How to use iTunes in the Cloud: The ultimate guide

iTunes in the Cloud lets you access content you've bought from iTunes Store, the App Store, and iBooks Store from any device you have linked to your iTunes account. That means you can re-download previous purchases to your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, or to your Windows or Mac PC running iTunes. You can even stream music, movies, and TV shows to your Apple TV anytime you'd like. It's all built right in!

How to enable or disable automatic downloads for apps, books, and games with iTunes in the Cloud

How to enable or disable automatic downloads for apps, books, and games with iTunes in the Cloud

iTunes in the Cloud makes downloading apps, books, and games across all your devices super simple. Once you've enabled automatic downloads on all your devices, anything you download on one devices will automatically be available on the other. For example, if you download a book or game on your iPhone, it'll also be ready for you to pick up on your iPad next time you use it. You can of course pick and choose what devices and types of content you want to be available for automatic downloads, as well as whether or not you want them to download over cellular connections.

How to enable or disable automatic downloads for Newsstand on iPhone and iPad with iTunes in the Cloud

How to enable or disable automatic downloads for Newsstand on iPhone and iPad with iTunes in the Cloud

Newsstand lets you easily subscribe to your favorite publications, be that a magazine or newspaper, right on your iPhone or iPad. You can then read them at your leisure right inside Newsstand. If you don't want to download issues of your subscriptions manually, you can always enable automatic downloads. This also ensures that any new subscription you may pick up stays in sync across all your devices. And the best part is as long as you're running iOS 7 or newer, Newsstand takes advantage of background app refresh which means you can pick and choose what subscriptions you'd like to automatically download and which ones you'd rather trigger manually.

How to re-download apps, games, and books on iPhone and iPad with iTunes in the Cloud

How to re-download purchased apps and games on iPhone and iPad

Over time we can all accumulate a lot of apps, books, and games on our iPhones and iPads. If you ever need to free up space on your device, or just don't want your Home screens to feel so cluttered, you can delete apps, games, and books any time you'd like. Thanks to iTunes in the Cloud, the App Store remembers your previous purchases and lets you download them on demand whenever you'd like at no additional charge to you.

How to re-download music, movies, and TV shows on iPhone and iPad with iTunes in the Cloud

How to re-download music, movies, and TV shows on iPhone and iPad with iTunes in the Cloud

Just like the App Store remembers all your purchases so you can delete and re-download content as you'd like, so does the iTunes app. That means any music, movies, or TV shows you may purchase on any of your devices, or from your computer, can easily be downloaded again whenever you'd like right through the iTunes app. As long as your iPhone or iPad is linked to your iTunes account, you're good to go.

How to re-download iBooks on iPhone and iPad with iTunes in the Cloud

How to re-download purchased books on iPhone and iPad with iBooks and iTunes in the Cloud

If you have purchased books with iBooks on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, you can easily delete and re-download them on demand whenever you'd like with iTunes in the Cloud. Just like App Store and iTunes content, all you've got to do is launch iBooks and within a few taps, you've got all your books back. Just keep in mind that if you delete books on all your devices, you may lose saved bookmarks and notes. Something to keep in mind when trying to save space.

How to re-download music, movies, and TV shows to your Mac or PC with iTunes in the Cloud

How to re-download music, movies, and TV shows to your Mac or PC with iTunes in the Cloud

Just like you can re-download content with iTunes in the Cloud to your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, you can do the same just as easily on any Mac or PC that is signed into your iTunes account and authorized. All you've got to do is navigate to the respective section of iTunes after you've selected to have iTunes in the Cloud purchases show up in your library.

How to stream music, movies, and TV shows to your Apple TV with iTunes in the Cloud

How to stream music, movies, and TV shows to your Apple TV with iTunes in the Cloud

The Apple TV is a wonderful little device that not only lets you access services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and many other on-demand channels, but also lets you access all your iTunes in the Cloud content for streaming. That means the movie you bought on your iPad is instantly available to stream on any Apple TV linked to your iTunes account.

How to use iTunes in the Cloud to save storage space on your iPhone or iPad

How to use iTunes in the Cloud to save storage space on your iPhone or iPad

iTunes in the Cloud is not only incredibly convenient, it can also help you free up massive amounts of storage space on your iPhone or iPad. For example, if you have movies downloaded, you can delete them in order to free up space. You'll still be able to stream them on-demand and re-download them whenever you'd like. Likewise, music can be deleted to free up space. Here are some of our favorite tips for using iTunes in the Cloud to your advantage in order to free up some precious storage space:

How to switch iTunes accounts on your iPhone or iPad

How to switch iTunes accounts on your iPhone or iPad

For most of us, we have one Apple ID to rule them all. However, that isn't always the case for everyone. Perhaps you have purchases between two accounts or you've decided to merge accounts. Regardless of the reason, you can quickly sign out of one iTunes account and into another one through the Settings app on any iPhone and iPad. Just remember that due to licensing and regulatory restrictions, Apple only lets you switch between Apple IDs every 90 days in most countries.

How to de-authorize devices linked to your iTunes account

How to de-authorize devices linked to your iTunes account

A lot of us decide to sell or hand down old devices once we get new ones. When you do this, it's a good idea to make sure you de-authorize that particular device from being able to access your iTunes account. This is an especially good idea if you've had a device lost or stolen. If you ever get it back or decide to use it again, you can just as easily re-authorize the device simply by signing into iTunes again. In the mean time, protect yourself by removing it within iTunes.

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Note: Originally published, April 2012. Updated, December 2014.

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Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to use iTunes in the Cloud: The ultimate guide

4 Comments

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?!)

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!