You have one iTunes library at home but you want to share it among different devices. Here’s how.
Your iTunes library may be stored on a PC or Mac at home, or it may be housed on a network drive. Either way, you want to be able to access it from other devices, like an iPhone or iPad.
Up to five of your devices can tap into your iTunes library either directly on a network drive, through a special app, or via a feature called Home Sharing. Through Home Sharing, you can share your iTunes music library from one machine and make it accessible to other devices as long as they’re all on the same network.
One important point: Directly retrieving your library on a network drive through an app gives you access to music, videos, files, and other content. Home Sharing only offers access to your iTunes music. Let’s look at several ways you can share your iTunes library.
Network Attached Storage (NAS)
First, if you’ve set up your own home network, one option is to store your iTunes library on your network drive. When you set up iTunes from a computer, you create your library file on the network drive, aka network-attached storage (NAS), rather than on your local hard drive. Setting it up this way automatically makes your library available to any computer that can directly access the network. The one drawback here is that you need special apps on your iPhone or iPad to tap into your NAS, but that’s pretty simple with the right software.
Through such apps as FileBrowser from Stratospherix Ltd and Remote File Manager from Jane Zhang, you can set up a connection to your NAS and then browse and play the content in your iTunes library. You simply choose the option to connect to a NAS, enter the IP address, username, and password for the NAS, and the app should automatically connect to it. From there, click on the setting for your NAS and then navigate to the content in your iTunes library.
Click on a song, video, or other file, then open it within the app.
To enable Home Sharing, open iTunes on your computer. Click on the File menu and scroll to Home Sharing. Then click on the option to “Turn On Home Sharing.”
Now Click on the Edit menu and then select Preferences.
At the Preferences window, click on the Sharing tab. Click on the checkbox to “Share my library on my local network.” Choose whether you want to share your entire network or just selected playlists. Then select whether you want to enable a password. The last option for “Home Sharing computers and devices update play counts” keeps tabs on how many times you play a particular song, which can be useful if you wish to compile a playlist of your favorite tunes. Click OK.
To access your music from another computer via Home Sharing, open iTunes on that computer. Click on the drop-down menu at the top of the screen that lets you switch among your music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and other iTunes content. At the bottom of that menu, you should see your library listed as a destination. Click on the name of your library.
You’ll now be able to access all the music from your library.
To use Home Sharing from an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Music. Scroll to the bottom of the Music screen until you see the category for Home Sharing. If you see a link to “Sign in,” click on it and choose your Apple ID. If your ID already appears, then you can leave this setting as is.
Now open the Music app on your iOS device. You should see Home Sharing listed as one of the categories in your Library.
Click on the link for Home Sharing and then click on the name of your library.
Your iTunes music library should then appear with access to all albums.