Giving Your Boo Your Password Is Dumb. Do This Instead
You love your significant other. You trust them. You want to share your life, laughter, and digital subscriptions with them. That’s great! Just don’t share your password while you’re at it.
This should go without saying, but even if you’re absolutely confident in your relationship’s longevity, there are some things best kept to yourself. That’s partly for the sanity that comes with a modicum of privacy, but even more because passwords are already one of the least secure protections we have available to us. There’s every chance you’re bad at them to begin with, and the more people who have the key to your alphanumerical digital lock, the more potentially exposed you become. If your shared Netflix password also happens to be your banking password, and your significant other gets hacked, you’re suddenly in a heap of trouble as well.
Fortunately, the advent of family plans among digital services has given you an out. (Don’t freak out, commitment-phobes; “family” here means anything from “actual family member” to “friend of your cousin’s summer camp roommate,” or, in the case of new love, the digital equivalent of going steady). It’s increasingly easy to share an account, while keeping your personal information to yourself. Better still? In most cases this also means that you’re able to maintain your own profile. After all, just because you share one heart doesn’t mean you also share an appreciation for third-wave ska on Spotify.
Below are all the popular digital services we could find that allow you to enlist as individuals, rather than as password pals. Do it for your relationship. Do it for your playlists. But most of all, do it for your security.
Coordinating an Apple household was, until recently, an exercise in futility and frustration. Then came Family Sharing, and there was rejoicing in the kingdom.
Family sharing lets you share iTunes and App Store purchases without sharing an Apple ID, which is important given that, statistically speaking, you and your iLife partner are likely to both own iPhones.
It’s fairly easy to set up; just head to Settings > iCloud > Set Up Family Sharing… and follow the steps from there. Once you’ve added an account and they’ve accepted your invite, you’ll both have access to everything in your combined purchase histories, and up to six accounts total can join in. The power! You can even use it to save on Apple Music subscriptions, with $15 per month covering everybody.
It applies to more than just media, also. You can have a shared calendar, photo albums, and, if you’re feeling snoopy, locations.
Important note: Purchases from that point onward, no matter which account they originate from, get charged to the person who set up Family Sharing in the first place.
The couple that free-ships together, stays together. Amazon doesn’t really advertise its Amazon Household feature, but it’s been around for years, and it lets you share many of your Amazon Prime benefits with the “second adult” of your choosing. Just go to Your Account > Your Prime Membership > Share your Prime Benefits
Once your significant other provides their email or phone number and password (NO PEEKING), they’ve got access to free shipping, streaming movies and television shows with Prime Video, unlimited photo storage, and more. Considering that a Prime account now costs $100 per year, combining efforts amounts to a significant savings.
Note: This doesn’t give the person access to your entire Amazon account, where you keep your purchased streaming items, personal photo albums, or payment options. It applies strictly to Prime benefits.
Spotify’s family plan, introduced in October 2014, lets you link up to five Premium accounts. The first person pays the standard $10, but each after that pays half, which means that a couple can save five bucks per month by going in together. You have to be in the same country, and you can’t sign up through in-app purchases, but otherwise there aren’t really any limitations.
Just know that one of you will be the administrator, able to add/remove the other at your discretion, so maybe take a step back and think about who might handle a break-up better.
Google Play Music
Google Play Music’s family plan is basically just a more flexible, cheaper version of Spotify’s. Instead of five members, you can have six, and instead of tacking on five bucks per month per extra user, it costs $15 per month no matter how many people are sharing, making it easier to go in with another couple. Double date!
One underrated benefit of any Google Play Music subscription that extends to the family plan? Everyone also gets YouTube Red, meaning ad-free videos for you and your loved one. You can also use the service on up to 10 devices each, meaning you’re unlikely to overextend yourself. Just be aware that the same admin caveats apply.
If you’re a Rhapsody couple, first of all congratulations on finding one another out there in this big cold world. It’s fate!
This is the same basic deal as the others; up to five accounts, starting at $15 per month for two people and another five dollars for each additional person from there.
New York Times
Enough with the music, already! Let’s switch over to current events. The New York Times conveniently lets you share an All Digital Access plan with one family member. Just sign into your account and send an invitation to the person you want to bicker over Maureen Dowd with. As long as they have their own NYT registration (but not an existing subscription themselves) you’re all set.
Xbox Live Gold
Okay, this one’s easy. When you set up your Xbox One and save your password, it becomes your “home Xbox.” If it’s not already for some reason, go to Settings > All Settings > Personalization > My home Xbox and select Make this my home Xbox. Once you’ve done that, any account that’s signed into the console can use your Gold features, like multiplayer gaming and in-game DVR.
Similarly, a PS4 only needs one PlayStation Plus user to extend online gameplay and other benefits to everyone playing on that console. So you have to be beep blooping in the same room, instead of a long-distance n00b-blasting.
Just kidding! While Netflix allows multiple profiles on the same account, and viewing on up to four screens at once if you pay a little extra every month, those profiles currently aren’t password-protected. Partial credit for being able to keep your recommendations and viewing history tidy, but it doesn’t solve the password problem. So you can still Netflix and chill, but not with protection.