Q: I have already used 4 of my 5 computer authorizations available to me. How do I deauthorize a computer I no longer have access to? I read someone else’s query about the same matter in a previous article, and your response indicated that I could go to the Music Store and select “Deauthorize All” from my account settings page, but I cannot seem to do this, as the “Deauthorize All” button does not appear for me.
A: The “Deauthorize All” button will only appear in your iTunes Store account settings once you have actually reached your five-computer limit for authorizations. The primary purpose of this function is to allow you to reset your authorization count in the event that you cannot authorize any additional computers due to having reached your limit. Prior to reaching this limit you therefore wouldn’t have a need to deauthorize any other computers as long as you still have authorizations remaining.
Note as well that you can only use the “Deauthorize All” option once per year. If you have already used the option within the past year, the button will still appear (providing you have reached your five-computer limit), but attempts to select this option will result in a dialog box advising you of this and on what date you will be able to use the deauthorization option again.
While it is always a good practice to deauthorize any computers you will no longer be using (in addition to removing your iTunes library and any other personal data from them), forgetting to do this for an inaccessible computer does not put any of your personal data or iTunes account information at risk. Even on an authorized computer, iTunes requires entry of your iTunes Store user name and password in order to perform any iTunes Store transactions, such as purchasing new content and viewing or updating your iTunes Store account information. A computer left authorized will be able to do no more than play any existing tracks that have been previously purchased with your account and are still stored on that particular computer.
Further, the “Deauthorize All” option in the iTunes Store will not proactively force deauthorization of any remote computers—rather it just resets the authorization counts in your iTunes Store profile and invalidates all keys previously issued for those computers. The authorization keys are not removed from the remote computer itself until it reconnects to your iTunes Store account to download new content.
If you are still concerned about iTunes Store authorization keys being stored on a computer that you no longer have access to, you can always contact the iTunes Store Customer Support team, explain the situation to them, and ask them to manually reset your authorizations.