How to use multiple Apple ID's with one computer and iTunes

Many families share one computer and in turn, may back up and sync more than one iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with that one computer. If everyone in your household all shares the same Apple ID for purchases in iTunes, it's normally not an issue. But what if that's not the case and you all want your own Apple ID's for iTunes purchases and you don't want mom's cooking apps mixed in with dad's finance apps? As it happens, you can set iTunes up to separate Apple ID's quite easily.

It'll take a little bit of effort to set up but once you're done, none of your apps, music, tv shows, and movies will be intertwined nor require you to authorize all accounts in the same iTunes library. Here's how.

How to create a new iTunes library

First we'll need to create an iTunes library for each person that's using that computer by performing the following steps:

  1. Completely quit iTunes and make sure it is not running in the background. Now hold down either alt/option on your Mac or Shift on your PC and click to open iTunes again.
  2. You'll notice instead of opening, iTunes is now asking you to either create a new library or navigate to an existing one. Click on the Create Library... option.
  3. Now give it a name and choose where you want to save it at. For most people, the default Music folder is probably fine. After you've named it and selected where you want it to be located at, click on Save.
  4. You'll now be able to scan for media for the new library or you can just sign in to iTunes and bring everything down that you've previously purchased with your Apple ID if you'd like.
  5. Repeat this process and create a library for each person you'd like to have their own iTunes library to use with their own Apple ID.

How to switch between iTunes libraries

Now that you've set up an iTunes library for each person in your household, the rest is easy. You can easily switch between the libraries in just a few taps.

  1. Completely quit iTunes and make sure it is not running in the background. Now hold down either alt/option on your Mac or Shift on your PC and click to open iTunes just like you did to create your libraries.
  2. Instead of creating one, this time you'll select the option for Choose Library....
  3. Navigate to the library you'd like to use and select Open.
  4. That's it. You can close out iTunes when you're done and the next person can do the same thing and open their own iTunes library.

This process will allow each person to have their own personalized library that isn't filled with stuff they don't use by other people who use that same computer. That means your own apps, music, tv shows, music, and other media types that you purchase will only filter into your library, not everyone else's - as long as you're using your own Apple ID's.