iTunes 9 Home Sharing between accounts

Apple introduced a new 'Home Sharing' feature in the latest iTunes to allow you to manually, or automatically keep your iTunes library in sync across multiple machines.

This sounded like the solution to a long standing problem of trying to keep my iTunes library in sync across 3 machines - my laptop, Rosemary's laptop and our home server. In the past I have tried (and paid for) numerous applications claiming to provide such a feature, all of them failing in a variety of ways to achieve anything approaching reliable.

Introducing Home Sharing

The new iTunes Home Sharing feature seemed to be the solution to a long standing problem, but unfortunately has an annoying restriction - that is all machines must be logged in with the same itunes account, and well, Rosemary and I have different accounts.

The result is, no syncing between our accounts.

But wait!

While testing sharing, I noticed you could be logged into the iTunes Store with one account, and setup Home Sharing with another iTunes account... maybe I could setup a separate iTunes account and authorise it across all machines, and use that for Home Sharing?

It turns out you can, and once setup it works perfectly - even for iPhone apps!

The process is straight forward:

  1. Create a new itunes account which will act as your 'shared' account.
  2. Login to the iTunes store on each machine and 'authorize' this new account (from the top menu 'Store > Authorize Computer...').
  3. Log out of the iTunes store, and back in with the individuals account on each machine.
  4. Now setup 'Home Sharing' using the new 'shared' account on each machine.
  5. Once multiple machines are setup, you'll be able to use 'Home Sharing' to browse and sync everything from the other machines as normal - while any iTunes store purchases will still be made using your own personal account.

One thing to note is all machines must be authorized to use the multiple accounts, and each account can only be authorized across 5 machines at once.


Absolutely! iTunes has always allowed you to copy and use your iTunes purchases across 5 authorised machines (including iPhone apps) - but it's always been a pain to keep them in sync. Now with the iTunes Home Sharing feature iTunes takes care of all the hard work.


This is the personal blog of Adrian Lynch, owner of Millstream, developers of Spring CMS.

Version: 1.3