How to re-download movies, music, and tv shows on your iPhone iPad or iPod touch

How to set up and use iTunes in the Cloud

Everything you need to know about re-downloading apps, games, iBooks, music, TV shows, and movies from the iTunes Store and iCloud

iTunes in the Cloud lets you access content you've bought from Apple's iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore, re-download it to your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, and to iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC, and stream your music, movies, and TV shows to your Apple TV.

How to set up iTunes in the Cloud automatic downloads

iTunes in the Cloud let's you automatically download any App Store apps, iBookstore iBooks, and iTunes music you buy. For example, if you buy a game on your iPhone, it can automatically download onto your iPad. If you buy a song on iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC, it can automatically download onto your iPod touch.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap Store near the bottom.
  3. Toggle Music, Apps, and Books to On
  4. Enter your iTunes password to authorize.

An iTunes account can only have 10 devices enabled for iTunes in the Cloud at the same time. Devices include iPhones, iPod touches, iPads, as well as Mac and Windows PCs, and Apple TVs. If you reach 10, you can't add an additional devices until you remove one first. (See below.)

How to enable automatic iTunes in the Cloud downloads over 3G/4G on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad

If you're not concerned about your cellular data cap or any potential overage charges, you can choose to have iTunes in the Cloud automatic downloads happen even when you're off Wi-Fi and on 3G or 4G.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap Store near the bottom.
  3. Toggle Use Cellular Data to On.

If you do choose to allow 3G/4G downloads, there's still a maximum file size limit of 50MB. Any content bigger than that can only be downloaded over Wi-Fi.

How to enable automatic Newsstand issue downloads on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad

If you subscribe to any magazines or newspapers in Newsstand, you can choose to have new issues download automatically to your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad when they become available.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap Store near the bottom.
  3. Toggle any magazine or newspaper apps listed at the bottom to On.

Newsstand content downloads will only happen while on Wi-Fi.

How to change the iTunes account associated with your iTunes in the Cloud device

If you have multiple iTunes accounts, for example a personal and a family account, or a family and a business account, or accounts in more than one regional iTunes store, you can change which account is associated with your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap Store near the bottom.
  3. Tap the email address of the Apple ID currently logged into the App Store (at the bottom of the screen).
  4. Tap Sign Out.
  5. Tap Sign In.
  6. Tap Use Existing Apple ID.
  7. Enter the email address and password for the iTunes account you want to switch to.

To guard against unfair use or illegal distribution (for example, to stop friends from swapping accounts to get free access to each other's content), you can only change iTunes in the Cloud accounts once every 90 days.

How to de-authorize an iTunes in the Cloud device

If you reach your 10 device limit for iTunes in the Cloud and need to remove a device, or if you simply lose, sell, or upgrade a device and want it off you account, you can remove it via the iTunes desktop on Mac or Windows.

  1. Launch iTunes on Mac or Windows.
  2. Click your iTunes email address at the top right. (If you're not already logged in, click Log In.)
  3. Enter your iTunes email address and/or iTunes password.
  4. Click on Manage Devices, middle right.
  5. Click on Remove for any iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad you no longer wish associated with iTunes on the Cloud on your account.

How to re-download apps and games with iCloud

For a long time now, The App Store has let you re-download paid apps and games without having to pay for them again. Now, however, this functionality is officially part of iCloud and iTunes in the Cloud. It means if you downloaded an app or game a long time ago, on a different device, or simply deleted it because you stopped using it for a while, you can go back and download it again, free of additional charge.

If you know the name of the app you want to re-download:

  1. Launch the App Store app.
  2. Tap the Search tab (iPhone and iPod touch only) or into the Search box (iPad).
  3. Enter the name of the app you want to re-download.
  4. Tap the Search button on the keyboard.
  5. When the search results show up, find the app and tap the Install button.

Note: If you see a price button (e.g. $0.99) instead of an Install button, it means you'll be charged for the download. Make sure you're on the proper iTunes account, and that you've really bought the app previously before re-downloading.

If you don't know the name of the app and need to find it:

  1. Launch the App Store app.
  2. Tap on the Purchased tab tab (iPad), or Updates tab and then tap Purchased (iPhone and iPod touch).Redownload apps in the app store via the purchased tab on your iPhone ipad ipod touch
  3. Tap Not on the iPad/iPhone to see a list of apps not currently on your device.
  4. Scroll through the list to find the app you're looking for.
  5. Tap the iCloud download button to re-download the app to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  6. Enter your iTunes password, if requested, to confirm.

Your app will now download to the Home screen of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

How to re-download iBooks with iCloud

Just like App Store apps, you can easily re-download iBookstore iBooks to your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

  1. Launch the iBooks app.
  2. Tap on the Store button in the top left corner.How to access purchased iBooks on your iPhone iPad iPod touch for re-download
  3. Tap on the Purchased tab along the bottom navigation menu. Re-download books to iBooks via the iBooks bookstore purchased tab
  4. Scroll through the list to find the book you're looking for.
  5. Tap on the iCloud download button to re-download the book to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.
  6. Enter your iTunes password, if requested, to confirm.

Your book will download to your iBooks bookshelf.

How to re-download iTunes music, movies, & TV shows with iCloud

Re-downloading music, movies, and TV shows is a little more complicated than re-downloading apps simply because licensing restrictions don't allow it in all areas (yet). Music is currently available in many regions. TV shows and movies are only available in a few countries.

Here's a current listing of which types of content are available for re-downloading and in which area.

