When you live with someone, you share your stuff. You both use the smart speaker to listen to music around the house, and you both use the smart lights to show off to your friends (“look, I can turn them blue!”). The point is, you all use the same smart devices, and it’s about time you tied those devices to the same email address, as well.
Smart devices need an email address to work
Smart devices—including smart speakers, smart lights, and smart locks, just to name a few—often need to be connected to an account to work. Sometimes they’ll fit into a collective “Home” app, but other times they require a standalone account. That’s normally not a big deal; you set up the device, punch in an email and password, and boom, your lights are now controlled by your voice, while your light switches will never be used again.
But, inevitably, you’re going to need to tinker with that smart device. Maybe you need to use the app to change a setting; maybe there’s a new update that you need to perform on the system; or maybe you need to control the device from a new phone. And what happens when you try to get that thing done for the smart device? It asks for you email and password.
If you set these things up in a hurry—as we are oft to do—you might’ve just gone back and forth with your partner setting up the systems. Maybe one device is under your account, another under theirs, and so on. Accumulate enough devices, and trying to remember which device is under which account becomes an exercise in frustration: “Is the Sonos under your email or mine?” “I have four different emails; it could be under any of them.” “You have four different emails?”
Why you should make a shared email for smart devices
Avoid the headaches, avoid feeling the need to create a master list of all your devices and their accounts, and avoid answering questions about your many email addresses. Just do yourself and your household a favor and make yourself a shared email account.
Think about it: the smart lights under one email, your smart doorbell under one email, the TV and all its apps and services under one email. No more guessing, no more waiting for someone to get out of a meeting to ask what the smart speaker’s email is—it’s all under the same, simple system.
This tip works for basically any type of account you and your partner might use together. Never again wonder whose email is tied to your streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max; have access to the same calendar that the two of you can view and edit together; sign up for a cloud-based to-do app so you can keep tabs on the shopping lists. It just makes joint tasks that much easier.
A shared email address isn’t the be-all and end-all
This isn’t to say that separate email addresses are out of the picture, of course. Keep your personal account for your own correspondence, independent accounts, and the like. There’s no need to clutter up a partner’s inbox with your own messages (there’s enough junk mail doing that already). Save the joint account for the things you both benefit from.
A shared email address isn’t the only solution, either. You could achieve a similar result using a password manager, as you could combine all of your various accounts into one family vault you both work off of. The best password managers, however, are paid subscriptions. Email is free.