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iTunes Home Sharing FAQ: How to Share Your Music Library Over a Home Network


iTunes Home Sharing

iTunes Home Sharing

Image Courtesy of Apple,Inc.
Question: iTunes Home Sharing FAQ: How to Share Your Music Library Over a Home Network

Find out how you can enjoy your music library at home without having to constantly sync music or burn CDs. By reading this frequently asked questions article on Home Sharing in iTunes, you will discover what can be achieved by using your preexisting home network. You will also get to grips with what needs to be in place in order to stream music to your iOS devices and share files between computers.


What does the Home Sharing feature in iTunes enable me to do?

In a nutshell, the Home Sharing feature in iTunes creates a share space (network) where you can connect computers and Apple devices together in order to share your iTunes library. This makes use of your existing home network (via a router etc.) so you can gain access to all your songs, videos, movies, and more. This then negates the need for you to use time-consuming traditional methods of sharing such as syncing via a cable, burning audio CDs, or downloading files from iCloud to each individual device.

Can I share music files between computers?

Yes you can. Home Sharing in iTunes allows you to share files between the computers in your home. The iTunes software installed on each machine has to be version 9 or higher in order to use Apple's proprietary DAAP (Digital Audio Access Protocol). You also need to have an iTunes account (Apple ID) that you can log into on each PC or Mac computer. In order to transfer song files from one computer to another you have to make sure that the same Apple ID is used. There's a maximum number of computers that can use Home Sharing at any one time -- this is currently limited to 5.

If you want to keep your iTunes library in sync with all the other computers on your Home Sharing network, there's a feature you can utilize called Automatic Transfer. This is disabled by default, but can be enabled if you want all your computers to have exactly the same media files, regardless of which one you use to purchase from the iTunes Store.

Remember, you aren't restricted to just music using Home Sharing. Your other media files can also be shared as long as you use the same Apple ID on each machine.

Can I just stream rather than copy files between computers?

You don't have to transfer music files around your iTunes Home Sharing network just to listen to them. If you prefer, you can also stream files from one computer to another.

What do I need to stream iTunes songs to my iOS devices?

To be able to stream songs over your home network using iTunes Home Sharing, you'll need an Apple device with at least iOS version 4.3 installed. This can be an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Home Sharing on iOS devices works a bit differently to sharing between computers. You won't be able to sync files from a computer using this feature, but you'll still be able to wirelessly stream media over your home network's Wi-Fi connection. To successfully stream content to your iOS device you need an Apple ID. You will also have to make sure that the Apple ID is the same on both the computer you are streaming from and your Apple device.

Can I stream music to my Apple TV?

Yes, Home Sharing is compatible with Apple TV. You'll need at least a second generation Apple TV device and just like other iOS devices, you'll need to make sure it's connected to the same Wi-Fi network and that the Home Sharing feature is enabled. As well as music, you can stream other media types too, like: music videos, TV shows, movies, etc.

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