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

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.

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

More Posts

 

10
loading...
64
loading...
140
loading...
0
loading...

← Previously

MacBreak Weekly 340: Android Curious

Next up →

Share photos with friends, collaborate on albums, and more with Albumatic

There are 25 comments. Add yours.

Seps58 says:

Thanks for the info. An issue I have is that I actually created another user account on our computer to accomplish kind of what you are doing. How can I transfer that data to the new library?

rdstryr says:

You can place the music/app/video files into a shared folder. Step by step instructions: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1203

Allyson Kazmucha says:

This will be the easiest option. :)

Shannon Fernandez says:

Allyson, is this the only option for multiple iPhone users to have their own iCloud storage or is there another way for multiple Apple ID's to share one iTunes account?

ronlrich says:

Would each created account have to buy a paid app? Is there any way to share apps other than to be under the same Apple ID?

rdstryr says:

Just sign out of one account on your device and log into the account that has the app you want and download from Purchased under Updates tab on app store. My wife and I do that when one of us buys an app that the other might like.

ronlrich says:

Thank you. I will give that a try.

pstmd says:

"you don't want mom's cooking apps mixed in with dad's finance apps?"

Stereotype much?

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Really? That's what you pulled out of that?! I am a female with finance apps and cooking apps. I was making an easy to comprehend point. Wow. Just wow.

Danielle Barnes says:

Yeah, I picked that up too. How hard would it have been to change that from a mom/dad comparison to a parent/child?

Jaguarr40 says:

Ally,
You are the best ever. I don't need to do this but now I can teach my best friend and his girlfriend how so they don't get their things mixed up.
Now thanks to them I can impress them with my knowledge but I will give you the credit. :)

redsandvb says:

Thanks! I've been pulling out hairs trying to figure this out... Apple's article mentioned this, http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1495, but didn't mention Apple IDs, which really confused me.

Robert DeLaurentis says:

Whoa, this article could land some users in never never land. It works as described unless iTunes Match or Automatic Downloads are enabled.

In those cases, the Mac is treated as a single user device much the same as iOS devices are, and switching from one AppleID to another triggers a 90 day lockout on the previous ID. This holds true if you use multiple iTunes libraries under one user account, multiple user accounts on the same hardware, or different boot drives on the same CPU.

See this tech note for a partial explanation: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4627?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

"Partial" because Apple has published conflicting tech notes about this topic and does not explicitly denote the differences between "classic" iTunes and iTunes in the cloud.

chapps says:

Robert is correct. My hubby and I use a single computer and two separate iTunes accounts, and if we log in and purchase music, it all goes into a single library. We prefer it this way, so that we can share some of our purchases without any hassle. However, when he recently purchased an album on his iPad and wanted to transfer the music to his iPod nano, it proved impossible. We would normally just log into his iTunes account and tell it to download any purchases. Nothing. Then I found the purchased album in iCloud, but it gave the '90 day lockout' error message when we attempted to download it to our computer. Talk about insanely Byzantine! If he had just purchased it via the computer, there would be no problem, but purchase on a mobile device and all bets are off. So now, he can't listen to his album on his nano because it doesn't have iCloud connectivity. This is crazy.

Peter Eggington says:

Hi Chapps.

Could you let me know how you have your setup done. My wife and I have just married and would like all our music to be in one library that either of us can put onto our iPhones. We each have our own Apple ID and have purchased music that we would like on both devices. Does this also work for pictures?

zioncmnd says:

Robert is correct and since most people use the cloud and all of the automated features it provides, this article should be ignored completely - horrible advice unless it contains the disclaimer that it does not work with apps (as if that would be convenient).

Ryan Gray says:

The big assumption this doesn't state is that this is for people sharing the same user account. Otherwise, if people sharing a computer have separate user accounts, each gets a separate music library by default as well as mail, contacts, calendars, etc. Enable fast user switching for convenience.

zioncmnd says:

Not true at all. As Robert stated, once you have automatic app downloads enabled, which most people who are trying to utilize the convenience of the cloud do, it treats the machine individually, regardless of user accounts. Once you authorize on one user account, the other is disabled. Try to return it to the status quo and you are locked out for 90 days.

iDonev says:

I agree with Ryan's point above mine. If you're bent on having your own library you might as well create your own OS X/Windows account.

Regardless, great article!

Lucia Harvey says:

I understand the creating different libraries, what I don't understand is how the different ID's are associated to each library. We have a shared account. One person moved out and I need to give them their stuff, but retain my stuff, and It's a tad hostile, so I don't want them to have my apple ID information-since with it, they could access my account information and lock me out. I'd like to create their library and associate it to their NEW ID. Make sense?

The Dream1 says:

Great article, but here's my peculiar problem: I needed to download the 'kindle for iOS' app onto my iPad, but it unfortunately isn't available to my country. Is there a way I can create another ID using a supported country (but still on the same device) so I can get the app? I really need to get some books in the kindle format from amazon and I can't afford the amazon kindle right now. Regards

Steven Cooley1 says:

I like to know what is going on here my mom has an iPod nano 6th generation & I have a 7th generation iPod nano & she has her apple id & I have my apple id but the problem is that when I log in with my apple id it shows all her music in my apple id why does it do that & how do I fix it so it doesn't do that

hmerler says:

Thanks Ally! Now how do we get The Cloud talking to multiple id's and devices? Can different iPhones/iPads/id's share one cloud or should multiple clouds be linked (this would be a tempest)?

pchugh2 says:

How do you transfer iBooks and Apps to the second library? Thanks in advance!