Can't authorize your computer in iTunes? Here's a fix

iTunes on the Mac
iTunes on the Mac (Image credit: iMore)

We've all been there. Get a new device and can't authorize it with iTunes, so you can't enjoy any of your previously purchased content. The most common problem with not being able to authorize a computer is that you have too many of them already authorized. Due to licensing agreements, you can only have a maximum of five computers authorized under your iTunes account at the same time. You may have old computers that you never deauthorized, or a work computer that you previously used to listen to your finely crafted playlists.

If you know you have five computers, and want to add a sixth, well - you're out of luck. But, if you are currently only using two or three computers to play your iTunes music, you can remove old ones to make room for the new.

Before making any changes to your computer or the iTunes app, be sure to back up your iTunes music library (we can't stress this enough - seriously, back it up).

How to check to see how many computers you have authorized

If you have no idea how many computers you have authorized to access your iTunes account, you can find out in your account settings.

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Click Sign in in the upper right corner of the iTunes window.If you are already signed in, your name will be where the sign-in icon is.
  3. Enter the email and password associated with your Apple ID.
  4. Select your name.
  5. Click Account info.
  6. Enter your password again.

  1. Check Computer Authorizations to see how many computers you have authorized to access your iTunes account.

How to deauthorize one computer

If you still own a computer that you don't want connected to your iTunes account, you can remove it individually.

  1. Open iTunes on the computer you wish to deauthorize.
  2. Select Store from the menu bar in the upper left corner of you computer screen.
  3. Click Deauthorize this Computer.

  1. Enter your Apple ID and Password.
  2. Click Deauthorize.

How to deauthorize all computers

If the computer or computers you wish to disconnect from your iTunes account are no longer in your possession, you'll have to reauthorize all of them (even the ones you currently use) and then reauthorize them one-by-one.

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Click Sign in in the upper right corner of the iTunes window.If you are already signed in, your name will be where the sign-in icon is.
  3. Enter the email and password associated with your Apple ID.
  4. Select your name.
  5. Click Account info.
  6. Enter your password again.

  1. Select Deauthorize All under the Apple ID Summary section.

  1. Click Deauthorize all computers when prompted.
  2. After a few seconds, you'll see a prompt that all computers have been deauthorized. Click on OK to continue.

How to authorize a computer

If you had to deauthorize all computers and are now looking to add the ones you currently use back to your iTunes account, you'll have to authorize them individually.

  1. Open iTunes on the computer you wish to authorize.
  2. Select Store from the menu bar in the upper left corner of you computer screen.
  3. Click Authorize this Computer.

  1. Enter your Apple ID and Password.
  2. Click Authorize.
  3. After a few seconds, you will get a prompt that the authorization was successful. Click OK to continue.

Anything else?

Do you have any questions about deauthorizing and authorizing your computers? Post them in the comments section and we'll try to help.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

4 Comments
  • My question is why does iTunes make me re-authorize my computer every week or so? When I enter my password it then gives me a pop-up telling me that "this computer is already authorized." Well of course it is...but you just told me to enter my password to re-authorize it! Sent from the iMore App
  • What a pain! I'll see what I can find out. Stay tune.
  • And it's not just my iMac, because I just upgraded to a new iMac and it still does that. Does it on all 4 Apple accounts. It doesn't seem to affect anything, more that it's just a PITA. Sent from the iMore App
  • Each Apple account is on a different iMac user account, so there shouldn't be any conflict there. Sent from the iMore App