Set Up Home Sharing in iTunes for Streaming to Apple TV

Home Sharing is a feature that became available in iTunes version 9. Home Sharing makes connecting to the other iTunes libraries in your home network easy so you can stream, share, and copy music, movies, TV shows, apps, and ringtones.

Older versions of iTunes allowed you to turn on sharing so you could play others' music, but you couldn't add their media to your iTunes library. The benefit of adding to your own library is that you can sync it to your iPhone or iPad.

The second-generation Apple TV uses Home Sharing to connect to the content on the computers in your home network. To play music, movies, TV shows, and podcasts from your iTunes libraries through your Apple TV, you must set up each iTunes library with Home Sharing. 

01
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Choose the Main iTunes Account

Home Sharing in iTunes

Barb Gonzalez 

Choose someone's iTunes store account as the main account. This is the account that you'll use to link all other iTunes libraries and the Apple TV. For example, let's say your account username for the iTunes store is simpletechguru@mac.com and that your password is "yoohoo."

To start setup, click on the Home Sharing icon (the little house) in the left column of the iTunes window on the first computer. If the house does not appear, go to step 8 to learn how to access Home Sharing. When the Home Sharing login window appears, fill in the account username and password — in this case, simpletechguru@mac.com and yoohoo.​

02
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Set Up the Other Computers or Devices That You Want to Connect

iTunes Computer Authorization and Assignment

Barb Gonzalez

Be sure the iTunes libraries on the other computer(s) are version iTunes 9 or above. All computers must be on the same home network – either wired to the router or on the same wireless network. 

On each computer, click on the Home Sharing icon and put in the same iTunes name and password as you used on your computer — again, for this example, simpletechguru@mac.com and yoohoo. If you have trouble, see step 8.

By the way, did you know you can pair your Apple Watch to your iPhone and play music through your watch? Now, that's music on the go!

03
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Authorize Computer(s) to Play Your iTunes Store Purchases

Authorize Computer(s) to Play iTunes Store Purchases

Barb Gonzalez 

If you want other computers that are connected to your Home Sharing to be able to play the movies, music, and apps that you have downloaded from the iTunes store, you must authorize each of them. This is particularly important for music purchased before the DRM-free — without copy protection — purchase option.

To authorize the other computers, click on Store in the top menu, then choose Authorize computer. Enter the iTunes username and password to authorize the computer to play the songs bought by that user. You must authorize each computer with each iTunes user whose content you want to play. A family might need to authorize for the mom's, dad's, and son's account, and so on. Now, everyone can play each other's purchased movies and music.

04
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Play Music and Movies From Others' iTunes Libraries

Play Music and Movies From Other's iTunes Libraries

Barb Gonzalez

Once all computers have been set up to home share and have been authorized, you can share movies, music, iPhone applications, and ringtones into your library.

To share media, the other person's computer must be turned on, and their iTunes library must be open. In the left column of your iTunes window, you will see a small house with the name of the other person's iTunes library. Click on it to see a list of everything in their library as if you were looking at your own. You can choose to view all media or only those songs, movies, and apps that you don't own. 

05
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Drag Movies, Music, Ringtones, and Apps to Copy to Your Library

Moving Songs from Shared iTunes Libraries

Barb Gonzalez

To add a movie, song, ringtone, or app from another iTunes library to your own, click on their iTunes house and then click on music, movies, or whatever iTunes category that you want to peruse. 

In their iTunes library list, click on the item you want, and drag it to the top left of your iTunes window. A box will appear around the library categories, and you will notice a small green plus sign that represents the item you are adding. Let go – i.e., drop it – and it will be copied to your iTunes library. Alternatively, you can choose the items and click on Import in the lower righthand corner.

Note that if you copy an app that someone else purchased, you will be prompted to authorize the iPhone or iPad each time you update the app.

06
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Be Sure All Home-Shared iTunes Purchases Are Copied to Your iTunes Library

Home Share Auto Transfer

Barb Gonzalez

You can set iTunes to automatically import any new purchases downloaded to another iTunes library in your Home Sharing network.

Click on the house icon of the library where the purchases will be downloaded. When the window displays that other library, click on Settings in the lower right corner of the window. A window will pop up for you to check what types of purchased media — music, movies, apps — you want to automatically copy to your iTunes library when they are downloaded to that other library. Both iTunes libraries must be open for the copy to be completed.

Automatically copying purchased items ensures that the iTunes library on your laptop will have all of the purchases made on your desktop.

07
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How to Access Home Sharing if You Are Having Trouble

Home Share Setup on iTunes and Apple TV

Barb Gonzalez

If you change your mind as to which iTunes account to use as the main account for home sharing, or if you make a mistake and want to start over:

  1. Go to Advanced in the top menu.
  2. Select Turn off home sharing
  3. Go back to Advanced and select Turn on home sharing. It will ask you again for the iTunes account name and password.
08
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Add Your Apple TV to Home Sharing to Connect to Your iTunes Library

Add Apple TV to Home Share

Barb Gonzalez

The second-generation Apple TV requires home sharing to connect to the iTunes libraries on your home network. 

Click on Computer. You will see a message that you have to turn on home sharing. It will take you to a screen where you will need to enter the iTunes account that all of your computers are using for home sharing.  

09
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Turn on Home Sharing on Your Apple TV

Turn on Home Sharing on Apple TV

Barb Gonzalez

On your Apple TV, be sure that Home Sharing is turned on:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Computers.
  2. Click the on/off button to be sure it says On.
10
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Choose the Media to Stream From iTunes

How to Setup Home Share in iTunes and on Apple TV -- Choose the Media to Stream From iTunes

Barb Gonzalez

You should see a screen indicating that Home Sharing is on. Then:

  1. Hit the menu button on the Apple TV remote to return to the home screen.
  2. Navigate to Computers
  3. This time, you should see a list of all of the computers in your Home Sharing Network. Click on the iTunes library from which you want to stream. The media will be organized as it is in the iTunes libraries.