndroidTV” that is actually just a set-top box from Exo Level running an older version of Android. At the time of this writing, however, the product doesn’t seem to be available on the website anymore.


Android set-top boxes have been around for a while; in fact, we’ve reviewed some like the ProBox2 EX. These things hit the market from lots of unknown third-parties and had quality control issues across the board, but some worked out well and people loved them. They even made them in stick form called “Android TV Sticks” to compete against the Chromecast — and we examined the differences between those devices while also reviewing some like the BiggiFi Android TV Stick.

The problem with these Android set-top boxes and TV sticks, though, is that they’re not designed for TVs. You’re running a phone software on a TV, and that’s just awkward no matter how you slice it. It’s treated as a completely different Android device, meaning it’s not even easy to share your screen or content from one to the other. The official Android TV platform solves all that by being built specifically for TV usage.

So don’t fall for the fakers. Visit Android.com/TV to learn more about Android TV, and avoid the sketchy AndroidTV.com.

Are You A Fan Of Android TV?

For Google, a lot is riding on the success of this new platform. What do you think of it?

Will you be picking up an Android TV set-top box or TV when they become available? Are you holding out for something else? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Justin Dennis

The Best Super Bowl Commercials 2015

The 2015 Super Bowl, or Super Bowl XLIX to give it its official title, took place on Sunday (Feb. 2). Most people were focused on the game, while some were more interested in Katy Perry’s OTT turn for the half-time show. We were more interested in the commercial breaks, and, in particular, the ads for technology companies.

There were dozens of tech-related commercials aired the game, but we have picked just a handful of the best to save you having to trawl YouTube for them.


There are still plenty of people mourning the fact that Breaking Bad has ended. Which means any company paying Bryan Cranston enough to reprise his role as Walter White was bound to have a viral video hit on their hands. Well done, Esurance.


Kia decided to bring Pierce Brosnan back from obscurity for its 2015 Super Bowl ad. The former James Bond has been somewhat typecast in his career, a fact he’s happy to be mocked for on this particular occasion.


Kim Kardashian gets absolutely everywhere, and the commercial breaks during the Super Bowl were no exception. Thankfully, she subtly mocks herself and her fame-hungry attitude to life in this ad for T-Mobile.


Mophie, which makes smartphone cases with batteries built into them, produced a stunning ad which shows what would happen if God’s smartphone was to suddenly run out of juice. Chaos, basically.

The Clash Of Clans

Perhaps the best of the bunch was this ad for The Clash Of Clans, a freemium strategy game available on Android and iOS. It turns out Liam Neeson plays this mobile game, and doesn’t take too kindly to losing. Be afraid, be very afraid.

This is our selection of the best Super Bowl commercials of 2015, but feel free to tell us your favorite(s) in the comments section below.

Dave Parrack

Microsoft Has Ended Free Tech Support and Feature Updates for Windows 7

Microsoft Has Ended Free Tech Support and Feature Updates for Windows 7


Unlucky for some: It’s January 13, 2015, and that means the end of free support for Windows 7.

That doesn’t mean your computer is going to automatically stop working, but it does mean Microsoft will no longer offer free help and support if you have problems with your Windows 7 software from this point on. No new features will be added, either.

Microsoft is keen to move users onto Windows 8 instead — to find out more, check out our how-tos, troubleshooting, news and reviews of Windows 8. Alternatively, you can wait for Windows 10 later this year.

Windows 7 was released in 2009. It sold over 100 million copies in six months and remains hugely popular. More stable than predecessor Windows Vista and more familiar than its radically redesigned successor Windows 8, version 7 is still estimated to be running half the world’s PCs.

As of today, Windows 7 has moved from mainstream support — free help for everyone — to extended support, which means Microsoft will charge for help with the software. That will end in 2020, when Microsoft turns out the lights on Windows 7 for good.

If you’re worried about security, Microsoft will continue to patch security issues, so if you do stick with Windows 7, your computer shouldn’t suddenly become vulnerable to hackers targeting the software.

The next generation of Microsoft’s venerable operating system is Windows 10 — it’s skipping 9, for some reason — which is due in the second half of this year. Microsoft is set to make an announcement about Windows 10 a week from now on 21 January, so stick with us to find out what Gates’ mates have up their sleeves.

How to Set Up Amazon’s Family Library

There’s big news in the ebook world. For the first time, you can share your Amazon ebooks, audiobooks, and apps with other family members. Here’s how to set it up.

