How to Deauthorize iTunes on Old or Dead Computers (Apple Music, Too)

Do this if you need to authorize a new computer

What To Know

  • On the same computer: In iTunes, go to Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer. Log in and click Deauthorize.
  • On a different computer: Install iTunes, and go to Account > View My Account. Log in with the Apple ID used on your old computer and go to Apple ID Summary > Deauthorize All.
  • These tips also work for the Music app that replaced iTunes on Macs in 2019.

This article explains how to deauthorize iTunes on a computer that you're planning on getting rid of, or already have gotten rid of, stopping anyone else from getting access to music, videos, and other content purchased from the iTunes Store. These directions apply to iTunes 12 and up but should work equally well for earlier versions, too.

In 2019, Apple replied iTunes with an app called Music on Macs (iTunes still exists on Windows). The instructions in this article also apply to deauthorizing computers in the Music app.

How to Deauthorize iTunes on a Mac or PC

  1. Open iTunes on the computer you want to deauthorize.

  2. Go to Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer.

    Deauthorize This Computer in iTunes
  3. Log in with your Apple ID if prompted to do so, then click Deauthorize.

How to Deauthorize a Computer You Don't Have Access To

Deauthorizing is simple if you have access to the computer, but what if you sold the computer and forgot to deauthorize it? Or maybe you want to deauthorize iTunes or Music on a non-working computer that won't turn on.

You can log in with your Apple ID on any computer to deauthorize iTunes on old, missing, or broken computers:

  1. Download iTunes if it's not on the computer.

  2. Go to Account > View My Account.

    View My Account in iTunes
  3. Log in with your Apple ID. Make sure it's the same account that was used to authorize the computer you don't have access to but now want to deauthorize.

  4. In the Apple ID Summary section, select Deauthorize All.

    Deauthorize All button in iTunes
  5. In the pop-up window, confirm that this is what you want to do. 

In a few seconds, all the computers on your account will be deauthorized.

It's very important to understand that this step means that every computer that was previously able to access purchases made through that Apple ID has been deauthorized. So, you'll have to reauthorize the ones you want to use.

What Is iTunes Authorization?

Authorization is a form of DRM applied to some content sold through the iTunes Store and Apple's other online media stores. In the early days of the iTunes Store, all songs had DRM applied to them to prevent copying. Now that iTunes music is DRM-free, authorization covers other kinds of purchases, like movies and TV. 

Every Apple ID can authorize up to five computers to play the DRM-protected content purchased using that account. This number limit applies to Macs and PCs, but not to iOS devices like the iPhone.

Since iTunes authorizations can be shuffled around, you can deauthorize any number of computers to re-open those authorization slots for other computers. For example, if five computers are authorized, you must deauthorize one before you can authorize a new computer.

Notes About iTunes Deauthorization

  • The Deauthorize All option is only available when you have at least two authorized computers.
  • You can use the Deauthorize All method once every 12 months. If you used it in the last year and need to again, contact Apple to see if they can help.
  • Deauthorize your computer before upgrading Windows or installing new hardware. In those cases, iTunes can make a mistake and think that one computer is actually two. Deauthorizing prevents that.
  • If you subscribe to iTunes Match, you can keep up to 10 computers in sync. That limit isn't related to this one. Since iTunes Match only handles music, which is DRM-free, the 10 computer limit applies. All other iTunes Store content that isn't compatible with iTunes Match is limited to five authorizations.
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