ITunes Libraries on Two Different Computers

Karl - Apr 10, 2009 at 08:37 PM
 tony j - Feb 10, 2013 at 04:22 PM

I was on my laptop tonight and decided to buy a song that I heard on Pandora Radio. I wanted it on my Iphone. I didn't have Itunes installed on my laptop (it is installed on our desktop computer). So, I installed Itunes on my laptop and then purchased the song.

Then, I wanted to transfer the song to my Iphone. I was about to, however I kept getting a message that warned that all my existing music (apps too I think) would not transfer (since they were located on my desktop Itunes). I didn't sync.

I realize that I can sync the new song I bought tonight. Then, I go back to my desktop and sync again all the existing music and apps I had on my Iphone. However this seems cumbersome.

Is there a relatively simple way to go back and forth between different Itunes library and continously add songs and apps, WITHOUT HAVING TO GO BACK TO THE DEFAULT ITUNES LIBRARY EACH TIME (to restore)?


19 responses

You have to switch your iPod to "manual" sync mode. When you get the "do you want to erase this iPod and sync with this iTunes library?" prompt, click Cancel. Now, select your iPod in iTunes's source pane (after Library and Store, there will be a Devices entry; deploy it if need be, then select the iPod). In the window that appears, select the Summary tab. Near the bottom, there will be a list of Options. Check the "Manually manage music and videos" box. Click OK in the prompt, then click Apply on the Summary tab.

From this point on, your iPod will be able to sync with multiple computers. To copy items from the computer to the iPod, select the items within iTunes and drag them to the iPod in the source pane. Conversely, select them from the iPod's iTunes listings (the Music tab, Movies tab, etc.) and hit Delete to remove them from the iPod. I'm not sure as yet, but I guess you can copy stuff from the iPod to the computer by dragging from the iPod's listings (in iTunes) to the appropriate Library in the source pane.

jeff dunhammmm
Dec 27, 2009 at 06:48 PM
can I get music from 2 different computers cuz it says its gonna replace all the music already on and I dont want that
donnadid > jeff dunhammmm
Mar 20, 2010 at 05:54 AM
Thanks for this - was just what I was looking for to solve my problem with my ipod
rnandom > jeff dunhammmm
Jun 30, 2010 at 10:30 AM
thxxx mann iv been looking for ages because itunes wouldnt let me download some things and I had to use m,y dadds file koz hes an administrator,
thanks alot
AmyW > jeff dunhammmm
Jul 12, 2010 at 12:08 PM
Thank you! I thought I was going to have to purchase a bunch of things again to get them onto my iPod!
Thank you so much! You've just helped me solve a problem I've had for a VERY long time :D
This might be a bit late but you need to authorize the computer to allow it to connect to your ipod/iphone. When you connect you device in there will be an icon with the name of the device. Click the little arow facing to the right, right click on the music pannel and select tranfer purchases and when the window opens enter you password as normal and then another window should open saying "songs are not authorized" and press Authorize..
Dear Jack,

You answer was soooo helpful and best of all it totally worked! Thanks a million!
I seen you were able to help someone else with their problem so I thought I'd see if you could help me. I have a Sony computer and for some reason it deletes my all my songs in my itunes library. They aren't gone from the computer but I have to go into my music and drag them all back to the itunes library. When I do this it will not let me put any of the songs on my iphone. I've deauthorized and authorized and it still won't work. This has happened a few times and I've been able to fix it before but forgot how. Can you give me any advice?

fuc u jack ur a nob shize
Now do you do these steps of authorizing, everytime when you sync your ipod/iphone?
If you go to the advanced menu option and click on home sharing you can transfer purchases from different computers, up to five.
Had itunes library on old computer. Bought a new computer, (still Windows, not Mac) plugged in iphone, got itunes & saw library was empty. Clld Apple Tech support (1-800-694-7466) & was advised they could recover only my purchased songs, not any I imported from my own CD's. They explained a new library had to be created each time I ditched one computer & bought another, due to the legal/copyright agreemts, etc. they have with record companies on itunes. They walked me thru how to create a new library, (Apple needs to walk you thru this) (Apple can recreate the purchased songs for you also.) My new library only consisted of my previously purchased songs. Any previous ringtones & playlists could not be recovered & put on the new library. I'd also have to re import any CD music to recreate my full old library.

Thought I was OK till I tried to: sync my iphone, transfer a newly bought ringtone via drag & drop method & transfer a newly created playlist via drag & drop (got a circle w/line thru it, couldn't utilize the drag/drop transfer feature .) Noticed my phone wasn't actually syncing or backing up any data either. Plugged in my phone, got it to show up as an icon on the library, clicked on the phone icon & brought up a "Summary Window". Under Summary, tried every variation to sync phone, kept getting message that phone was "synced to another library, could only be synced to one, to sync, would need to erase contents of iphone & replace." DIDN'TWANT TO DO THIS, AS IF YOU'RE SYNCING UNDER THE SUMMARY TAB, THIS WILL ERASE ALL DATA ON PHONE.

Researched problem via Web, tried all recommendations, none worked. MY phone was "authorized" on new library, so that wasn't the issue. decided it was time to call Apple. Apple tech support offered 2 ways, via phone(see 1st paragraph for tech support #) or at Apple store. Either way, one has to make an appointment, this isn't a big deal. Have an Apple store near us, so called, made appointment & went in.

Here's what Apple tech said: If u change computers, must create a new library, due to music copyright laws on itunes. I had the new library, I now needed to "sync" my phone properly to it. Tech said I could sync certain areas of phone, like contacts, without erasing my contact info on my phone or erasing all phone info. However, with the music section, I had to erase phone music content & replace it w/my new library, if I wanted my phone "synced" to this new library.

