Sharing an iTunes Library on a NAS device
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: I have an iTunes library stored on a NAS. I bought a new computer and turned on home sharing, but the “sharing” doesn’t show up in iTunes on the new computer, and I can’t locate the library via my home’s wireless network. How can my new computer access the library without copying everything over to the new machine? I want just one library but I want to access the music from all my computers.
A: It’s important to keep in mind that iTunes Home Sharing is designed to work between the iTunes applications running on two or more computers, and does not provide any way to access the iTunes library on a NAS device directly. Therefore, to share the iTunes library from your NAS device, you will need to have at least one computer running to “host” the shared iTunes library, regardless of where the actual media files and library database are stored—iTunes basically needs to access your files from the NAS device in much the same way as if they were on a local hard drive, and then makes them available from there via its own Home Sharing protocol.
So in this scenario you first need to enable Home Sharing in iTunes on whatever computer you’re already using for your iTunes library. You can then enable Home Sharing on any additional computers that you want to access the content from your main iTunes library. As long as the primary computer is online and iTunes is running on it, the secondary computers can then access your media content.
Note that Home Sharing is only designed to provide you with the ability to play or copy your content from other computers—it will not allow you to actually manage your library from anywhere other than your primary computer. Essentially, each computer still retains its own iTunes library database, and you can use Home Sharing to playback or copy content between these multiple libraries. This is particularly important regarding synchronizing iPods and iOS devices, since they will still be associated with the primary computer that stores your actual iTunes library database, and you will need to synchronize them with that computer.
If you’re looking to actually manage your iTunes library from your other computers in terms of features such as creating playlists and modifying track information you will basically need to ensure that your actual iTunes library database is on the NAS device and then configure each computer to use the common library database. This will effectively give you full access to your iTunes library from any of your computers, but it’s important to note that the iTunes database is not designed for multi-user access, so you will only be able to have iTunes open on one computer at a time without risking database corruption and other problems. You can find more information about moving your iTunes library database in our article on Transferring your iTunes Library.
If your primary concern is sharing your music, you may find that Apple’s iTunes Match service provides a possible compromise. With iTunes Match you can effectively stored your music library on Apple’s servers, and any of your computers that are configured for the same iTunes Match account will be able to not only play back content from iCloud, but can also manage that content and create and edit playlists, with all changes synchronized between all of your iTunes libraries via iCloud. In this case, you would probably still want to keep your main library on your NAS device, but your other computers would simply access your content from iCloud over the Internet rather than using Home Sharing.
- 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 adds Accessibility section to its online store
- LAPD hacked into iPhone 5s for murder investigation
- More details emerge on Apple Music overhaul
- iPhone tops Time’s list of most influential gadgets
- Kohl’s integrates rewards system with Apple Pay
- Apple hires ex-Nest exec to aid in health initiatives
- Apple loses exclusive ‘iPhone’ trademark in China
- Apple to reveal ‘sweeping changes’ to Apple Music interface at WWDC
- Apple releases fourth developer betas for iOS 9.3.2, tvOS 9.2.1
- Bowers & Wilkins acquired by EVA Automation
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt with HomeKit support
- ClamCase ClamCase Pro for iPad mini 4
- Brydge BrydgeMini II Keyboard for iPad mini 4
- 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
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)