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iTunes Home Sharing: How to Listen to Your Music Library Between Computers

Share and stream songs on your home network using iTunes Home Sharing

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iTunes Home Sharing

iTunes Home Sharing Icon

Image Courtesy of Apple,Inc.

Introduction to Home Sharing

If you've got a home network and want an easy way to listen to the songs in your iTunes music library, then Home Sharing is an efficient and simple way to share between computers. If you've never used this feature before then you've probably used the more traditional methods of transfer such as syncing from iCloud or even burning audio CDs. With Home Sharing enabled (by default it is turned off) you essentially have a special media sharing network where all the computers in your home can join

For more information, read our frequently asked questions article on Home Sharing.

Requirements

 First you'll need the latest iTunes software installed on each machine to get started -- at a minimum this has to be at least version 9. The other pre-requisite for Home Sharing is an Apple ID that can be used on each computer (up to a maximum of 5).

Apart from that, once you setup Home Sharing you'll probably wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

Enabling Home Sharing in iTunes

As previously mentioned, Home Sharing is disabled by default in iTunes. To enable it, follow the steps below.

For Windows:

  1. On the main iTunes screen, Click the File menu tab and choose the Home Sharing sub-menu. Click on the option to Turn on Home Sharing.
  2. You should now see a screen displayed giving you the option to log in. Type in your Apple ID (usually your email address) and then the password in the relevant text boxes. Click the Turn on Home Sharing button.
  3. Once Home Sharing is activated you will see a confirmation message that it is now on. Click Done. Don't worry if you see the Home Sharing icon vanish from the left pane in iTunes. It will still be active but only appears when other computers using Home Sharing are detected.

Once you've done this on one computer, you'll need to repeat the above process on all the other machines in your home network in order to see them via iTunes Home Sharing.

For Mac:

  1. Click on the Advanced menu tab and then choose the Turn on Home Sharing option.
  2. On the next screen, type in your Apple ID and password respectively in the two text boxes.
  3. Click the Create Home Share button.
  4. A confirmation screen should now be displayed telling you that Home Sharing is now on. Click Done to finish.

If you don't see the Home Sharing icon displayed in the left pane then all this means is that no other computers in your home network are currently logged into Home Sharing. Simply repeat the steps above on the other machines on your network making sure you use the same Apple ID.

Note: If you have other computers that aren't associated with your Apple ID, then you'll need to authorized them before being able to add them to the Home Sharing network.

Viewing Other Computers' iTunes Libraries

With other computers also logged into your Home Sharing network, these will be available in iTunes -- accessible from the left pane in iTunes. To see the contents of a computer's iTunes library:

  1. Click on the name of a computer under the Shared menu.
  2. Click the Show drop-down menu (near the bottom of the screen) and select the Items Not in My Library option.

You'll now be able to view songs in another computer's library as if it were on your machine.

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