How to Fix a Computer That's Not Authorized to Play Music in iTunes

Learn how to get your music authorized and playing again

iTunes can play most media files, including those purchased from the iTunes Music Store. Sometimes, however, iTunes seems to forget that you're authorized to play the music you legally purchased. There are a number of reasons why this problem may occur, and each has a corresponding fix.

This guide shows you how to troubleshoot a repeat authorization request in iTunes.

With macOS Catalina, Apple replaced iTunes with apps for each media type: Music, Books, TV, and Podcasts. This guide uses "iTunes" and "Music" interchangeably.

Person listening to music on laptop with bike in the background
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Reasons Why iTunes Says Some Songs Are Not Authorized

A repeat authorization request occurs when you launch iTunes, select a song or track to listen to, and receive a prompt indicating you're not authorized to play that song. The most common cause of this problem is when an iTunes library includes songs purchased by other user accounts or Apple IDs, and some of those profiles are not authorized to access certain content.

You need to manually authorize devices to download and play music from iTunes in the Cloud—the shared media platform that allows users to access the same content from different computers or mobile devices.

If you enter your Apple ID and password when prompted, and the song still asks for authorization, the song may have been purchased using a different Apple ID. Your Mac must be authorized for every Apple ID used to purchase music that you want to play. The problem is, you may not remember what Apple ID was used for a particular song. However, it's easy to figure out.

Learn How to Fix It When iTunes Says You're Not Authorized

Follow these steps, in order, to resolve the authorization request and regain access to your Music library.

  1. Authorize the computer you are using. From the Account menu in the ​iTunes/Music app, select Authorizations > Authorize This Computer and then enter your Apple ID and password. This fix should solve most problems related to media authorization.

  2. Manage your authorized devices. If you still get the same message, look up which devices are authorized to download and play purchases from iTunes in the Cloud. Navigate to the Account Information section in iTunes/Music. Then, look up which devices have access to iTunes in the Cloud, remove those devices, or deauthorize Apple ID accounts.

  3. Deauthorize unused or unwanted devices. You may have too many devices associated with your Apple ID. iTunes allows up to 10 devices to share music from an iTunes library, only five of which can be computers. If you have too many computers allowed to share, you can't add additional ones without first removing a computer from the list.

  4. Log in with an admin account. If the Apple ID is correct, but iTunes still requires authorization, you may be logged in to a Mac user account that doesn't have the necessary privileges. From the Apple menu, select Log Out user name and then log in using an administrator account. After you log in with an administrator account, launch iTunes, select Authorize This Computer from the Store menu, and provide the appropriate Apple ID and password. Log out once again, then log in to your user account and play the song again.

  5. Delete the SC Info folder. If you're still stuck in an authorization loop, one of the files that iTunes uses in the authorization process may be corrupted. The easiest solution is to delete the file and then reauthorize the Mac. First, you need to make invisible items visible. Once visible, open a Finder window and navigate to /Users/Shared, locate the folder titled SC Info and drag it to the trash. Finally, relaunch iTunes and authorize the computer as instructed in step 1.

  6. Contact Apple Support. If you still receive authorization messages and cannot play your music, contact Apple customer support or schedule an appointment at an Apple Genius Bar.

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