Q: How do you add shared music from another iTunes library to your iPod or iPhone?

– Kaitlyn

A: If you’re thinking of an iTunes library that is being shared by another computer running iTunes on the same network, then unfortunately there is no way to do this through iTunes itself. Music shared via iTunes can only be listened to—it cannot be copied or synced to an iPod unless it’s also in your local iTunes library.

If you have file-share access across the network to the iTunes folder on the other computer, you can import these tracks manually into your own library directly by connecting to that computer and copying the music across the network as you would for any other file. There is also a third-party application called ourTunes that can do this for you, however this is an app that functions on the basis of reverse-engineering (or “cracking”) Apple’s authentication/encryption used by shared libraries, and as a result is frequently broken by iTunes updates. Specifically, although an incomplete version is presently available for iTunes 7, there is no support for iTunes 8 at all.

Alternatively, if you have access to install software on the remote library computer, you can look to applications such as TuneRanger (Mac/Windows, $30, trial available) and Syncopation (Mac only, $25, trial available), which are third-party applications that can sync tracks between iTunes libraries. These applications can either sync entire libraries in one or two directions, or can be configured to sync only a subset of selected playlists. In this case, you would not be using “shared” libraries via iTunes, but instead would be copying or syncing content between your iTunes libraries automatically. Once the tracks are in your local iTunes library, you simply sync them to your iPod in the same way that you would any other track.


Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.