Q: I’m a college student living away from home. My siblings and I share an iTunes library at home with all of our songs. Now I’m at school and I keep going to the iTunes Store to buy new songs and finding that they’ve already been purchased at home. Is there any way that I can get those songs here at school without having to buy them a second time?
A: With the exception of iPhone and iPod touch applications, the iTunes Store does not normally allow you to re-download your purchased content, so your best option is to transfer this content either from your existing iPod device or from your home computer.
If you have some of your purchased content on your iPod itself, you can transfer this back to iTunes from your iPod by using iTunes’ own Transfer Purchases option. To do this, ensure that your computer is authorized for the same iTunes Store account that was used to purchase this content by selecting Authorize Computer from the Store menu in iTunes and then entering your iTunes Store username and password when prompted.
Once your computer is successfully authorized, connect your iPod to it and choose Transfer Purchases from the File menu and iTunes will search through your iPod for any content purchased with your iTunes Store account and copy that content back to your iTunes library.
If you have other purchased content that is only on your home computer, then you may be best to simply have another family member collect that content and either burn it onto a CD or DVD and physically mail it to you, or send you the files electronically. The files can be burned to a CD or DVD directly from within iTunes, or exported to another folder to be sent out via a file sharing service simply by dragging and dropping them from your iTunes application into a Windows Explorer or Mac OS X Finder window. Once you have the purchased tracks, you can import them into your own iTunes library on your computer as you would any other media file. You may need to authorize your computer for your iTunes Store account, as noted above, before you can actually play these tracks, but after that they will play and synchronize with your iPod as they did at home.