How to Authorize Computers in iTunes

Play your media from iTunes on up to five computers

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Authorizing a PC or Mac in iTunes grants the computer access to and permission to play any of the media you have purchased at the iTunes Store using your Apple ID.

Apple allows you to authorize up to five computers to use content purchased with a single Apple ID. The computer you initially buy the media on from the iTunes Store is the first computer of the five that is authorized to play it. After that one, you can authorize a computer at work, in a vacation home, or your spare laptop to also access the same media.

How to Authorize a Computer to Play iTunes Media

To authorize another computer to play your iTunes purchases, follow these steps:

  1. Open iTunes on a computer you want to authorize.

  2. Go to the iTunes menu bar and select Accounts.

  3. Select Authorizations in the drop-down menu.

  4. Choose Authorize This Computer.

    Path to authorizing an additional computer to play iTunes
  5. Input your Apple ID and password when prompted to do so.

Now, iTunes on that computer can access and play all the content you have purchased with your Apple ID — and only that content.

iTunes allows only one Apple ID to be associated with iTunes at a time. If you authorize the computer of a friend or spouse hoping to share your iTunes purchases, the items that they purchased from iTunes using their Apple IDs are no longer available to them.

How to Deauthorize a Computer in iTunes

Because you can only authorize five computers at a time, you may occasionally need to free up one of your activations or prevent playback of your files on another computer. For example, if you are selling or giving away a computer, deauthorize it first by going to Account on the iTunes menu bar and then to Authorizations. Choose Deauthorize This Computer from the slide-out menu.

Deauthorizing a computer from iTunes menu bar

How to Deauthorize Computers You No Longer Have

If you no longer have access to a computer that you previously authorized with your Apple ID (because it is dead or you sold it, for example), and it is taking up one of the five authorization slots that you now need, you can deauthorize all computers under that Apple ID, freeing up all five of those slots so you can reauthorize your computers.

  1. Open iTunes and tap Store at the top of the screen if it doesn't open in the Store view.

  2. Select Account at the right side of the screen.

    Path to an iTunes account
  3. In the Apple ID Summary section, select Deauthorize All next to Computer Authorizations.

    Deauthorizing all computers in the Account Information

At this point, that computer is no longer authorized to play your iTunes purchases — nor are any others. You need to go to each computer that you want to be authorized and reauthorize it.