Be warned: A lot of this gets more complicated than it should be — the setup, the restrictions, the relationships between accounts, and so on. If you value your money, though, it’s worth the slog.

The basics: Amazon’s feature lets you share all the ebooks in two normal (“adult”) accounts with each other.

For Amazon’s version of the instructions, click here; note, however, that Amazon’s help page doesn’t include any illustrations, and the wording of buttons is wrong in a few spots. For my version of the instructions, read on.

To begin, open a Web browser (on a phone, tablet, or computer).

You can also set things up on a Kindle if it’s a recent model, like a recent Kindle Fire (model 6, 7, 8.9, HD, or HDX) or a recent Kindle reader (in the Help systems of the seventh-generation Kindle, Voyage, or Paperwhite second generation).

Here are the Web instructions:

1. Click here; sign in with your Amazon name and password. You arrive at the cheerfully named Manage Your Content and Devices page, which lists all the Kindle books you’ve ever bought.

How to Set Up Amazon’s Family Library

2. Click Settings. Under the Households and Family Library heading, click Invite Adult. This box pops up:

Invite an adult to create an Amazon household page

3. Fill in your partner’s Amazon-account email address and password; click Verify Account. If that was the right name and password, you’re now asked if you’re sure you want to share your credit card info and Amazon purchases.

4. Click Yes. (If you click No, then the only thing you’ll be able to share is the ability to manage your children’s profiles.) Now that you’ve created the link, you have to specify which ebooks, apps, and audiobooks you want to share.

Manage Your Content and Devices page

5. Click the categories of purchases you want to share in each direction, and then click Finish. These options automatically share all your books, audiobooks, or apps.

If you prefer to share only some of them, then return here. On the Your Content tab, turn on whatever items you want to share. You can select a maximum of 10 checkboxes at a time. Click Add to Library. (If you don’t see that button, then click the Show Family Library link first.)

Amazon Family Library setup screen

Now Amazon asks which person you want to share these books with. You’ll see your fellow adult account holder’s name — and, if you’ve added some kid profiles, you’ll see their names, too.

Paying with cash won’t buy you time.
American Express Sponsored

Amazon Family Library setup screen

That’s the whole procedure. Now, in your partner’s Kindle library (on a Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Android device, the Mac or Windows reading app, or the Amazon website), the stuff you shared appears on a tab called either Cloud or Archived Items, ready to download and read.

Amazon Family Library setup screen

The complete list of reading apps and gadgets that work with Family Library is right here.

By the way: Don’t try to get clever. You can’t use the Family Library feature to let lots of different people read your books for free. If you delete your partner from the “household” you’ve set up (so that a new person can read your books, for example), then neither you nor your partner is allowed to join a Family Sharing arrangement again for six months.

How to Set Up Apple Family Sharing

Who says the big corporations are self-interested, greedy juggernauts? Thanks to the rise of the family sharing plan, you can save a lot of money by sharing apps, TV, movies, music, and books with up to five other family members. Here’s how to turn on Apple’s Family Sharing feature.

Be warned: Apple’s setup process is long, as is Amazon’s. But the payoff is that it includes far more flexibility. Once you’ve turned on Family Sharing and invited your family members, here’s how your life will be different:

  • One credit card. Up to six of you can buy books, movies, apps, and music on your master credit card. When your kids try to buy stuff, a permission request pops up on your iPad, iPhone, or Mac. You have to approve each purchase.
  • Younger Appleheads. Within Family Sharing, you can now create Apple accounts for tiny tots; 13 is no longer the age minimum.
  • Shared everything. All of you get instant access to one another’s music, video, iBooks, and app purchases — without having to know one another’s Apple passwords.
  • Find one another. You can use your iPad to see where your kids are, and vice versa (with permission, of course).
  • Mutual photo album, calendar, and reminders. When you turn on Family Sharing, your Photos, Calendar, and Reminders apps each sprout a new category that’s preconfigured to permit access by everyone in your family.

The setup process means wading through a lot of screens, but at least you only have to do it once. You can turn on this feature either on the Mac (open System Preferences, then iCloud, then Set Up Family) or on the iPad/iPhone itself.

These instructions show what to do on the Mac, but the iPad/iPhone setup is similar. (On iOS, open System Preferences, and then iCloud, and then Set Up Family.)

1. Open System Preferences; click iCloud, and then Set Up Family. Read about the juicy features, and then click Continue. The next screen asks you to confirm that you are the sage adult, the organizer — the one with the power and the wisdom. And the credit card.

