Sharing home libraries in iTunes 9
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.
What is the best way for a family to manage multiple iTunes’ libraries? There are three computers in my house, each with a separate iTunes library. Sometimes, one of us would like to add music from another person’s library. We would also like to have all music backed up. The computers are networked wirelessly. What would be the simplest set-up to accomplish all of this? Would it be best to store all music on one drive, or would doing so make the process of syncing considerably slower? And is there any particular software configuration (either on iTunes or other software) that makes this process of sharing and saving easiest?
The short answer is to upgrade all of the computers in your household to iTunes 9, which was released this past Wednesday. You can read more information on iTunes 9 in our Instant Expert Article.
iTunes 9 provides a new feature called “Home Sharing” which sounds like exactly what you want. With Home Sharing, you can link all of your iTunes libraries together through your iTunes Store account for the purposes of sharing content between them. Unlike the traditional iTunes library sharing feature, the “Home Sharing” feature allows you to browse the tracks in other users’ libraries on your home network and not only listen to them but also import them into your library. Despite the fact that the feature description repeatedly uses the word “Purchased tracks” this feature works with any content in any of your iTunes libraries, and not just content purchased from the iTunes Store.
If you’re unable to upgrade to iTunes 9 for some reason, then there are other solutions that can be used in iTunes 8 to keep your iTunes libraries in sync and share music between them, but these are definitely more cumbersome and generally require the use of third-party software applications which need to be purchased separately.
As for backing up your music, this ends up being a separate issue. However, if you’re already backing up the computers containing your music, then your music would form part of those backups. If on the other hand you’d prefer to back up your iTunes library in a single, central location, you can still use the iTunes 9 “Home Sharing” feature for this: Simply ensure that one single “master” library contains all of the tracks from the other libraries. The Home Sharing feature allows you to list only those tracks that are in other libraries but not already in your current library, making this option even simpler.
Further, the Home Sharing feature provides the capability for any content added to a remote iTunes library to be automatically synced to the current library. This is accessed from the “Settings” button found at the bottom of the Home Sharing screen.
- 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 Store app update allows purchases from Apple Watch
- Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.2 to developers
- Apple reveals cause of unexpected iPhone 6s shutdowns
- Report: 99 percent of fake Apple chargers found to be unsafe
- Apple offering battery replacements for iPhone 6s models with ‘unexpected shutdown issues’ (Updated)
- Report: Fitbit to acquire Pebble
- Apple releases statement on iCloud Calendar spam
- Apple sending out drones to improve Maps data, adding interior building maps
- Tim Cook allegedly tells customer AirPods to ship in ‘next few weeks’
- Apple Pay reportedly launching in Spain tomorrow
- iHome iZBT10 Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Speaker
- Twelve South HiRise Duet for Apple Watch and iPhone
- IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor
- JBL Under Armour Sport Wireless Heart Rate Headphones
- Edifier e235 Luna E Speaker System
- Clamcase ClamCase+ for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Scosche BoomBottle H2O+ Waterproof Wireless Speaker
- Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle with Smart Lid
- Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- Creative iRoar Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- 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