iCloud features: Manage associated devices in iTunes

iCloud features: Manage associated devices in iTunes

While Apple boldly cut the cord with iOS 5, moving from iTunes to iCloud, it looks like they're wisely leaving some account management power in the veteran desktop app -- namely the ability to manage iCloud associated devices.

With iOS 5 on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, you can choose to enable automatic downloads -- so any app or iBook (or music in the US) bought on iTunes on Mac or Windows PC, or on any iOS device on your account, is pushed out to every other client on that account. Buy Pages on iPhone, it automatically installs on your iPad as well. With iOS 4.3 and iOS 5, you can also call up a list of previous app (and music in the US) purchases and re-download them.

So seeing exactly which devices are on your account, and being able to remove them if you have to (buh-bye, ex!) is a great feature for iCloud to have, and it makes sense for it to live in iCloud.

Moreover, since you can only change the account any device is registered to once every 90 days (to prevent everyone from logging in to every friends' account and downloading everyone else's content without paying for it), iTunes will also show you how many days you have left until you can switch accounts again.

If you only have one device, it may not be a big deal. If you're managing a family, or your account status is as complicated as your relationships, it may matter to you more.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iCloud features: Manage associated devices in iTunes


So...what does this means for devices authorized to view the iTunes library on another account? Say, for example:
1) One account purchases music.
2) Other devices in the family have their separate own accounts, but are authorized to access the libraries from account #1.
What, if any, content from iCloud will sync to those other family devices?

Excellent question, still unanswered. I think that is what matters for most of us, who live in a household with two or three different people sharing the same music collection.

II’ve forgotten why, but I’ve had two accounts for years. Most of my music was purchased with the account I don’t use any longer and my apps, books and movies are from the account I do use. Not a problem when connected to the computer, but with iCloud I have to wait 90 to change between them. Apple will not consolidate accounts – I’ve asked, they won’t – so I guess iCloud is not going to do much for me.

Say i have 6 devices on an apple id, will i be able to tell icloud to let these 3 to work together and not let the rest interact with those 3?

As I understand it.....
You will only be able to link a single iTunes account to your iOS device, and only be signed into iTunes with a single iTunes account. Any icloud purchases will sync between these devices.
To use multiple accounts it will work as it does now, using authorised accounts and home sharing. When your phone syncs (overnight? Wirelessly?) and authorised apps stored in iTunes will be synchronised with your device.
It means you can still share apps and other iTunes data with other users, but not any easier than it is now.
Hope that makes sense - I think I'm right!