Daily Tip: How to use iOS 4.3 Home Sharing

iOS 4.3 features: Home Sharing

Wondering how to enable the new Home Sharing feature in OS 4.3 so you can stream your iTunes library from your Windows or Mac PC without having to sync? Apple introduced Home Sharing for PCs last spring in iTunes 9 and enabled it for the new Apple TV last fall but it took until now to get it on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. However it requires a little setup. We'll show you what to do after the break!

To enable Home Sharing on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 4.3:

  1. Make sure Home Sharing is enabled on iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC (you'll find it under the advanced menu and you'll need to login with your iTunes account to activate it) and is on the same Wi-Fi network as your device.
  2. Launch Settings on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad
  3. Scroll down and tap on iPod
  4. Scroll down and enter your iTunes username and password under Home Sharing (if you enter the wrong information, you'll get a popup telling you it can't be enabled).
  5. Launch the iPod app
  6. Tap on More on the bottom tabs
  7. Tap on the new Shared icon at the bottom
  8. Tap on the computer name you want to access under Shared Libraries
  9. You'll be taken "back" to the iPod app but you'll now be seeing your PC's library instead of your local device library (it can be a little confusing at first but the PC library name is written on top of the scroll list).
  10. Choose your music, TV, movies, or other media just as you would have previously, but it'll now stream from your PC over Wi-Fi.
  11. To change back to your local device library, tap on More, tap on Sharing, and select your local device from the top of the list (you'll see a checkmark next to whichever library is currently the active one).

That's it! A little complex and it can be confusing, but it works and for media you only want access to occasionally, it can save you a lot of occasional syncing. If you have any questions or any Home Sharing tips to share, let us know in the comments!

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 54 comments. Add yours.

sting7k says:

Do I have to still be at my house on the same WLAN or can I be on wifi at work and stream stuff from my desktop at home?

sting7k says:

Weak, this is useless for me then.

Brett says:

Sting7k, Check out the Zumocast application. You have to install the service on your PC and the app on your iPad/iPhone but it will allow you connect to your music and videos on your PC remotely (away from your WLAN)

andsoitgoes says:

No, stick with Streamtome if you want to use a piece of software that has continually been supported.
If you just need video, and top quality video, go with AirVideo.
Zumocast isn't consistent enough for me, it went "down" and the software went MIA for a while.
It's worth paying a bit of money to get software that's a lot more stable, IMO.

FLskydiver says:

Can someone PLEASE explain to me how this is different from using Apple's REMOTE App? Except for apparently making it harder to access the stuff already on the phone via the iPod App?

Rene Ritchie says:

Remote app lets you control your Apple TV or iTunes on PC. This lets you stream content from your iTunes on PC to your iPhone or iPad -- it turns them into Apple TVs.
Totally different.

FLskydiver says:

Thanks, Rene. It all seems so simple now, not sure why I wasn't getting it. Best regards...

sting7k says:

With the remote app you are controlling iTunes and the music is playing on your computer/iTunes. With this you...now that I see you must be on the same WLAN this feature makes no sense to me...you can do basically the same thing but it will play through the iPhone itself. Which I don't see why I would do in my house where I already have a setup installed.

nickpthemft says:

Anyone care to venture a guess as to when this will be hacked via a jailbreak tweak? Can't wait to be able to stream my entire library over 3G in the native iPod app and dedicate my entire 32GB to apps/photos/docs/videos instead of reserving a good 8GB or so for music.

Banndit says:

Sorry Nick, but that wont happen. A 3G connection does not connect you to your wireless local area network that your PC is connected to.

nickpthemft says:

Correct. Hence where the "hack" comes in. I've had my current broadband connection for over 2 years, and not once has my IP changed. I'm waiting for a simple hack that overrides the WLAN requirement and allows the input of an IP to use for Home Sharing instead, similar to a FakeLocation tweak.

ram says:

Try Orb Live. Freaking awesome! Lets you connect to your library via 3G or wifi. It's in the app store, download app and then download software from the website. You'll be streaming your entire library in no time, also works for XBOX.

Dan says:

I noticed when I log out of itunes on my mac, home sharing is disabled....any way to keep it open all the time, even when itunes is closed?

James says:

Thanks for the article. Great work, I was wondering where it was hiding. Great addition in my opinion. Dont mind the trolls of the internet :)

Tytanious says:

How does this work with the iPad? There is no More button.

LozBlanko says:

Agreed. I can't see any obvious way of doing this on the iPad. Are we missing something?!

LozBlanko says:

Right, worked it out. For those that already had sharing enabled previously, Just switch off sharing in iTunes temporarily and turn it back on again. You suddenly get a 'Library' button that wasn't there before.

Jon says:

I've gotten this to work, BUT...
I can't see anyway to access my Movies and TV Shows content from the list of sources on the iPad's iPod app.
On the iPhone's iPod app, once I've switched to my remote iTunes collection (hosted on my iMac) via "Shared", I then just have to select "Videos" from the "More" tab of the iPod app and I see a listing of everything from my iMac, starting w/ Movies.
But the iPod app on my iPad only shows songs/etc. No Movies. No TV Shows.

