How to Access an iTunes Library From Another Computer

By Elizabeth Calvert

Two methods allow you to access an iTunes library on another computer. The first method makes your iTunes library a Shared Library that is visible to other computers using the same network. This method is best for public use in coffee shops, in school or at the office. The second method is called Home Sharing and involves a single iTunes store account that is shared between up to five computers, typically within a family. Home Sharing is for personal use only. By setting up your computer with either of these sharing methods, others can view and play media in your iTunes library from their own computers. A computer must have the Shared Library or Home Sharing settings enabled before its iTunes library will be visible to other computers on the same network.

Things You'll Need

  • Local network connection
  • iTunes store account for Home Sharing

Share Your iTunes Library on a Mac

Step 1

Open iTunes on the computer with the iTunes library you would like to share. Click on the "iTunes" drop-down menu at the top left of your screen, and select "Preferences."

Step 2

Select the "Sharing" tab, which is the blue tab, third from the left, in the "Preferences" box.

Step 3

Click in the box next to the caption "Share my library on my local network." You have an option to password-protect your library at the bottom of this box. If you add a password, your library name is visible to other computers, but a password is required to access your media.

Step 4

Select "Share my entire library" if you want your entire iTunes library to be shared with computers on a local network. If you want to choose specific media to share, select the "Share selected playlists" option, and choose from your iTunes playlists which media you want to make available for sharing.

Step 5

Click on the "Apple" menu at the top left of your screen to ensure the computer you are working on is connected to your local network. Scroll down to the "Location" submenu, and select "Network Preferences." Your "Status" should read "Connected," and your network name appears below your status.

Step 6

Open iTunes on the second computer, and verify that it is connected to the same network as your first computer, as explained in Step 5. When you open iTunes, you will see a menu on the left side entitled "Sharing," and below it is a list of available iTunes libraries you can access.

Step 7

Click on the triangle to the left of the iTunes library you would like to access, and a menu of available playlists appears. It may take a moment for the library contents to load. Double-click on the music or media you would like to play, and it streams to your computer via your network.

Share Your iTunes Library on a PC

Step 1

Open iTunes on the PC with the iTunes library you would like to share. Click on the "Edit" drop-down menu at the top of your screen, and select "Preferences."

Step 2

Select the "Sharing" tab, which is the third tab from the left, in the "Preferences" box.

Step 3

Click in the box next to the caption "Share my library on my local network." You have an option to password-protect your library at the bottom of this box. If you add a password, your library name is visible to other computers, but a password is required to access your media.

Step 4

Select "Share my entire library" if you want your entire iTunes library to be shared with computers on your local network. If you want to choose specific media to share, select the "Share selected playlists" option, and choose from your iTunes playlists which media you want to make available.

Step 5

Click on the "Start" button at the bottom left of your screen to ensure the computer you are working on is connected to your local network. Click on "Control Panel" in the submenu, and select "Network Connections." If your computer is hardwired to your network, the "local area connection" icon reads as "connected." If you are connecting to a wireless network, right-click on the "Wireless Network Connection" icon, and select "View Available Networks." Select your network from the list of networks within range.

Step 6

Open iTunes on the second computer, and verify that it is connected to your local network by repeating Step 5. When you open iTunes, you see a menu on the left side entitled "Sharing," and below it is a list of available iTunes libraries you can access.

Step 7

Click on the triangle to the left of the iTunes library you would like to access, and a menu of available playlists appears. It may take a moment for the library contents to load. Double-click on the music or media you would like to play, and it streams to your computer via your network.

Enable Home Sharing on a Mac or PC

Step 1

Check that your computer is connected to your home network. If you have a Mac, click on the "Apple" menu at the top left of your screen. Scroll down to the "Location" submenu, and select "Network Preferences." Your "Status" should read "Connected," and your network name appears below your status. If you have a PC, click on the "Start" button at the bottom left of your screen. Click on "Control Panel" in the submenu, and select "Network Connections." If your computer is hardwired to your network, the "local area connection" icon reads as "connected." If you are connecting to a wireless network, right-click on the "Wireless Network Connection" icon, and select "View Available Networks." Select your home network from the list of networks within range.

Step 2

Open iTunes. At the top of your screen, click on "Advanced," and select "Turn on Home Sharing" from the drop-down menu.

Step 3

Enter the iTunes Store account email and password that family members share.

Step 4

Enable Home Sharing on all home computers by repeating Steps 2 and 3 for each system. You should now see the iTunes libraries on your home network listed in the left-side column of your iTunes screen under the "Shared" heading. Stream any media from these libraries by clicking and playing, just as you would from your own library.

Tips & Warnings

  • iTunes must be open and the computer must be awake for other computers to access its music library.
  • If you use Home Sharing, an "Import" button at the bottom right of your screen allows you to add content from another family member's iTunes library to the library on your computer.
  • To maintain your privacy, edit your library name to something less revealing than your full name. Change the list name of your iTunes library in the "Preferences" box under the "General" tab. This is helpful if you are sharing music in a public space, such as a coffee shop.
  • Finally, remember that the Shared Library setting remains enabled until you turn it off. If you use your computer in public places and connect to the Internet on public Wi-Fi, people using the same network can see your iTunes library if you have iTunes open.
  • The most frequent problem with sharing iTunes libraries between computers involves the network. Verify that both computers are awake, that iTunes is open on both computers and that they are both connected to the same local network.