iTunes is a really great media management application that provides you with a number of functions for organizing the media content stored on your computer. One of the functions of the application allows you to share your media library with friends on your local network.
This means that you no longer need to extract media files from your computer, put them on a portable drive and give them to friends so that they can enjoy the content. By sharing local iTunes media, all these hassles are eliminated, and you can share your iTunes library with a click of a few buttons.
What exactly is iTunes library sharing?
It’s good that you asked. ITunes Library Sharing is an option you’ll find in the iTunes app on both Windows PCs and Macs (although iTunes on Mac will soon be discontinued with macOS Catalina). This feature allows you to share existing content that you have in the app with other users who are on the same network as you.
Basically, you turn on an in-app setting that enables media sharing and allows other users using the iTunes app to access your music and video files. This should work for both wired and wireless networks, and you don’t need any physical hardware to get it up and running.
Are there any restrictions?
Music that you buy from iTunes or any other similar service usually has legal restrictions. However, sharing the iTunes library is a legitimate way to share your content as it works.
- Both the computer from which you are sharing the content and the computer receiving the content must be on the same local area network. Otherwise, you won’t see any shared content.
- iTunes must be installed on both computers. Download it for your Windows PC or Mac if you don’t already have it.
- The receiving computer cannot import or copy content and can only stream it.
How to share iTunes library from your computer
Setting up this feature is very easy, as all you need to do is connect both computers to the same local network, enable the setting in the app, and you’re done.
The following steps are performed on a Windows machine. The steps for a Mac should be the same, so you won’t have any problems.
Launch the iTunes application on your computer in any convenient way.
When the app launches, click on the option labeled “Edit” at the top and select “Settings.” The iTunes preferences menu will open.
By default, you should be on the General tab. On this screen, you will find the name of your library next to the Library Name field. You can change this name if you like, as it will appear on the receiving computer.
Once you’ve changed or left the library name as it is, click on the tab labeled Share at the top. Here you can take advantage of several options for sharing your iTunes library.
Check the box “Share my media library on my local network” and you will activate the two options below it. Here’s what each of the two does.
Share Entire Library – As the name suggests, this option allows you to share your entire media library on your local network. Choose this option only if you feel comfortable that all of your iTunes content is available on another computer.
Share Selected Playlists – This option allows you to share only selected and specific playlists on your network. You can manually select the playlists you want to share from the provided list.
Require Password – This adds a layer of security to content sharing. Here you can specify a password that the receiving computer must enter before it can access your content. It’s up to you if you want to use this option.
Finally, click OK to save your changes.
The iTunes library has been successfully hosted on your local network. It’s time for other computers on your network to access your files.
Access Shared iTunes Content
You only need iTunes to stream content you’ve shared from your computer to another computer on the same network.
Download the latest version of the app, open it and you will see the shared library in the left sidebar. If the sidebar isn’t visible by default, click the View menu at the top and choose Show Sidebar.
How to disable iTunes Library Sharing
If you want to turn off media sharing at any time, you can do so in the iTunes app.
- Launch the iTunes app, click Change and select Preferences.
- Click the Sharing tab and uncheck the Share my library on my local network box.
How to fix connection-related problems
Sometimes, due to firewall restrictions, the receiving computer may not be able to access your library the first time. However, you can change the setting in your firewall settings so that iTunes can accept incoming connections from other computers.
If you are on a Windows computer, follow these steps to allow iTunes to establish incoming and outgoing connections even if the firewall is enabled.
Press the Windows key, find and click Control Panel to launch the panel.
Make sure you are viewing the panel in large or small icons mode. Then find and click the option labeled Windows Defender Firewall to open the firewall settings.
On the next screen, click Allow an app or feature over the air from Windows Defender on the left sidebar.
Select iTunes from the list, check both boxes next to it, and then click the “OK” button at the bottom.
ITunes is now allowed to establish connections in your firewall, and the receiving computer will have no problem accessing your shared iTunes library.