How to Use an iTunes Gift Card with Family Sharing

You've already signed up for Apple's Family Sharing, and are the designated organizer for your Family Group. As family organizer, you've learned how to set up Apple IDs for your kids and use the Ask to Buy feature to manage what they purchase in iTunes, iBooks, and the App Store. You've figured out how to access and download shared content from your Family Group through Family Sharing: music, movies, books, apps, the whole works. You even know how to hide your media selections that are too mature from your kids, and keep their less desirable (I'm looking at you, Demi Lovato) choices from your own devices. But the holidays bring a new layer of Apple Family Sharing questions with them, and one question in particular: how do you use an iTunes gift card on a Family Sharing account? Furthermore, how do you make sure the person who received the iTunes gift card is the person who redeems it? How can you check the gift card balance so that you don't start running up charges on your credit card once it's spent? So many questions, so little time before your kids will want to start spending their gift cards from grandma. Let's get started learning how to manage iTunes gift cards in Family Sharing!  

Related: How to Access & Download Shared Purchases in Family Sharing

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Add an iTunes Gift Card to Your Family Sharing Account

So your child received an iTunes gift card for the holidays; great! As family organizer, you're charged for every purchase made by your family group; it's all billed to whichever credit card you entered when you set up your own Apple ID. This makes adding a gift card easy if your family members trust you to keep track of whose credit is whose; all you'll need to do is add the iTunes gift card to your account. This way, whenever family members make purchases your credit card will still be charged; but you can use the gift card for your own purchases, evening things out. If this setup sounds like it will work for your family, read on. 

To add an iTunes gift card to your account on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch:

  • Tap on the iTunes Store App.
  • Tap the Featured tab.

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  • Scroll to the very bottom of the screen and tap the Redeem button.
  • Use your phone camera to scan your iTunes gift card, or enter the card code manually.

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After redeeming your card an updated balance will appear, and you'll be given a choice of applying your credit towards an Apple Music subscription or using the card for iTunes store credit. 

  • Tap Done to finish or Redeem Another Code if you have another gift card to enter.

Once you add your iTunes gift card, it will be completely spent before your credit card is charged again. This means that if your Apple Music subscription or Student Memberships come due, they will be charged to your gift card.

Things get tricky when Family Group members want to make their own purchases with their gift cards. If you've added an iTunes gift card to your account, they can't use it with their Apple ID, and their purchases will still be charged to your credit card on file. If the gift card recepient in your family objects to this, continue reading to learn another method for redeeming their iTunes credit.

Redeem an iTunes Gift Card on Your Child's iPhone

If keeping everyone's remaining credit sorted out becomes too burdensome, you can add an iTunes gift card directly to your child's account. This way, you can still use the Ask to Buy feature to approve their purchases, but the cost will come off of their gift card until it's depleted, rather than your credit card. To use this method all you need to do is follow the steps for redeeming an iTunes gift card we went over earlier in the article, but on your childs device instead of your own.

Allocate iTunes Credit to Your Child's iTunes Account

There's also a way to designate iTunes gift cards to your child's Apple ID if their device isn't available for you to use.  To designate a gift card to your child's Apple ID from your own device:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap on your name at the top.

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  • Tap on your Apple ID.
  • Tap Sign Out.

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  • Sign back in using your child's Apple ID and password.

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You can now go back to the iTunes Store and redeem your child's iTunes gift card using the steps I outlined in the beginning of the article. 

Check your iTunes Gift Card Balance

So you redeemed your kid's gift card a few days ago, and more than a few Ask To Buy notifications have come your way from their account.  You're beginning to wonder how much credit they have left, because you want to cut them off before their purchases start getting charged to your credit card again. It's time to check your child's iTunes Gift Card Balance. Remember, you can use their device or yours to accomplish this. If you're using your device, sign out of your account and in to your child's using the steps we went over earlier before you begin.

  • Open the App Store
  • Tap on the Apple ID icon at the top of the screen.

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  • If your child has a credit balance, it will appear underneath their Apple ID.  As you can see, my daughter has no credit right now!

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Now you know how to deposit an iTunes gift card in your child's Apple account from your device or theirs, and how to check their account balance. I hope this information helps you keep everyone's gift cards in order, and that you and your family have a very happy holiday season!

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Leanne Hays is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life.  She loves reading and blogging, and is never without a book in her backpack or an audiobook on her phone. Short-term goals include finishing painting her house and starting an aquaponics farm, long-term goals include a bike tour of Italy and writing a novel.