2. Click Continue. Unless it’s listing the wrong Apple ID account, in which case you can fix it now.

On successive screens, you read about the idea of shared Apple Store purchases; you’re shown the credit card Apple believes you want to use; you’re offered the chance to share your location with the others. Each time, read and click Continue or Confirm. Finally, you’re ready to introduce the software to your family.

3. Click the + button at lower left. Then:

If the kid has an iCloud account and is with you in person: Type in her name or email address. (Your child’s name must already be in your Contacts; if not, go add her first. By the way, you’re a terrible parent.)

You’re asked to confirm that you’re actually present with her by entering the security code for your credit card. When you click Continue, she can now enter her iCloud password on your Mac to complete her setup, as shown here at bottom.

How to Set Up Apple Family Sharing

On the next screen, she has a couple of decisions to make (shown here at bottom).

First, the Purchases pop-up menu lets her specify her iCloud address — the one whose purchases she’ll be pooling with the family. (It’s usually the same address you just specified, but not always.)

Second, here she can turn on location sharing. In other words, the rest of the family will be able to see where she is, using Messages, Find My Mac, and the Find My Friends app on the iPhone or iPad.

Family Sharing setup screen

If the kid has an iCloud account but isn’t with you at the moment: Type in his email address. Click Send an Invitation.

Your little darling gets an email at that address. He must open it on his Apple gadget — the Mail app on the iPhone, or the Mail program on his Mac, for example.

When he hits View Invitation, he can either enter his iCloud name and password (if he has an iCloud account), or get an Apple ID (if he doesn’t).

Once he accepts the invitation, he can choose a picture to represent himself; tap Confirm to agree to be in your family; enter his iCloud password to share the stuff he’s bought from Apple; agree to Apple’s lawyers’ demands; and, finally, opt in to sharing his location with the rest of the family.

If the kid is under 13: Your kid doesn’t have an iCloud account, because until Family Sharing came along, you had to be over 13 to get an iCloud account. No longer!

Choose Create an Apple ID for a child who doesn’t have an account. Click Continue.

On the screen that follows, you’ll enter the kid’s name and birthdate. Make up a name and password for the new iCloud account, too. Decide whether you want the family to be able to see where the kid is at all times. Click Continue.

On the Parent Privacy Disclosure screen, enter the security code for your credit card yet again (to prove that you’re you, and not, for example, your naughty kid).

On the next screen, you choose and answer three security questions for this new iCloud account. Click Continue. Then there’s more legalese on two screens (click I agree, and then Agree).

You can repeat this cycle to add additional family members, up to a maximum of six. Their names and ages appear on the Family screen.

From here, you can click someone’s name to perform stunts like these:

  • Delete a family member. Man, you guys really don’t get along, do you? Anyway, click the button.
  • Turn Ask to Buy on or off. This option appears when you’ve selected a child’s name. If you decide your kid is responsible enough not to need your permission for each purchase, then you can turn this option off. (Note: If you turn off Ask to Buy for someone after she turns 18, you can’t turn it on again.)
  • Turn Parent/Guardian on or off. This option appears when you’ve selected an adult’s name. It gives Ask to Buy approval privileges to someone else besides you — your spouse, for example.
  • Turn “Allow [this person] to see your location” on or off. Do you want this person to be able to see where you are (by using Messages, Find My Mac, or Find My Friends)?

Once kids turn 13, by the way, Apple automatically gives them more control over their own lives. They can, for example, turn off Ask to Buy themselves, on their own Macs or phones. They can even express their disgust for you by leaving the Family Sharing group.

Life in Family Sharing
From now on, whenever one of your kids (for whom you’ve turned on Ask to Buy) tries to buy music, videos, apps, or books from Apple — even free items — he has to ask you. You’re notified about the purchase on your phone or Mac, and you can decline it or click Review to read about it on its store page. If it seems OK, you can tap Approve.

(If you don’t respond within 24 hours, the request expires. Your kid has to ask again.)

iPhone Ask Permission screen

Furthermore, each of you can see and download everything that everyone else has bought. To do that, open the appropriate program on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch: App Store, iTunes, or iBooks. Click Purchased, and then tap the family member’s name (shown here at left), to see what she’s got; tap the little cloud button (shown at right) to download any of it yourself.

iPhone Family Sharing screens

(Note: Anything you buy, your kids will see. Keep that in mind when you download a book like Tough Love: Sending the Unruly Child to Military School.)