If you've got multiple computers or iOS devices, you know that sharing music between them can be a laborious task. But not anymore. Thanks to iTunes Match, a feature of iCloud, you can now easily store your music in your iCloud account on Apple's servers and then download that music to any device that has access to your iTunes account. In order to do that, though, you first have to sign up for iTunes Match and add your music to your iCloud account. Here's how.
Time Required: Depends on the size of your iTunes library
- To begin setting up iTunes Match you need to turn the feature of (whoa, shocking, right?). To do this, click on the Store menu in iTunes and click on Turn On iTunes Match.
- The iTunes Match sign up screen will load in the center of iTunes. It will offer you two buttons: No Thanks (click it if you don't want to subscribe to iTunes Match) or Subscribe for $24.99 (I think you know what this one is for). In order to subscribe, you must have an iTunes account and a valid credit card on file for billing. That credit card will be charged $24.99 each year for your iTunes Match service (the subscription automatically renews. To prevent this, you need to turn off auto-renewal in your iTunes account).
- Once you've clicked the subscribe button, you'll be asked to sign into the iTunes account that you want to add your music to.
- Now iTunes Match begins the first of three steps in adding your music to your iCloud account: gathering information. In this stage, iTunes is scanning your library to find out what music you have in it and is preparing to send that information to the iCloud servers to ready the match. How long this takes will depend on how many items you have in your iTunes library, but expect to wait a good long while (an hour or more) if you have thousands of songs to match.
- Once that's done, iTunes moves on to step 2: matching your music. In this step, the iCloud servers are comparing the information gathered in step 1 with the music they have in their databases about what's available at the iTunes Store. Any songs that are both in your iTunes library and are on the iTunes Store are automatically added to your iCloud account so you don't have to upload them (this is the match part of iTunes Match).
- With the match complete, the iCloud servers now know what songs in your iTunes library weren't found at the iTunes Store and need to be uploaded. Ideally this is a relatively small number, but that depends on the composition of your library (for instance, a lot of concert recordings means you'll be doing a lot of uploading, since those aren't sold in iTunes). In my initial use of iTunes Match, I had to upload about 1/3 of my over 10,000 songs. The number of songs you need to upload will determine how long this step takes. At this point, album art that's not available in the Store but is in your library is also uploaded.
- Once all your songs are uploaded, you'll see a screen letting you know that the process is complete. Click the Done button and you'll be ready to share your music across all the devices that have access to your iTunes Account.
- Some songs that you try to add to iTunes Match will have icons next to them. Check out the end of this article to find out what those icons mean.
What You Need
- An iTunes account
- A valid credit card on file in that account
- A computer running iTunes 10.5.1 or higher
- An iOS device running iOS 5 or higher (if you want to use Match on that device)