How to Set Up and Use Home Sharing in iTunes

Share music and more from iTunes libraries on the same network

iTunes Home Sharing
image credit: Eva Katalin Kondoros/E+/Getty Images

Do you live in a house that has more than one computer in it? If so, there's probably more than one iTunes library in the house, too. Have you ever thought it would be great to be able to simply share songs between these libraries? There is a feature of iTunes called Home Sharing that will allow you to do that.

Apple introduced iTunes Home Sharing in iTunes 9 as a way to enable music sharing between multiple computers in a single house that are all connected to the same network. With Home Sharing turned on, you can listen to music (and watch TV shows and movies) in someone else's iTunes library, or on their iPhones and iPods. If you have an Apple TV, Home Sharing also lets you share photos to your Apple TV to enjoy on your TV screen.

Home Sharing Requirements

In order to use Home Sharing, here's what you need:

  • A Mac or PC running iTunes 9 or higher.
  • An iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  • An Apple TV 4K or 4th Generation.
  • All devices must be connected to the same network.
  • All devices must be signed in to the same Apple ID.
  • To use Home Sharing, devices must be awake, with iTunes open.

Enable iTunes Home Sharing on a Mac or PC

Follow these steps to enable Home Sharing on your computer:

  1. In iTunes, click the File > Home Sharing > Turn On Home Sharing.

    iTunes menu with Turn On Home Sharing highlighted
  2. Log in using your Apple ID. Home Sharing is turned on. This will and make your iTunes library available to another computer on the same Wi-Fi network. A pop-up message will let you know when it's done.

  3. Click OK.

    iTunes confirmation that Home Sharing is activated

Repeat the steps above for any other computers you want to make available via Home Sharing.

Enable Home Sharing on iOS Devices

Follow these steps to share music from your iOS devices using Home Sharing.

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap Music.

  3. Scroll down to Home Sharing and tap Sign In.

    iPhone Music settings screen
  4. Enter your Apple ID and tap Sign In.

Using Other iTunes Libraries Via Home Sharing

To access computers and other devices available to you via Home Sharing:

  • In iTunes 12, click the content menu in the top left corner of iTunes (the one with Music, TV, Movies, etc. in it). In the menu, you'll see the name of any other computer available to you. To view that computer's music library, click it.
  • In iTunes 11, click View > Show Sidebar (in earlier versions of iTunes, the sidebar is shown at all times). Look for the Shared section in the left-hand tray in iTunes to find other iTunes libraries you can access.

When you select another computer's library, it loads in your main iTunes window. With the other library loaded, you can:

  • Browse the other computer's iTunes music library.
  • Play songs or albums from the other computer by double clicking them.
  • Browse other media, such as TV Shows, Movies, and Audiobooks, from the other computer and stream them by double clicking them.

Display Photos Through Apple TV With Home Sharing

As mentioned earlier, Home Sharing is one way to display photos from your computer on your Apple TV a big TV screen. To choose what photos are sent to your Apple TV, follow these steps.

  1. In iTunes, select File > Home Sharing > Choose Photos to Share with Apple TV.

    iTunes Home Sharing menu for sharing photos with Apple TV
  2. This opens the Photo Sharing Preferences window. Check the box next to Share Photos from.

    iTunes Photo Sharing Preferences with Share Photos from checked
  3. Use the dropdown menu to select the where your photos are located. Select the radio button to indicate whether you want to share All folders or only Selected folders. whether you share some or all of your photos, the Photo Albums you want to share, and more. Check the boxes next to your selection, and then click Done.

    Launch the Photos app on your Apple TV.

  4. If you choose Selected folders, in the Folders section, check boxes next to the folders you want to share to your Apple TV.

    iTunes Photo Sharing Preferences select folders

How to Turn Off iTunes Home Sharing

If you no longer want to share your iTunes library with other devices, turning off Home Sharing is simple. In iTunes, select File > Home Sharing > Turn Off Home Sharing.

iTunes File menu with Turn Off Home Sharing selected