Introducing Google Play Family Library: Share purchased content with friends and family conveniently

A new feature has been added to the Google Play Store, and it’s called Google Play Family Library. It is a feature that allows you to share paid content (apps, books, video, audio, games, etc) purchased on the Google Play Store with family members without having to re-purchase it, and easily at that. The feature was supposed to be launched in July, and considering that the App Store for iOS already had a similar function since about two years ago, it’s about time it got to Android users.

So how do I create my own Family Library?

Don’t worry, in this article, I will guide you thoroughly on the steps you need to take to create your own Google Play Store Family Library and start sharing your purchased content to loved ones to use for free. Read on.


1. Sign Up


As you should have guessed already, you need to have a Gmail account to even have access to this feature at all. Once you are signed in to your Gmail account, you can sign up for the Family Library in two ways:

  • Through the Google Play Store app on your Android device. Open the app, go to Account >> Family, and tap on Sign Up.
  • You can also register using a web-based browser. Head over here to get started.

2. Add Payment Method

You have to add a credit card with which payment for all paid Google Play content purchased by any beneficiary in your Family Library would be made. For every purchase made, you will get an e-mail with details about who is buying what. Don’t worry, you can set limits so that indiscriminate purchases are not made with your card. More on that later in this article.

3. Add content to the Family Library

If you’ve been making purchases on the Google Play Store prior to this time, you can choose to add those paid content to the Family Library so that other family members can download and use them for free. You may not want to share everything you’ve bought with the family (you know, teenagers-only stuff, or things that kid must not see!), so select I'll add them later, one by one.

However, you could be the type gunning for a non-existent Top Google Play Spender of the Year award, and have purchased a lot of stuff that you can’t start adding them one by one. Simply choose Add all eligible purchased items and click on Proceed.

4. Add your desired Family Members

After sorting out what you want to share and what you want to keep private, it’s now time to add the loved ones to share your purchased content with. You can only add individuals who have a Gmail account, are members of your family, live in the same country with you and are of age 13 years or older. You can add up to five beneficiaries.

To do this, type the name of the contact in the Add Recipients text field. A list of your frequent contacts is shown, and when you type names in the text field, suggestions will be shown so you can add contacts faster.
The contacts won’t be added straight away; invitations would be sent to their e-mail addresses, and when they accept you will be notified via e-mail.

Each family member that accepts the invites will now have a new FAMILY LIBRARY section under My Apps and Games where they can see all the content you have added, and from there they can download them.

After that, every paid content that can be added to the Family Library will have its icon somewhere near their title, so you know whether you want to share it with the family or keep it to yourself.

4. Tweak your Settings

Now that you’ve added your family members to your Family Library, the next thing to worry about is your credit card and your privacy. Your credit card because everyone in the Family Library can make purchases on the Google Play Store with your credit card, even if they don’t have access to its pass key. Your privacy because everything you buy will be made available to them all for free.

Thankfully, Family Library has a Settings menu where you can apply restrictions and control the content that the other members get, and the purchases they can make with your credit card. One thing to note is that each family member can still make purchases with their own credit card, so if you have someone who can conveniently purchase stuff on their own, kindly ask them to refrain from making purchases with your card.

To change all these, locate the Family Manager Settings menu. One of the settings you can customise is:

  • Require your approval before purchases are made. You will have to manually confirm approval when a family member wishes to make a purchase with your credit card. This setting can be customised for every individual in the Library, or applied generally. Useful if you have a shopaholic in the house.
  • Another useful one is

  •  Delete a family member. Has that family member been behaving naughtily? Simply delete him/her; it only takes seconds and some screen taps. Or do you have a grouse with that other adult in the family? You can take revenge without physical damages.

Though you can share a lot of things and virtually all paid content, there are still some intricate things you can’t share in the Family Library.

Things you can share

All paid

  • Apps.
  • Games.
  • Books.
  • TV Shows. and
  • Individual Movies/ Movie Bundles.

Things you can’t share

  • In-app purchases.
  • In-app achievements and progress.
  • Individual movies in Movie bundles. If you purchase a movie bundle, you can only share the entire bundle; you cannot pick individual movies from the bundle to share.

If you’re using Google Play Music and Play Books applications on iOS, you can also partake in the family library.

What do you think about the new Family Library feature in Google Play? Air your views.
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