iTunes Home Sharing
With five computers in the house with two distinct music libraries among them, and with two AppleTVs on the network connected to sound systems, and with the new Apple Remote app for your iPhone or iPad (way cool app!), iTunes Home Sharing is really convenient and easy to setup. With home sharing turned on, you can play music from any computer on any computer or AppleTV on your local network. Even more: It’s a great way to have an additional backup of all of your iTunes media.
This post will overview how to get started with home sharing. It looks like it has a lot of steps, but each step is really easy.
1. Click on the [iTunes] menu and select [Preferences]. (Windows users, I assume your preferences are in the same place as they are on a Mac.)
2. In the Preferences window that comes up, under the [General] tab, make sure your iTunes [Library Name] on this machine has a name that will make sense to you when you see it on another computer. If all of your iTune‘s Libraries have the same name, you will have no idea which one belongs to what computer.
3. Under the [Sharing] tab, make sure sharing is turned on by checking [Look for shared libraries] and [Share my library on my local network]. Click OK.
4. Click on the [Advanced] menu and select [Turn On Home Sharing]. (Once iTunes Home Sharing is turned on, this menu item toggles to [Turn Off Home Sharing].
5. You will be prompted for your iTunes account information. [Yes, you must have an iTunes Account to do this. You can click on “Need an iTunes Account?” to learn more about setting up an iTunes Account.] After entering your account information, Click on [Create Home Share]. Adding your account information does not make it possible for someone on another computer to use your account to purchase media from iTunes. It just sets up the sharing feature. I assume that you could have multiple home sharing networks if you used different iTunes accounts for each. But a single computer could only be a part of a one network at a time.
6. The screen then shows you some important information. You must use the exact same iTunes account information when turning on iTunes Home Sharing on each of the other computers in your house. And, notice that Home Sharing is only for personal use. Now click on [Done].
7. Now the computer you just shared appears in a Shared list on the left column in iTunes along with all of the other computers as you turn on iTunes Home Sharing on each computer you wish to share.
8. The name of your computer’s shared iTunes music library will not appear on that same computer, only the other computer’s music libraries you are sharing on the home network. Click on the name of one of the libraries under [Shared] in the left column to see some other really convenient options. These options will then appear at the bottom of the iTunes window as shown below. If you leave the [Show] drop down on [All items] you will see all of the items in the selected, shared iTunes Library. If you select [Items not in my library] only the items that are not included in the music library on the computer you’re sitting at will appear in the iTunes window.
9. If you click on the [Settings…] button, the window below appears. By selecting any or all of these media types, any of those items not found in that computer’s iTunes library will be automatically transferred to the computer you’re sitting at. If your hard drive is large enough, this is a huge convenience for making certain you have an additional backup of your iTunes media files.
10. Maybe you don’t wish to automatically transfer all of a particular media type onto your computer, just a selected group of songs or movies or TV shows, etc. By selecting [Items not in my library] and then [Command] clicking or [Shift] clicking on the items you wish to import to highlight them, the [Import] button grayed out in the screenshot in step 5 becomes active. After selecting the items you wish to import, click on the [Import] button to add them to the library of the computer at which you are sitting.