How can this be achieved amongst 3-4 members in the house?
Ideally, each one person has one Apple ID and only one Apple ID. That ID is then used with the ITunes Music Store, the Mac App Store (for those with Macs), iCloud, and just about everything else involving The Apple Company.
Although each family member would have his/her own ID, all of the IDs can, if you wish, share a single credit card number for purchases. This keeps all purchases separate for each device but, obviously, all will go on the same credit card. Also, this ensures that all data for all apps are separate for each individual.
One more simple step is required to maintain separate libraries (photo and iTunes) and that is separate computer logins for each family member. This step is absolutely mandatory if two individuals want the same apps but with different data (such as game scores).
What you're looking for is simple and the response you received earlier is incorrect.
Simply set up one APPLE ID. This will be loaded on every device in your household as the APPLE ID or STORE ID - (ex in iPhone or iPad - SETTINGS/STORE/APPLE ID while on MAC you would set it in iTunes and App Store).
Then, you can set up each user with their own iCLOUD ID which is set in SETTINGS / iCLOUD (iOS) or SYSTEM PREFS / iCLOUD. On the Mac you would tie each iCloud ID to a user on the Mac.
By using one Apple ID, all purchases will be available to all users across all devices since they are all using the same "store" account. But maintaining seperate iCloud IDs allows each individual to have their own experience (for instance, their own @me.com email, contracts, cal, Find My iPhone, etc.).
[On your Mac, put your iTunes library into a shared folder so that all users on the Mac point back to the same iTunes library.]
Here's a good link to help explain this from Apple and it explains the pros cons of your setup.
This is some great information truly, but no one has yet really answered the question. What is the difference between an Apple ID and an iCloud account?
For I stance, I have an Apple ID that I have used for years to buy music and for getting support from Apple for my products etc. But since the ID for this account was not a MobileMe email address I could not make it an icloud account. I didn't think this mattered until I found a feature that required an iCloud account to use. I think it was the Notes Sync feature? I needed an actual iCloud account to get this working. If I am mistaken on this please set me straight but I believe an iCloud account is a "Super" Apple ID, in that an Apple ID let's you do certain things but an iCloud account lets you do all those things and a few things more. Or many things more? I don't know. Isn't there a chart somewhere that indicates what features you can access with one and which you need the other for?
Well, it was answered but here goes again.
An apple ID can serve 2 purposes. It can be the account you purchase things from and it can act as an iCloud ID which identifies a discrete individual for programs like mail, notes, minders, messages, iCloud storage, etc.
An apple ID, if shared by many users, will allow those users to share purchases. So, for instance, my entire family always uses the same apple ID or store ID. That way, when one buys an app, everyone can download it.
But, if we loaded that same apple ID into my iCloud account field, then every person in my family would have to share things like messages, email, calendar, etc. instead, everyone creates a discreet iCloud ID. That way, each person can have their own iCloud experience for email, calendar, messages, etc. each iPhone or iPad only allows one "user" or iCloud ID. But on the Mac, you can create individual users on the machine, and then once in that users account, you can link them to their iCloud ID, this carrying their individual experience across all machines they have. And, if you load the shared apple ID into your store settings, then again, you can share Mac purchases as well.
A single person would probably use the same ID for both iCloud and Apple/store ID. But anyone in a family environment should set up ONE apple ID (store ID) and an iCloud ID for each user.
Thanks for all the replies.
It would seem to me that any discussion on how each account should be used ought to begin with, or at least include a list of what capabilities each has. As I pointed out, I am not able to sync Notes with my Apple ID. I needed to sign up for an iCloud ID in order to get that feature to work. Am I wrong about this? Please tell me and I'll visit the Genius Bar.
Otherwise, I would ask you to conceded that there are certain things a pre-iCloud.com, non-me.com, non-mac.com account cannot do that one needs a new iCloud.com account to do. Then may I suggest we make a list of what other features one NEEDS an iCloud.com account to do. These things will better inform this great discussion about how one can make good use of different accounts.
But by all means, if you are saying that without exception or qualification that an Apple ID is and does everything an iCloud ID does, please say just that and I'll take my issue with Notes Sync on my old Apple ID account with Apple Care or on another thread. In either case, thank you for this discussion. If I have learned nothing else it's that there is a lot of confusion surrounding these issues in the user community at large.