1. ljharper's Avatar
    First I apologize in advance that this question has probably been asked a thousand times - I feel like I've read that many online over the last week - but I've just grown more confused. I'm looking for some clarity and practical advice to help us make a decision on whether we should continue to set up our phones to share a Microsoft Account, or have separate accounts. Ultimately I would love to hear how others feel and are managing this where there are multiple Windows phones in the household. What are the pros and cons to keeping a single account, as opposed to one of us moving off to a new account. What benefits might we lose if any. What benefits might we gain if any. From my searching I do understand the limitations of sharing when it comes to profiles, and the limitations of not sharing when it comes to music/content purchases. But I'd love to hear some practical, comprehensive opinions about what seems to be preferable, and offer the best WinPhone8 experience in the long run.

    As background, my husband and I had identical HTC Arrives (Win7) for about 2 1/2 years. We initially went with Windows phones because we both had Zunes and the Zune Music Pass, so loved the idea of merging our mobile devices, as well as easily keeping synched with our home network. When we set up our phones, we of course had to use the same Windows Live account on both as it was the only way to share our Music Pass. Back then it wasn't a big deal for us, there really wasn't anything else we used a Windows Live account for. However eventually we got an XBox 360, and again used the same primary account so we could access the music there. It became my husband's Gamertag as well at that point. At the time it seemed to make sense to have one "family" Microsoft identity/account in which to make purchases, share content, store preferences, manage phones, etc... but over the course of time this has just become more complicated. This first became apparent when I wanted my own Gamertag/Profile on our XBox and discovered I had to create an entirely unique Windows Live account, which suddenly splintered our nice neat little setup since I could no longer access our Music Pass when logged in under my profile.

    Fast forward to this week, we just upgraded to two new Nokia Icons, which we LOVE. Again we set up the new phones to use the same Windows Live account (now Microsoft Account). However, with Windows Phone 8 (we still have Win7 on our home computers) we are quickly realizing how much more tied the OS and apps are with the MS Account, and I am now second-guessing whether sharing accounts is the best option anymore. I'm not entirely sure I understand if or how sharing an account affects things like synching, storing and backing up preferences, etc. For example, what happens when 8.1 is released with Cortana? Reading an article about it, it mentioned it "learns" things about your voice, interests and behavior and stores it. Do our phones store these types of things independently? Or does sharing an account mean everything gets meshed together? From learned early on that our XBox Music recommendations and such are useless because we have completely opposite taste in music, but it does not recognize our activity separately. Microsoft Games has the same limitation in that I cannot access my Gamertag on my phone because I'm logged into it under my husband's, so any game activity from the phones is attribute to his profile.

    On a side note, if we did decide to move to separate accounts, then we would most likely discontinue our Music Pass as well, since we could no longer share it. Since our Pass expires April 15th, this seems like an ideal time to make this kind of change now if we are going to. In that event however, we would need an alternative to XBox Music that would be within the same price range, but that we could both use. I have played with Nokia Mix Radio on our new Icons, and I really like it. We could both upgrade to the subscription plan for about the same cost as one annual XBox Music pass. However, what my husband loves about the pass is the ability fully control exactly what is downloaded to his phone (with a limited data cap we don't want to rely on streaming music). He alos likes to drill down to specific songs and download at will. Nokia Mix Radio only appears to let you purchase at the album/song level, not download. I'm not sure how he would adjust to the playlist-based concept. Any suggestions on this would be appreciated as well.
    03-20-2014 12:26 PM
  2. shmsnh's Avatar
    It has always been advisable for individuals to use separate accounts. Some people has complained about having to purchase apps for different members of their family, but it can't be helped. With WP8, the Microsoft account is the identity of the phone - all app purchases, settings backup, text+chat backups are tied to the Microsoft account. Text messages, for example, sync across devices with the same account.

    As far as Cortana goes, the "notebook" the AI is supposed to learn from is supposed to be stored locally. Can't know for sure until it's officially announced.

    I haven't answered all your questions, but in short, it would be better and easier to use separate accounts.
    03-20-2014 12:55 PM
  3. ljharper's Avatar
    Thanks for that insight. Good news, at least in our scenario, is that neither of us purchase phone apps, so we don't have to worry about one of us losing apps if we switch accounts. We have however purchased some music, but he has purchased significantly more than I have so if he kept the current account he would still own them, I would only have to replace mine.
    03-20-2014 01:26 PM
  4. realwarder's Avatar
    If you want to be able to "Find My Phone" for a family and share OneDrive for a family photo upload, setup the phones with the same initial account.

    You can still add custom email accounts etc. from that point on.

    This really is an area Microsoft are weak on as other phones allow sharing this using separate accounts...
    03-20-2014 01:35 PM
  5. ljharper's Avatar
    Good points on the other side. And I agree 100% this is a very weak area for Microsoft. With that said, if the hubby and I keep track of each other's logins, then we would still be able to initiate the "Find My Phone" feature on behalf of the other if needed. Also we haven't really delved into cloud storage/sharing, we currently store all of our media on a shared drive on our home server that we can both access and share out to other devices if we choose. So it seems as long as we continue to synch our phones to our desktops, everything of that nature remains available to both of us.

    I do anticipate eventually upgrading to Windows 8 on our desktops however, so I am also trying to keep that in mind moving forward as well. Not sure how that might change the entire user and home network scheme as we currently utilize it.
    03-20-2014 02:59 PM

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