Sharing iTunes Libraries

When iTunes 9 was released it gave people the ability to share iTunes libraries with other computers on their network. My husband and I have our own iTunes accounts and libraries. He buys music and I buy apps but they stay on our own computers. When we wanted to share apps we had a work around that we did. I’m not going to share it though, trade secrets and all plus there’s no need anymore because with Home Sharing it’s really easy to pass on the good stuff in your iTunes library.

Here’s how you do it. First you’ll need to authorize your iTunes account to work on the other computer. Do this by clicking on “Store” and then “Authorize Computer.” Watch out because you’re only able to authorize your account on five computers. Next you’ll go to “Advanced” and “Turn on Home Sharing”. You’ll enter in your iTunes account information again and you’ve turned on Home Sharing – for your computer. You have to repeat this process with the other computer you’d like to share with and you must use the same account to turn on the Home Sharing on each computer you want to see. Originally I turned mine on and my husband turned on his and then we were stumped as to why it wasn’t working. He figured it out before I did (he usually does) and we turned off my Home Sharing and then he turned it on using his iTunes account. Viola – there we were.  When you’ve successfully turned on the sharing for multiple computers you’ll see the word “Shared” in the left hand column of iTunes. Underneath that will be home icons with the names of the libraries.

Now it’s time to decide what exactly you want to share in the “Preferences” window. If you use a Mac you’ll find this in the iTunes menu, for a PC it’s in the edit menu. Click on “Sharing” here and you’ll see you’ve got some choices to make.  You’ll want to check the box next to “Look for shared libraries”, this will give you access to the other iTunes libraries on your network. If you check share my library…” you’re giving others access to yours. You can be as generous or stingy as you want with your library. I choose to share my music, movies, TV shows, and purchased items (this covers apps). If you’d like even more control you can set a password. This would probably be a good idea if you were sharing libraries across a network at work. You could give your password out to friends and you’d be able to keep that guy from the third floor from lifting your Wicked soundtrack.

When you click on the libraries listed under “Shared” they will load into your iTunes. Now you can drag and drop things from that library into your own.  You can also go through the library and select everything that you want to copy , then click on the “Import” button at the bottom right of the screen. Here’s a trick that we just discovered tonight as I was putting this together. When my husband first set up the Home Sharing he had everything set to automatically transfer from my library to his and vice versa. This meant that whenever we both had iTunes open our libraries would share everything, whether we liked it or not. So I ended up with all of his blues music and he ended up with the apps that are constantly revolving on and off my iPhone. Tonight I discovered a solution. Happy Day!! When you are viewing someone’s library there is a “Settings” button that appears in the bottom right of iTunes. Give that a click. Now you can select what you want to automatically transfer. I have now selected nothing. If I want something from his library I will have to drag and drop it and that is just fine with me. I went ahead and made the same changes for him so he won’t find the pregnancy trackers showing up on his phone anymore.

Two last things- If you have extensive libraries then you’re going to have quite a list when you’re viewing the shared ones. To get around this click on the button next to “Show” at the bottom of iTunes. Here you can choose to show all items or only the items not in your library. Finally, something else I learned the hard way. Shared libraries don’t show up unless the person has iTunes open on their computer. One day I spent an embarrassing amount of time looking for my husband’s library in my iTunes. I finally called him because he’s purchased a CD that I wanted to copy. I’m sure he was laughing at me when he explained that minor detail  about the other library actually having to be opened before it could show up over the wireless network. Don’t know how I thought I was going to see it since his Mac was in his car, at work. I must have been thinking the hamsters in my PC weren’t spinning their wheel fast enough or something else equally logical.

Happy Sharing Everyone!

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