Working with iTunes, regardless of platform, is a pretty cool thing. iTunes gives you a desktop interface to all of your mobile content, and you get to manage all of your mobile content with your computer … provided it’s authorized to do so. And that’s the key thing – Authorization.
Part of Apple’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) system requires that all content endpoints – an iPhone, an iPod, an iPad, even your Mac or PC – be authorized to use the content you buy and use on them. You can play or use content (music, movies, TV shows, apps, etc.) on an unlimited number of iDevices, but you can only play or use content on up to five computers at any one time.
When you consume content, you do so on an authorized device. Authorizing an iDevice is as easy as signing in with your Apple ID. When it comes to computers, it’s a little bit different. There are a few scenarios here that we need to identify. There are specific reasons why you would want to do each of these. Let’s review the scenarios and the reasons behind them before we get into the ins and outs of making each of them happen.
You want to Authorize a Computer
- You’ve purchased a new computer.
- You want to consume purchased content on your work/ a different computer.
You want to Deauthorize a Computer
- You’ve purchased a new computer.
- You’re getting a new work computer.
You want to Deauthorize All of your Computers
- You’ve run out of authorizations.
- You no longer have access to a computer.
The key point to remember here is, again, while you can have an unlimited number of authorized iDevices logged into your account, you can only have a maximum of five computers.
Please also note that authorizing a computer does not automatically download any iTunes content to it. It merely grants permissions to that computer to play the content you already own.
Authorizing a Mac or PC
To authorize a Mac or a PC to play your iTunes content, follow these steps:
1. Open iTunes.
2. On your Mac, choose “Store -> Authorize this Computer” from the Menu Bar at the top of the screen. On your Windows PC, press “Ctrl + B” on your keyboard to turn on the iTunes Menu bar. Then choose “Store –> Authorize this Computer.”
3. Enter your Apple ID and password. iTunes will record a unique ID for the computer that you’re using and remember it. If iTunes ever asks you to Reauthorize an already authorized computer, it won’t use a new authorization. (Remember, you’re allowed a max of five concurrent, authorized computers.)
Deauthorize a Mac or PC
To deauthorize a Mac or PC in iTunes, follow these steps:
1. Open iTunes.
2. On your Mac, choose “Store –> Deauthorize this Computer” from the Menu Bar at the top of the screen. On your Windows PC, press “Ctrl + B” on your keyboard to turn on the iTunes Menu bar. Then choose “Store –> Deauthorize this Computer.”
3. Enter your AppleID and password. iTunes will communicate with the iTunes Store and reduce your authorization count by one. If you’re successful, you’ll see the dialog box below. Please note that deauthorizing a computer will NOT erase content that has been downloaded to it. Deauthorizing a computer only removes the necessary permissions to play the content.
Deauthorize all connected computers
To deauthorize ALL of your computers (whether Macs or PCs or any combination thereof) in iTunes, follow these steps:
1. Open iTunes
2. Locate your name drop-down near the Search bar in iTunes and click it.
3. Choose Account Info from the drop-down list. You’ll be taken to the Account Information screen in the iTunes Store.
4. The Account Information page has information on your iTunes account and all of your purchases. In the Apple ID Summary section near the top, the last item in the section, Computer Authorizations, contains information on the number of authorizations you are currently using.
5. To deauthorize your current computer (and every other computer lost, stolen, abandoned or otherwise no longer accessible) click the Deauthorize All button.
6. You get a standard “are you really sure you want to do this” dialog. If you’re sure, click the “Deauthorize all computers” button. iTunes will deauthorize all of your computers. You can then go back to all of the computers you really DO want authorized and individually authorize them again. As long as you have your AppleID credentials, this isn’t an issue. Please note that deauthorizing a computer will NOT erase content that has been downloaded to it. Deauthorizing a computer only removes the necessary permissions to play the content.
Part of iTunes’ security measures only allows for your iTunes content to be used on up to five computers at a single time. Those can be any combination of Macs or PCs. However, keeping track of what computers are authorized can sometimes be a bit confusing. Thankfully, iTunes gives you a way to quickly check how many computers your iTunes account is authorized on, to quickly authorize an individual computer, to quickly deauthorize an individual computer; and if needed, deauthorize all computers connected to your account at once.