Sharing apps between iTunes libraries on the same computer


Q: I just moved iTunes from an old Windows XP PC to a new Vista PC. Your article on moving iTunes was great. On Vista, I put the music content in the Public Music folder, and the
iTunes libraries in each user account. It all works except for Mobile Applications and Games, which are still stored under each user account. Is there any way to direct iTunes to use the Public folder for Mobile Applications and Games? I can do it on a one-off, but each time I buy one it goes into that user’s account and the other users cannot find see it.

– Wayne

A: Unfortunately, the location for the Mobile Applications and iPod Games folders are hard-coded to live within the iTunes library database folder itself, and there’s no way to change this.

The only solution to share the application folders would be to move the entire iTunes library database folder to a single common location, and then redirect each user account to use that as the library database. This is accomplished by holding down the SHIFT key when starting iTunes and choosing the new library folder.

The downside to this approach, of course, is that each of your users would be sharing the same iTunes library database as well, including all playlists, ratings, playcounts and other metadata. You could of course still sync multiple iPods to this single database, but sharing this data may not be what you want to do, and more importantly you would not be able to use “Fast user switching” to have more than one user running iTunes at the same time, as you would risk corrupting the iTunes database by doing so.

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Jesse Hollington

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.