My phone had some imported CD music on it, plus custom ringtones that would be wiped out; however, the bulk of the music was purchased & identical to that on my new library. I decided to "go for it" & replace the music on my phone w/the new library music, in order to "sync" my phone w/this new library.

Here's how the Apple Tech told me to do it, taking small steps. These instructions are different from what I saw online:
1) Bring up ur itunes library. Plug in your phone & wait for it to appear as aN ICON under "devices" on the main page of the library (click on music to get to the main page)
2)Then click on your phone icon (under devices). A window will pop up, labeled "Summary". DON'T DO ANYTHING IN THIS "SUMMARY TAB", AS SYNCING IN THIS TAB WILL WIPE OUT ALL YOUR PHONE DATA, NOT JUST THE MUSIC. Look across the top & you'll see different tabs named: Summary, Info, Apps, Ringtones, Music, Movies, TV shows, Podcasts, etc.
3)Click on the "Info" tab. This will be an area you can safely experiment to "resync" your phone to the new library without much risk. In the Info tab, click on small box next to word CONTACT, then click on "all contacts". Click on any contact applicationsthat drop down & are on your computer, even if u have no contact info on ur computer in this application. Then you'll see a choice to MERGE INFO or REPLACE INFO. Click on MERGE INFO (not replace info). Click on apply, then click on Sync. Your contact data will begin to be backed up (look at top of screen), then synced with the new library. When done, (about 5 min or less) your contact info on your phone should be fine, &ur phone will be synced for contacts on the new library.

MUSIC SYNC: For ur phone to be synced for Music on the new library, you have to replace the music on ur phone w/that of the new library. Tech told me there is no other way. For me, I would lose my imported CD songs, some playlists & ringtones, but decided it was worth it to be synced up with the new library. If u want to do this, here's how. On the top of the window, click on the MUSIC TAB. Click on the box next to the word Music, then click on all music, then click on APPLY, then SYNC. You will get a message that your MUSIC DATA WILL BE DELETED & REPLACED. THIS WILL OCCUR IF YOU click on SYNC. BUT, YOU'RE ONLY REPLACING YOUR MUSIC DATA ON YOUR PHONE, NOT ALL OF THE DATA ON YOUR PHONE. If you click sync, your phone will begin to be backed up, then data will be erased & replaced with music on new library. Once complete, you'll have to replace any custom ringtones or imported CD music on the library, then transfer to your phone. The transfer will occur via "syncing" process, as your phone is now synced to your new library.

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feist Posts 8 Registration date Wednesday June 17, 2009 Status Member Last seen July 27, 2009
Jun 18, 2009 at 01:59 AM
i think you can use Anisoft iTunes to iTunes Transfer ,an easy to use iTunes utility designed to help you backup/recover/transfer your whole iTunes library and media files. iTunes to iTunes Transfer is a simple way to keep your iTunes in sync everywhere. You can use it to backup your own iTunes library or synchronize multiple iTunes on different computers. The backed up library file is pretty easy to transfer to other iTunes, and it's easy to manage. So with this iTunes to iTunes Transfer software, you can manage your iPod/iPhone/... on different PCs.
This is great to know, but it doesn't explain how to get it or use it. These APPLE discussion boards are worthless. They don't give you the information you are looking for.

Hey Moreta, just use Home Sharing, as Peep says lower down, go to the advanced menu option and click on home sharing. Should be easy enough
i've tried using the home sharing option myself? but i'm not getting any results, i've followed all of the steps but still get nothing, and of course calling apple is NO help, because all they care about is charging me to tell me how to do it...i could help on this subject as well.
Hi mate,

You need to authorize both computers for your iphone.

you can only do this for 5 machines.

Just plug in your iphone and select either File, Edit, Controls and find the authorize computer button on your itunes.

Thank you :)
This solved the problem I was having.
What a noob I am...
Easy. Set the device to manually sync! :-)
this is most stupid part of apple iphone
im not wonder why microsoft were on top for such long time, because steve jobs does not understand the user requirements!
Stupid apple
You need to alter part of the 'string' txt in the iTunes Music Library.xml (PC) and, using something like HexEdit, replace the ident for iTunes in the iTunes Library.itl (PC) so that both iTunes (on different computers) have the same ident code
Thank you I have been trying to find out how to get the music from my I phone to my PC thank you
just manually add your music.
yea if your laptop and desktop are on the same wifi in the same house go to your desktop and go to home sharing set it up then go to your laptop and do the same thing now you will see your playlists from you decktop on your laptop
you can laways manually manage music it allows you to drag songs fom ohter computer when plugged in without erasing everything...BUT you have toi click manually manage on the very fist computer you were sunk with for it to work.

the other option is opening sharing between families itunes libraries that allows you to have access to all families music which is what I do. then I can opt to see the other computes libaries and download only the songs I want onto my hard dive.
as far as i'm aware, with the iPhone specifically (not ipod touch), you can only sync to one computer... manually or otherwise. its a giant pain in the ass, I know.
I have the same problem, but the only difference is that 1.) it's with video and 2.) I don't have internet on the computer I have all my music and information in.
go to store then autharize computer right click music then transfer purchases
So that only works on your purchased items? What about cds that you've loaded onto your main computer? Thanks!!
you have to authorize both computers
You should go to (up at the top) the store button. Click "authorize computer" and type in your password. Then while your ipod is plugged into the computer, click file- transfer purchases. You can authorize up to 5 computers.
You have to put the songs on a cd. Then you can add them to your desktop computer.