If iTunes re-downloads are available in you region, you can safely restore your content to your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC without being charged again.

How to re-download purchased TV shows to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Once you've purchased music, movies, or TV shows from iTunes, you can re-download it at any time, from any iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad you own that's authorized on your iTunes account.

  1. Launch the iTunes app from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  2. Tap on the Purchased tab along the bottom of the navigation menu. (If you don't see it on your iPhone or iPad touch, tap More first, then tap Purchased.)
  3. Tap on the View button.
  4. Select Music, Movies, or TV Shows view.How to redownload purchased tv shows from iCloud on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  5. Click the individual movie, or the album or series you want to choose from, and then the individual song or episode you want to to download.

You can view "Not on this iPhone/iPad" to help more easily find the exact content you're looking for.

Once your content has downloaded, you'll be able to find it in the Music or Videos app.

How to stream music, movies, and TV shows to your Apple TV

How to access tv shows in the cloud from your Apple TV

If you're not away from home, and if your HDTV isn't otherwise occupied, there's no better way to enjoy your TV shows and movies them than on the big screen courtesy of your Apple TV. If you have a great sound system as well, even your music will sound fantastic. Because the Apple TV only has 8GB of on board storage, rather than downloading content, it simply streams them directly from iCloud.

  1. Using the Apple TV Remote, navigate to the Music, Movies or TV Shows section.
  2. Go to the Purchased section along the top.
  3. Navigate to and click on any of the music, movies, or TV shows you see listed.
  4. Navigate to and click on Play.

How to re-download music, movies,and TV shows to iTunes on Mac or Windows PC

If you've switched computers, added an additional computer, or simply lost a hard drive or corrupted an iTunes Library, there's no more need to panic about your music, movies, or TV shows. You can re-download them again and again.

  1. Launch iTunes
  2. Click on iTunes Store in the side bar on the left.
  3. Choose between Music, Movies, or TV Shows in the content bar at the top
  4. Click on Purchased in the Quick Links column on the right.
  5. Click the individual movie, or the album or series you want to choose from, and then the individual song or episode you want to to download.

You view "Not on this computer" to help more easily find the exact content you're looking for.

Once your episode has downloaded, you'll be able to find it under Music, Movies, or TV Shows in the sidebar to the left.

How to get more help with iCloud

If you still need help with re-downloading apps, games, iBooks, music, TV shows, or music to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, or any other iCloud feature, head on over to our iCloud Forum and ask away!

Ally Kazmucha, Chris Oldroyd, and Gary Mazo contributed major sections of this guide.

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 3 comments. Add yours.

omron 780 blood pressure monitor says:

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getdamned says:

The way I (and a lot of others users) feel is that one of Apple's greatest weaknesses or failures regarding iCloud and the App Store is the inability to consolidate or transfer accounts. For instance, under my main iTunes store account, I have thousands of dollars of purchases in that account's history, and thankfully I can re-download those purchases in the case of other devices or if I were to somehow lose the data/apps from my local sources... I can still rely on my Apple account to have my purchase history and allow me to re-download things I've already paid for (which is only right; no one should have to pay multiple times for an app or song or movie just because of some misfortune, etc).

But the issue here is that I can never transfer the history attached to that account to another. Or, even more simply, not to transfer the history, but to simply change the username/login to something else, keeping the account itself intact and untouched.

As a result, so many users have multiple accounts doing different things, because they're locked into the email used to purchase items. iCloud backups/syncs are not really an issue, thankfully... but I would like to take my Apple ID with those thousands of purchases on it, and simply use or change it to my @icloud.com account, so I could use 1 single account for managing both my iTunes purchases and my iCloud sync/backup/email. The email holding the purchases is one I don't even use anymore; I created and started using that years and years ago, and I'm locked to it forever. It feels like my conjoined twin that I want to be rid of, but don't have the choice, haha...

The only workaround I could think of is to stop using my @icloud.com (or any other account) for iCloud itself, and use the same old email that I use on the appstore to be my "iCloud" account as well.

But that doesn't circumvent the problem that the email is so old and I don't use it or want to use it. Ideally, I could simply merge/consolidate the account data (app store data) from the old one into the iCloud.com one, and that would be beautiful and simple. It's been years since the inception of iCloud, though.. and as much as people have begged for this ability, it was seemingly considered, then denied and Apple just said it's not gonna happen. Gah.. :(

Other than that, iCloud is a great thing. It's a shame some little semantic tarnishes it. Apple's constant changing of things (Apple ID's used to be able to be "usernames" and not email addresses-- they should have never changed this.. I don't want my USERNAME tied to a specific EMAIL account which can and does change over time for a lot of people... especially when Apple alone can't make up their mind on domain names! @mac, @me, @icloud... what will the domain be a year or two from now?!)

robby2 says:

As usual, a thoughtful, informative, thorough column.

One thing I didn't see, though-- how to *authorize* or *include* a Mac in iTunes in the Cloud.

I just authorized as a computer (and it shows up in the account pane), but not under iTunes in the Cloud. There's no way there of adding the computer, either!

H'm… a mystery… for which I'm sure there's a solution, though it's not obvious to this experienced computer user!

I looked at each menu--nothing there. The authorize/deauthorize from iTunes is, but not the cloud feature.

Finally, I remembered to try "help". It gave me this:

"Turn on automatic downloads on an authorized computer
In iTunes, choose iTunes > Preferences, and click Store.

Below Automatic Downloads, select the types of content (Music, Apps, and Books) you want to download automatically."

Hope that helps someone. Now, I just have to figure out whether this is something I want to do!