Using Apple TV with different iTunes accounts


Q: I recently purchased a new Apple TV. My partner and I each have separate iTunes accounts and separate computers. Unlike the Apple Remote app, which supports adding computers with or without Home Sharing, the Apple TV seems to only connect to computers via Home Sharing. Is there a way to connect the Apple TV to both computers? Signing in and out with different accounts is not very convenient, particularly when I just want to stream music and can otherwise leave the TV off and use the Remote app.

– Dave

A: While there’s no way to have the Apple TV connect to more than one Home Sharing account, it’s important to understand that the iTunes Store account used for Home Sharing does not have to be the same as the account used to purchase content. In fact, it doesn’t have to match any of the accounts that you’re using for your iTunes libraries. Basically, other than being an iTunes Store account, there’s no correlation between the account you use for Home Sharing and the account you use to purchase content from the iTunes Store. Further, once Home Sharing is setup, any authorized content can be accessed over the home network, regardless of which account it was purchased with, as long as both computers are authorized to play that content.

This means that you and your partner can setup home sharing between your iTunes libraries and your Apple TV using either one of your iTunes Store accounts, or if you like simply setup a third iTunes Store account just for Home Sharing. The Apple TV will stream content from either iTunes library based on what those computers are authorized to play, even from multiple iTunes Store accounts, regardless of the Home Sharing account that is being used.

Keep in mind that you can be logged in to the Apple TV with one iTunes Store account for actually renting content and use a completely different account for Home Sharing. These are setup in two separate locations: The iTunes Store account is under Settings, General and the Home Sharing account is under Settings, Computers. If you rent content directly on the Apple TV, you must remain logged into the appropriate iTunes Store account to access that content, but again this has nothing to do with which account you use for Home Sharing.

For more information, see Fifteen New Details On The Second-Generation Apple TV.

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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.