Transferring purchases from a remote iTunes library

Transferring purchases from a remote iTunes library 1

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?

– Jessica

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.

  1. I have seen this advice several places but it never works for me.. “You can tell iTunes to create a new library database or choose one from another location simply by holding down the SHIFT key (Windows) or OPT key (Mac) while starting iTunes”. It always just opens iTunes.. I’m running iTunes and Windows 7.. Seems like Apple just hates users of iTunes.. they always mess with things that “work”..

  2. Hey I recently used a program i found on the web called copy trans to restore my itunes from my ipod it worked but now Im having all kinds of other problems. My podcasts wont transfer and I cant watch a video when I do it tells me that Itunes needs to shut down. Also when I sync my ipod it tells me that the supporting cd cant be found????????? AH……. help so i dont have to pay Apple I do have a book but it is not helping
    thanks Damon

  3. I received a new Ipod Nano 5th generation for Christmas. I already had a Nano 2nd generation. On my old ipod I could play music I had imported from old 45s and albums from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. On the new Ipod and iTunes I can’t play any of this music. What can I do to get my old music to play with the ipod? Thank you for your assistance?

  4. I have had an iphone for some time and my son uses it whenever possible to play games that he downloads from the app store (some free, some paid).

    For Xmas I bought him an ipod touch so he can have is own. How can I transfer the games we have already paid for onto his new ipod touch without having to pay for them again.

    We use a common family Windows Vista PC that we can share if needed.

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