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?
- Apple executive talks using AI to boost human memory
- Apple rolling out ‘Today at Apple’ educational courses starting in May
- Smart home device maker iDevices acquired by Hubbell
- Apple delays ‘Carpool Karaoke’ release to ‘later this year’
- Dutch court rules Apple can’t replace broken iPads with refurbished models
- Chinese blog claims Apple is only releasing two iPhone 8 models, no iPhone 7s or 7s Plus
- Apple releases fourth betas of iOS 10.3.2, watchOS 3.2.2, and tvOS 10.2.1
- Images claim to show iPhone 8 prototype with glass back, vertical camera
- Apple works on alternative power sources, new uses for waste heat in Denmark data center
- Training documents reveal safety details about Apple’s self-driving car system
- Advanced Mezger aptX Bluetooth Receiver
- iDevices Wall Switch
- iDevices Wall Outlet
- Koogeek Wi-Fi SmartSocket for Apple HomeKit
- Sony MDR-1000X Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones
- FiiO i1 Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Adapter
- Blue Ella Headphones
- Apple iPad (Fifth-Generation)
- AudioQuest NightOwl Carbon Headphones
- ExoLens PRO with Optics by ZEISS Wide-Angle Lens Kit
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- 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