Separating an iPad from an Apple ID while retaining Data

tl;dr: My son has been using our household iPad tied to my wife’s AppleID and we would like to create his own Apple ID to use with the device while simultaneously saving his data (i.e., game data and purchases).

My son has been using an old iPad since he was young. Originally, we set it up with my wife’s AppleID as it didn’t make sense to create an AppleID for a young child. My son is now 7 and we would like to create him an AppleID to use with the iPad so that his things and my wife’s things are separate (this becomes even more important with the Screen Time feature of iOS 12 which will conflate my wife’s usage with my sons usage). From my understanding of these things, I will need to create the AppleID and enable family sharing which should allow him access to all the games he downloaded using my wife’s AppleID. However, he may be unhappy if he looses all of this progress and settings in his games. Does anyone have any tips or suggestions to make this process go smoothly? Thanks in advance for the help!

Make a backup via iTunes first, then you can get back every time. iCloud-Backup holds just one backup, right?

And then try to log out your wife and log in your son with this Apple ID - maybe the saves are still there. Data from productivity apps can maybe saved via file sharing in iTunes?

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I definitely agree with @Hoppel to start with an iTunes backup, so you can roll back everything just in case. Since you are keeping the same device, that makes this process less risky than if you were also setting up on a new device, since most apps data will still be on the iPad.

Here would be my steps to change ID’s and save the most information.

  1. Before you start, check any games that need their progress saved.
    Games may sync with a third party login (like facebook) or with Game Center. Game syncing progress is up to the developer, so if there are any really key games you want to save, check the support links for that game, which you can usually find in the App Store. If it syncs with a third party login like facebook, sign out and sign back in with the account you want to continue using for your child.

  2. Confirm that Photos are downloaded to the device if you use iCloud Photo Library. Check in Settings > Your Name > iCloud > iCloud Photo Library. You want everything downloaded to the device, not optimized in iCloud.

  3. Settings > Your Name > Sign out
    In my recent experience this will still say you are uploading documents to iCloud no matter what. I believe this should also give you a chance to keep contacts, calendars, and some other data on the device. If you want any of that data to stay, keep it.

  4. Also remember to confirm you have been signed out of iTunes & App store, Messages, FaceTime, Game Center.

  5. On YOUR device, go to Settings > Your Name > Family Sharing > and create a child Apple ID if you haven’t already.

  6. Sign back into settings on your child’s device. Confirm you have successfully signed into iTunes & App store, Messages, FaceTime, Game Center.

  7. Now your child’s device should be separate from your wife’s, go check out the game progress. Since you’re still using the same device, it may automatically see the new Game Center id. But good to check in each game if you need to enable iCloud or Game Center progress syncing.

  8. If everything is working, backup the iPad again just in case. If there is anything other content from your wife that you no longer want on the iPad (contacts, messages, etc) you should be able to delete safely since the iPad now has a separate Apple ID.

If you follow these steps and setup Family Sharing, you should have no problems with purchases or updates since the iPad should see all apps as being downloaded with a family Apple ID. The only exception to this would be if an app developer doesn’t participate in Family Sharing (most do, it’s listed in the App Store for each app) or if there are in-app purchases you would need to re-purchase those.

Good luck! Sad to say that it wasn’t easy to find an Apple support document with these steps, but I’ve done it many times.


Thanks so much @Hoppel and @KatherineG! These comments were extremely useful! I am sorry for the delay in my response. I was traveling and then had some work things that needed my attention. Additionally, I wanted to ensure I had enough time to sperate my son’s iPad in case something catestrophic happened.

His iPad is now separated and he has his own child AppleID. Following your steps and advice made the process simple and there were no issues. He has been using it since the separation for about a day and has not lost any data (at least as far as he is aware). Moreover, we are now successfully using family sharing without issue.

I will report back if problems occur but, so far things are working as planned. You both rock!