Quick Tip: Sharing iPhone and iPad Apps On the Go

Suddenly you find yourself with some extra time on your hands and your spouse, child, or parent tells you about a great app. If this person is a member of your household, they can share the app with you via iTunes sharing. However, what if you are on the road with your spouse or children and want to try out one of their apps, or share one of your own? Apple (s aapl) provides an easy way to do this.

Apple allows you to download an app you’ve already purchased from the App Store. This is perfect for when you purchase an app and realize the app isn’t synced to the iPhone. Simply “repurchase” your app and Apple will let you know that you already purchased it and there won’t be any charge. Thus you can reinstall any app you already purchased while on the road without any need to re-sync. Essentially you share apps over the air between your device and your synced iTunes.

Sharing Apps

Sharing apps with a family member works very much the same way. To add your spouse or significant other’s app to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings, then Store. Choose Sign Out to sign out of your personal account.

Next, sign into the other person’s account. They’ll need to either give your their password or type it in.

Now that they are signed in to the App Store on your phone, they can download any app they’ve purchased and you will then be able to use that app on your phone. In addition to app sharing between you and your spouse, this is a great way that you can purchase apps for a child’s iPod touch, and then share only the apps you wish with that child. This might be much safer than giving them their own Apple Store account and your credit card! Keep in mind that you won’t be able to update your apps and the other person’s apps at the same time. To update their apps you’ll need to sign in as them and do updates separately.

Karma Violation?

Does this violate any rules, either Apple’s or karma’s? I don’t think so. Apple made the conscious decision to enable sharing between members of a household in iTunes, allowing family members to listen to each other’s music and watch each other’s videos. Household app sharing is explicitly allowed this same way. Apple is trusting its users to do the right thing with household and family app sharing, and we should return that favor by not abusing the system.