Daily Tip: How to authorize and deauthorize iTunes computers linked to one account

Do you want to know how to authorize and deauthorize iTunes linked accounts? If you purchase your media content through iTunes and want to play it back on different computers in your home, you are restricted to a maximum of five Windows or Mac PCs linked to a single iTunes account. If you sell, re-install, upgrade or replace  a computer, you can soon run into the problem of not being able to authorize a new one, due to reaching your maximum of five. In this daily tip, we show you how to authorize a new computer, deauthorize an existing computer and also how to completely reset your five authorized computers. Read on to find out how!

To authorize a computer to play purchases using your Apple iTunes Account

  • Open iTunes
  • From the iTunes menu, select the Store section
  • Click on Authorize this Computer
  • Enter your iTunes username and password; if you are under the total of five computers, this one will be authorized and start to play the media.
  • That’s it your done!

If you encounter a problem authorizing your computer and get an error message stating that you have already reached your five computer allowance, you will need to de-authorize a computer before you can continue.

To deauthorize a computer

  • Open iTunes.
  • Choose StoreDeauthorize Computer (In earlier versions of iTunes, access this option from the Advanced menu).
  • Select "Deauthorize Computer for Apple Account" and enter your Apple ID and password.

Make sure you deauthorize your computer before you upgrade your RAM, hard disk or other system components, or reinstall Windows or Mac OS X. If you do not deauthorize your computer before you upgrade these components, one computer may use multiple authorizations.

If you have sold a computer or no longer have access to it, or if the hard drive died, etc. and you didn’t deauthorize it, all is not lost. You can reset every computer associated with your iTunes account.

Note: this is only allowed once a year, so keep that in mind!

To deauthorize all computers associated with your account

If you find you have reached 5 authorizations, you can reset your authorization count by clicking Deauthorize All in the Account Information screen.

  • Click iTunes Store in the menu on the left side of iTunes.
  • If you're not signed in to the store, click the Account button, then enter your account name and password.
  • Click the Account button again (your ID appears on the button), enter your password, and then click View Account.
  • In the Account Information window, click Deauthorize All.

Once you have done this, you will have to go back and authorize all the computers that you wish to use with your iTunes account. Also please note, you may only use this feature once per year. The Deauthorize All button will not appear if you have fewer than 5 authorized computers, or if you have already used this option within the last 12 months.

Yes, DRM (Digital Rights Management) is annoying, and authorizing and deauthorizing computers is a hassle, but at least iTunes makes it a fairly straightforward process. If you have any other iTunes tips, share them with us in comments!

Tips of the day will range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you’d like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to news@tipb.com. (If it’s especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we’ll even give ya a reward…)




Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

More Posts



← Previously

iPhone Live podcast tonight at 9pm EDT, come chat!

Next up →

Twitter rolling out web app redesign resembling official iPhone app

Reader comments

Daily Tip: How to authorize and deauthorize iTunes computers linked to one account


Great article puts me at ease. I've 3 authorization 2 which must be computers I don't have anymore. Ive been so paranoid I would lose more and SOL. Now that I know I can erase all if I ever have 5 authorizations I won't worry about this anymore.

"The Deauthorize All button will not appear if you have fewer than 5 authorized computers" - this is stupid. What if you want to block someone you previously authorized from using your content, but you don't have 5 computers authorized?

Agreed. I was hunting and hunting for that Deauthorize All button, until I read the above comment.... I have 4 machine authorized.....yet, I only use 1 of them....grrrr so i will have to intentionally find a 5th, just to max out the 5, then trash them all? This is not the most clever of things.

Awesome article. I wanted to know about this. It was holding me up from buying a Mac. I'm ready to switch. Just need to decide desktop 27" or Mac book pro.

Thanks for the info. I am getting ready to upgrade my hardware and this was one of my worries as I only have 1 computer authorization left. All the other 4 have been on previous installs on the same computer. I didn't know there was a way to deauthorize. Thanks again.

Thanks for the article! I must confess that I love the iPhone and iPad, but I don't know all the ins and outs of iTunes, etc. This subject is something I've been wondering about. Thanks again.

This is sooooooo typical Apple. And by that, I mean STUPID. I had the same thing, two dead laptops, that for obvious reasons could not be de-authorized, and cannot "lose" them until I hit 5. Then when that happens, I have to de-authorize ALL OF THEM, then re-authorize the one I do want, AND can only perform this little diddy once a year. Better not have all your authorized devices in the same location, and have something happen. Way NOT to go there Jobs.....

But willtey be deauthorized also, my pc just died, I have a MacBook pro coming, but indon't want to lose the data on my iPad

Can you deauthorize all without losing data? I have just got a new laptop and need to deauthorize the other computers my accounts on but will it let me keep this one without deleting my iTunes?

I needed to draft you the bit of remark to finally give thanks again for the pleasing thoughts you've shared on this page. This is really incredibly open-handed with you to offer without restraint exactly what many of us would have sold as an electronic book to earn some bucks for themselves, certainly now that you could possibly have tried it if you ever desired. Those creative ideas as well worked to provide a easy way to be sure that other people online have the identical zeal much like my own to figure out great deal more with regards to this problem. I think there are millions of more enjoyable situations ahead for individuals who take a look at your blog.

I would not call this authorize-eauthorize"straighforward". For instance my main computer has just been deauthorized by some intercession of some holy ghost somewhere, but not by me. Your system relies, obviously, on a computer being identified by some signature which you compute based on your understanding of my configuration. And warnings about the terrible consequences of changing, say, the size of the memory are not very useful because you ignore changes made by other software vendors in the PC Open architecture. So Mocrosoft has a weekly update, sometimes big, sometimes small. I do not really control that. Then Adobe does updatees too. Of course Apple wants to update iTunes and Quicktime. I did buy an upgrade of Photoshop CS6 and the new Lightroom 4.1. And a new copy of Shadow Protect, and some other stuff.
And guess what, my computer has been deodorized, I meant de-authorized.
I am confortable with these upgrades, and new software, and security updates. That Apple think that all of this activity creates a NEW computer is ..ah...not really very smart and considerably annoying. The way I would put it is that you guys are in my underwear, and frankly, you have no business in there.
The IBM PC is not a Apple controlled environment. For all its warts and problems it is still the mainstream personal computer, and I do not believe that the solution is to go buy a MAC. So NO, your identification of a given computing device is not working.
And yes DRM is an Hassle, and it only annoys those of us who pay for songs, videos, and software. It does not annoy, in the least , those who cheat.

Wow, incredible weblog structure! How lengthy have you been running a blog for? you make running a blog look easy. The full glance of your web site is magnificent, let alone the content material!

Fantastic goods from you, man. I've understand your stuff prior to and you are simply extremely fantastic. I actually like what you have acquired right here, certainly like what you're stating and the best way during which you are saying it. You are making it entertaining and you continue to care for to stay it sensible. I can't wait to learn much more from you. This is really a terrific website.

I de-authorised my vista computer and installed windows 8. I downloaded iTunes and when I went to sync it was going to wipe my ipad. I have a playlist of 100 backing tracks I can't afford to lose so now I can't sync any suggestions would be appreciated I did authorise the new iTunes.