Jon says:

OK - just figured it out. All of a sudden the Videos app on the iPad has a "Shared" tab at the top, click that and BOOM - opens a new screen w/ tabs across the top for all Video content types from my full iTunes library on my iMac: Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Music Videos and iTunes U.
I think the "all of a sudden" was the above-mentioned trick of switching off Home Sharing (from the Advanced menu of iTunes) on my iMac, then turning it back on again.
It may have also involved some combination of completely quitting and restarting the iPod and/or Videos apps on the iPad.
My play-it-safe recommendation, go full nuclear:
* install 4.3 on your iPad
* on the iPad, go to Settings->iPod->Home Sharing and enter your Home Sharing credentials (in my case, my iTunes Store account credentials)
* shut down your iPad completely (IMPORTANT!)
* turn off Home Sharing on iTunes on your main computer hosting the big-ass media library
* turn Home Sharing back on again
* power your iPad back up again
* fire up the iPod app and click the (now slightly taller) Library button in the left rail to switch the current library from your local iPad content to your iMac/etc-hosted iTunes Library
* the iPod app will only provide convenient access to music-oriented content...
* BUT, any playlists containing videos will play
* e.g. you could create a Smart Playlist where "Media Kind is Movies" OR "Media Kind is TV Shows"
* fire up the Videos app, you should see a "Shared" tab now at the top, click that, then click on your iMac/etc library (only one to select in my case), then you'll see your iMac/etc's full library of video content, split out into tabs by Media Kind
Cool beans!

Anthony D. Hervey says:

Thanks, I was looking for that!

Dan says:

Does anybody know why, as soon as I click "Done" on iTunes after turning on Home Sharing, The Home Sharing icon dissapears from my sidebar? It's nowhere to be found.
I'm in a windows 7 machine.

MacFabulous says:

I have the exact same problem? I'm using a MacBook Pro. I'm on the same Wi-Fi network and have followed the instructions above... And stil nothing. No shared icon on my iPhone?
Why is this? A bug?

Ken says:

Don't click on the done button. Worked for me on that part.

Tristan says:

Hi Dan,
The icon is only there to allow you to enter you iTunes / Home Sharing info, once you have authenticated, you no longer need the icon there!
Once you have authenticated, your machine begins advertising itself to the rest of your home network with those Home Share credentials - make sure you use the same account on you iPhone / iPod / iPad.
If you NEED to get it back (to change HomeShare accounts for example) then just go to the Advanced menu in iTunes and turn Home Sharing OFF then back on again.
Hope this makes sense!

lawls says:

Mine isn't working at all, it just says can't connect after I go through all the above steps
(and yes i'm connected to the same network)

terpdog says:

Well music seems to work but the videos only work on my iTouch and not my iPad. Any thoughts? I get the video screen that it's looking on my home share but I don't see anything.
Also does this support Divx files now?

arin.failing says:

my tv shows aren't showing up! why? my movies and music videos do though

Timm says:

I followed all these instructions (I even went through them over-and-over again) and the "Shared" in the 'More' section of the iPod app never appears. Am I forgetting something obvious or ?

Garret says:

I'm on a Windows 7 laptop, and a iPod Touch 4th gen. I followed the steps (exchanging the iPod app for Music in settings) and I don't have the shared button show up on my iPod. Everything should be working.

mrsFAB says:

Help me. Why do I want to homeshare my iTunes library when its already synced to my phone anyway? It's the same stuff... I am missing the point.

andsoitgoes says:

am I the only one who was more than ecstatic that Castle/Nathan Fillion is the example?
Only better option would be to have Firefly shown ;)

Aaron says:

And they aslo have Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, which Nathan Fillion is in as well.

AaronCW says:

How does this affect the 5 shared device limit? In some circumstances you are required to validate a device, but it didnt ask me that when I set up home sharing on my iphone 3gs.

Ken says:

Was going to buy an Ipad 2 today but so frustrated with this home sharing for the last two days, I think I will pass. Trouble with both home sharing and remote. Tried all above several times, no luck. Some seem to be working and others are still having the problem. I wonder if it has something to do with the different wifi units. Wish everyone the best with the Ipad 2.

Scott says:

When I use home sharing, about half my library shows up with the vast majority of tv shows missing.

Chris says:

My iPod app on iPhone 4 only shows movies no tv shows while using AirPlay. Any idea how to see my tv shows?

aaronk says:

it seems looks like it ONLY works if your computer is on wifi, not wired on the same network.
anyone else experiencing this or am i missing something?

aaronk says:

"seems looks like..."
-nice one aaron. you get the point

richard says:

All the guides seem to be specific about WLAN - if that is the case then how pathetic a design is that. I'm going to enable the wi-fi on my wired PC as well and see if that kicks it in to life.

richard says:

After a reboot of my router this is now working ok WITHOUT my pc being wireless so will work with a wired PC.

ejf says:

Rene - every time I try to follow your steps, I get a warning "Cannot Connect to Media Library" when I try to select my iTunes library. Any thoughts?

FatDemon says:

i dont get shared in music/ipod app

ejf says:

even worse now, not only can i not use airplay in any direction, my appleTV says my itunes library is empty. any suggestions anyone?

Peter Johnson says:

It is a little confusing with AirPlay and Home Sharing offering different competing services. Apple normally hides the back end to this stuff and should have produced a system that integrates both and looks the same however you are controlling it (select music, select where you want to hear it, boom!)
I love playing music in different rooms using AirPlay, but I don't see why I can't play music TO my iDevices using AirPlay, so that I can put an iPod touch in a dock to cover a particular room.
Careful using AirPlay if you have multiple routers in your house (I have, err, 4, 2 of them wireless) it only works if I wirelessly connect to the router the PC is on. When it DOES work it's brilliant.

Aobrien says:

Hi when I go to my iPod tab in my settings the home sharing sub setting isn't there? How do I fix that?

Jay says:

I've tried this again and again, the shared icon never shows up on iphone or ipad. Very discouraging and a waste of time as well. Open to any ideas on how to make it work.

Meggy says:

Really helpful article. Thanks.
Is that Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog I spy in that example pic? I love you guys

Grisham312 says:

Is there a way to import music like you can with computer with other computers? Instead of just listening to it? Just curious

Delicia Scheno says:

Shameless plug for us! We'll be up and running soon, working out the kinks. Can't front, we're another digg clone, but strictly for music and music news. The Bloco.

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