My kids have entered the Apple ecosystem, for better or worse. A used iPod, a hand-me-down iPhone and there we are. If you have kids in the same situation, almost ready for an iPod but nowhere near ready for an email address you can leverage these two Gmail hacks which I used for accounts on Apple and Microsoft.
1. Any Gmail address can have a suffix preceded by a plus sign.
This allows you to create Apple ID’s that all go to your gmail address but are still unique to Apple’s servers. As an example, John Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) could create Apple ID’s for his kids that would be email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. All these emails will arrive in John Smith’s inbox but will be seen by Apple as discrete Apple ID’s. Setup the Apple ID’s yourself and use your own birthday and security questions so that when your kids forget their password you can recover it.
2. Any Gmail address can have a period in it.
Did you know that email@example.com is the same as firstname.lastname@example.org? Microsoft accounts do not allow you to use the plus sign trick so another way for John to create accounts for his kids on xBox One would be to move the period one space for each kid. For example, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org would be seen by Microsoft as unique, Gmail sees them as identical.
The benefit of both these methods is you get all the alerts from your kid’s devices and can know when they sign in and out of services, particularly Facetime and iMessage. You can take it a step further and use a custom filter to add a label with your child’s name in Gmail for easy filing and sorting.
They load gift cards they have purchased on to their own Apple ID so they learn a little bit about spending their own money as well.
Hope this little tip helps as you help your children learn their devices and gradually release responsibility to them.