How to Set Up & Use Home Sharing in iTunes

iTunes Home Sharing
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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. With so much music under one roof, have you ever thought it would be great to be able to simply share songs between these libraries? I've got good news: There is! It's a feature of iTunes called Home Sharing.

iTunes Home Sharing Explained

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 the music (and watch the TV shows and movies) in someone else's iTunes library or on their iPhones and iPods. 

Home Sharing is good for more than just music and video, though. If you have an Apple TV, it's also the way that you share photos to your Apple TV to enjoy in the living room.

It sounds pretty great, right? If you're convinced, here's what you need to know to set it up.

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.

How to Turn On iTunes Home Sharing on Mac or PC

turn on home sharing in itunes, screenshot

Once you meet all the requirement, follow these steps to enable Home Sharing on your computer:

  1. Click the File menu.
  2. Click Home Sharing.
  3. Click Turn On Home Sharing.
  4. Log in using your Apple ID.
  5. Click Turn On Home Sharing. This will turn on Home Sharing 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.
  6. Repeat these steps for any other computer or device you want to make available via Home Sharing.

Enabling 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.
  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 menu in the top left corner of iTunes (the one with options for Music, TV, and Movies 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 on the View menu and then choose 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 click the other 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 kinds of media—TV Shows, Movies, Audiobooks—from the other computer and stream them by double clicking.

How to Share Photos With Home Sharing

home sharing of photos, screenshot

As mentioned earlier, Home Sharing is one way to get your photos onto your Apple TV for display on the big screen. To choose what photos are sent to your Apple TV, follow these steps:

  1. In iTunes, click File.
  2. Click Home Sharing.
  3. Click Choose Photos to Share with Apple TV.
  4. This opens the Photo Sharing Preferences window. In it, you can choose what photo app you share from, 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.
  5. Launch the Photos app on your Apple TV.

How to Turn Off iTunes Home Sharing

If you no longer want to share your iTunes library with other devices, turn off Home Sharing by following these steps: 

  1. In iTunes, click the File menu.
  2. Click Home Sharing.
  3. Click Turn Off Home Sharing.