Using multiple Apple ID’s with one copy of iTunes

Good tip if you ever wondered how to do this. It’s not elegant to setup, but it works.



  • itsgene

    Unfortunately, this is really no different than using multiple copies of iTunes – you’re just choosing a different library every time you start the app. What some couples really need is the ability to have multiple IDs in a single iTunes instance – at the same time. This is a real need when you have one machine hosting content such as movies or TV shows and want to sync multiple iOS devices. I guess the only solution is to use one Apple ID for the both of us… except then the purchased content from at least one user is useless. Ah, DRM.

  • Mikel

    Seems to me it would be easier to just have multiple user accounts on the computer. iTunes will keep a separate library for each log-in/user.

    It also keeps one family member from killing another over adding yet another search bar widget to the browser.

    • Trippie

      Exactly. I can see either this option or what Jeff describes above, but I can’t understand why you’d go through the trouble to have completely separate iTunes libraries within the same user account. Why not just use the built-in functionality of separate user accounts on the computer? There’s no jumping through hoops required and everyone has their own desktop and files with shared folders if required.

      One thing that none of these solutions will solve (and is stated incorrectly in the linked article) is that you can only auto download or access the purchased list in the store of one Apple ID each 90 days. No matter how you do it, it’s tied to the computer and not individual libraries or separate user accounts. It must use the MAC address or some other unique identifier, but there is apparently no way around it.

      • thud71

        You just hit on the biggest pain point for me with iTunes in the Cloud. My wife and I share a Mac – she has her own login, her own iTunes account, etc. I subscribe to Match, she doesn’t. The last time she purchased and downloaded something from iTunes, it locked me out of downloading any Cloud content or streaming from Match to that Mac for 90 days. This is nuts. Apple support will supposedly fix it if you contact them, but I don’t want to have to do that every time one of us purchases a song or a movie.

        • Trippie

          This has happened to me and Apple can reset it for you to fix the problem, but they say it’s a one time thing. I’m sure this has to do with DRM on movies, apps, and books, and unfortunately, they treat the entire computer as a single device, instead of each user account as separate, individual devices. I don’t think Apple was being very forward-thinking when they did their media contracts, but it’s probably not their fault in the end.

          • thud71

            I agree it’s not ultimately their fault, but iTunes is the consumer-facing point of failure for this so some way to address it would be most welcome. There was a story today about Apple patenting a method for the customer to transfer their ownership rights of iTunes content to another iTunes customer, so maybe that’s their long-term answer.

            For now though, it makes me more likely to buy from Amazon …

  • Jeff

    Can’t say as I find this useful. I agree with the first commenter w/re to user accounts. WHAT I DO FIND USEFUL, and is what I do, is to have one user account & one iTunes for the whole family. Each family member purchases with their own account, but everything ends up in the same iTunes (later in life, they will have their own purchase, & won’t have to rely on Dad’s account). Yes, you see everybody’s stuff, but that is what playlists are for. And with one iTunes matched to ONE of the user accounts (mine) through iTunes Match, all music and all apps are accessible on all phones and iPads under our one roof. My iPhone has access to my daughter’s kPop, my sons game purchases, & my music. My son’s iPad has access to the same. Ditto for my wife’s & daughter’s iPhone’s. You just have to log out & into individual accounts for purchase. You also have to be logged into the master iTunes Match acc to move content purchased under another account, into a playlist. If iTunes Match hasn’t been relogged into and updated, iTunes won’t allow you to move something from another account into it (it also has to know those purchase were authorized to that same computer)

  • lucascott

    There is a recently discovered patent for a system to move content rights from one iTunes Id to another which will hopefully bear fruit soon and help with the whole ‘accidentally have two IDs’ and similar situations.

    As for those that simply want to have multiple accounts, two whole users is probably the easiest way to deal with that