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How To Authorize Computers in iTunes

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The Authorize This Computer menu

If you want to use some kinds of media purchased from the iTunes Store--most notably movies, TV, and audiobooks--you need to authorize your computer to play them (with the introduction of iTunes Plus, it's no longer necessary to authorize computers to play music from iTunes). Every iTunes account can authorize up to 5 computers. The computer you bought the media on is the first computer authorized to play it. Here's how to authorize other computers to play your iTunes purchases.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 1-2 Minutes

Here's How:

  1. Add the file you want to play to the new computer. Options for moving files from one computer to another include:

  2. Once you've dragged the file into the second iTunes library, double click it to play. Instead of playing it, though, an iTunes window will pop up asking you to authorize the computer.
  3. At this point, you need to log in to the iTunes account/Apple ID used to buy the file (not the iTunes account usually used on the new computer you're playing the file on).
  4. If your account information is correct, the file will be authorized and will play. If not, you'll be asked again to log in to the iTunes account/Apple ID used to buy the file.

Tips:

  1. As of Jan. 2008, all music at the iTunes Store is DRM-free iTunes Plus content, which removes the need to authorize computers when playing songs.
  2. Alternatively, you can authorize a computer ahead of time by going to the Store menu in iTunes and choosing Authorize This Computer.
  3. Since you only get 5 activations, you may from time to time want to free up one of your activations or prevent playback on your files on another computer. To do this, go to the Store menu and choose Deauthorize This Computer.
  4. If you use authorize a file with an Apple ID that's not the one you've bought other content with, you won't be able to play those other purchases until you log into that Apple ID (which will cause the new items bought with the other Apple ID not to work). Apple only allows you to be logged into one Apple ID at a time on each device.
  5. If you need to deauthorize every computer that's been authorized on your account, including computers that are dead or you no longer have access to, read this article.
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