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How to Deauthorize an Old iTunes Computer: Removing Dead Computers From iTunes

Reset the iTunes authorization limit to quickly remove old or dead computers

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Why Do I Need to Authorize Computers in the First Place?
If you are not sure what authorization in iTunes is all about, then this short section will explain the nuts and bolts of this feature without going into too much detail. You can of course skip this section if you are familiar with iTunes authorization in order to see how to remove all registered computers from your iTunes account.

In order to use the iTunes Store and the content purchased from it, you have to ensure that your computer is authorized via the iTunes software application. The idea behind authorization in iTunes is to make sure that the digital products that have been downloaded from the iTunes Store are only accessible by the users who have legitimately purchased it -- this includes the ability to transfer your iTunes library to a new computer etc. This DRM system as it is often referred to is designed to limit the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.

To be able to access and manage content you have purchased from the iTunes Store, your Apple ID has to be linked with every computer you use. Doing this will allow you to play media content such as music, audiobooks, and movies. Other types of content too like ibooks, apps, etc., can only be managed via an authorized computer. If you intend on syncing all your iTunes Store purchases to your iPod, iPhone, etc., then you will have to ensure that the computer you are working on is authorized.

Deauthorizing Old or Dead Computers
When you run into a situation where the computers that you once used with your iTunes account are no longer accessible (e.g. if dead or sold on) and you have reached the 5 computer limit, then you won't be able to deauthorize directly using the iTunes software. Normally you have to work on each existing computer to deauthorize it. However, following this guide you will learn how to remove all computers in one go that are associated with your Apple ID. However, before proceeding keep in mind that this is a last resort and can only be done once per year.

  1. Launch the iTunes software and apply any updates if necessary
  2. Click on the iTunes Store link in the left window pane (in the Store section).
  3. Click the Sign In button near the top right-hand side on the screen. Type in your Apple ID and password in the relevant fields and click Sign In.
  4. Click the drop-down menu next to your Apple ID name (top right-hand side of screen as before) and choose the Account option.
  5. On the Account Information screen, look in the Apple ID Summary section for Computer Authorizations. If you have 2 or more authorized computers you should see a Deauthorize All button displayed -- click on this to continue.
  6. A dialog box will now pop up on the screen asking if you want to remove all computers associated with your Apple ID. To proceed, click the Deauthorize All Computers button.
  7. Finally, a message should now be displayed verifying that the deauthorization process has been completed. Click OK to finish.
You will now have to link your existing computers with your Apple ID account by using the Authorize This Computer option found in the Store menu at the top of the iTunes screen.

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