Without a doubt, one of my favorite new features in iOS 8, and by extension, on my Macs, is the new Family Sharing feature. Any lawyer with a busy family life will appreciate being able to shepherd all of her or his family members into a family iCloud scheme, where things "just work."
Initially, iOS was very much individually-based as an operating system. Unlike on a Mac where each user can have his or her own user account, iOS assumed that each device would have one user, who would use her or his own iCloud account for calendaring, purchasing of music, books, and apps, and photo storage. With Family Sharing now, each person still gets to keep their own account, but have it associated with a master account. Getting these associations is as simple as the main accountholder sending invitations right from within the iCloud settings on any iPhone or iPad. Once Family Sharing has been activated, a new shared Family calendar is created (shown above), which all family members have access to edit and view. Individual family members may still share their personal calendars with others, either to view or view/edit, as well, if needed.
My wife and I also love the new photo stream sharing. Photo streaming on iOS has been there for quite a while, but the new way brings an elegance that we would expect from Apple. When I or my wife take a photo on our iPhone that we wish to share (or, in our case, provide to the other for use in our journals which we keep in Day One (available here and reviewed last fall here), it's a simple matter of adding that particular photo to a shared photo album, the contents of which get pushed to the other's devices instantly.
If you're not on iOS 8 yet, check it out. Family Sharing may be reason enough to get it, for many busy professionals and families.
- Ronald C. Schoedel III
Ronald C. Schoedel III is an attorney, former broadcaster, student of Welsh, and Sinophile. He has lived in Alaska, Wales, and China (Hong Kong specifically), and presently calls Utah home. He has been teaching and training Mac users for nearly a decade, and started blogging as a software reviewer in 2004.