Sharing an iTunes library between separate user accounts
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: My wife and I have separate user accounts on our computer. I would like to set up iTunes on her login so she can update her iPod when she’s on the computer (a chore I currently do for her when I’m logged in). It needs to be the same configuration with the same music library. How do I do this?
A: By default, iTunes sets up a separate library for each user account on your computer, stored within the “My Music” folder for each individual user account. It is possible to share the same iTunes library between two separate accounts, although to do so you will need to ensure the iTunes library is in a common location where both accounts can access it.
One way of approaching this is to simply ensure that your wife’s account has the necessary rights to read and write files within your own “My Music” folder. However, this is generally a bit more complicated than simply moving your entire iTunes library and media content to a more central common folder (ie, C:\iTunes).
To move your iTunes library to another location on your computer, you start by changing the path to the “iTunes Music” folder and then using the Consolidate Library function to copy all of your music into that new location. You can then manually copy the iTunes library database files to the new location and point iTunes to this new location by holding down the SHIFT key while starting up iTunes. You will need to login in to both accounts and point iTunes to the new location in each one.
Note that your media content should be in a separate folder from your actual iTunes database files, similar to the way in which it is organized in your “My Music” folder.
You can find a more detailed tutorial on how to relocate your iTunes library in our iPod 201 article, Transferring your iTunes Library.
Note that even when sharing a common library, iTunes will store your preferences separately for each Windows user account, so you will want to go through your preference screens in each account and ensure that they match. Most critically, ensure that the settings in the “Advanced” tab are the same, since this controls how iTunes will organize your music files within the “iTunes Music” folder.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Incipio to acquire Skullcandy
- Apple confirms iOS 10 kernel was left open to improve performance
- Apple leaves iOS 10 kernel open to scrutiny
- Judge throws out ‘Error 53’ lawsuit against Apple
- Chinese company in iPhone patent fight is all but defunct
- Apple adds nine more apps to universal search in Apple TV
- WSJ: iPhone to see modest changes this year, eliminate headphone jack
- China tightening restrictions on mobile games starting next month
- Supreme Court patent ruling bodes well for future Apple cases
- Apple to pay $400M to consumers over e-book price fixing case
- Zagg Slim Book for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Element Case Ronin for iPhone 6/6s
- JBL Clip 2 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- Catalyst Case for iPad mini 4
- Jaybird Freedom Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- Zagg Flex Arc Wireless Earbuds + Speakers
- Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC SonicPro Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation
- Twelve South BookBook for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Spigen Rugged Armor, Style Armor + Wallet S for iPhone SE
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app