Saturday, 15 October 2011

Sharing iTunes apps for free

There are various instructions on sharing iTunes apps between different devices used by different people (linked to different iTunes accounts).  I just discovered how to do it without manually copying files between computers, so long as you can enable "Home Sharing" between your various devices.

  1. First, synchronise your device (iPhone, iPad, etc) with iTunes 10.5.  Alternatively you can turn on "Automatic Downloads" in Edit > Preferences > Store.
  2. Turn on Home Sharing (Advanced > Turn On Home Sharing) on the computer that has the apps. Enter the username / password (lets call this the "main" account)
  3. Go to your other computer on the same network and turn on home sharing.  Enter the credentials of the "main" account to authorise this computer.  You will get a message showing you how many computers out of 5 have access to the main account.
  4. Under the SHARED entry on the left you will see "main's library".  Click once on this heading and wait for the drop-down arrow to appear, then click on the arrow and you will see Music, Films, TV, Apps, and Playlists.  Select Apps and you will see a list of apps purchased by the main account.
  5. Drag and drop apps from the list in the main window into your LIBRARY list on the left
  6. Connect your secondary iPhone / iPod and sync.  Now you have any apps purchased by the other user!
The SHARED list in iTunes

You can also share "bidirectionally" but you have to authorise the main account to the second account:
  1. On the main iTunes account click on Store > Authorise this computer
  2. Enter the credentials of the second account
  3. Copy apps from the second account to this one, as above
Sometimes the SHARED entry disappears from the left-hand sidebar.  I sometimes have to turn home sharing off and on again to get it back.

This is working between an iPhone 4 with iOS 4x and an iPhone 4S with iOS 5x.

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