How to Use iTunes Sharing

Share your iTunes music library on a local network

iTunes logo on iPhone with headphones, depicting sharing your iTunes music library
Chesnot / Getty Images

iTunes is a full-featured media player with powerful tools for managing your music library. One great feature is the ability to share your iTunes library with others on your local network and listen to any available shared libraries. Here's how to set up iTunes sharing on a local network.

Instructions in this article apply to desktop versions of iTunes for Mac and Windows. Make sure you update iTunes to the latest version.

About iTunes Sharing

iTunes sharing is great for offices, dorms, or homes with multiple computers. Designate up to five computers on a local network (such as a home Wi-Fi network) to share their iTunes libraries with each other.

If a shared computer is turned on and iTunes is open, you can play that computer’s shared items on other computers in the network, but you can’t import the shared items into their libraries. If you want to import items from iTunes libraries on other computers in your home network, turn on Home Sharing.

You can’t share QuickTime sound files or programs purchased from Audible.com.

How to Turn On iTunes Sharing

To enable the iTunes sharing feature:

  1. Open the iTunes Preferences by selecting iTunes > Preferences from the menu bar on a Mac or Edit > Preferences on a PC.

    Open the iTunes Preferences by selecting iTunes > Preferences from the menu bar on a Mac or Edit > Preferences on a PC.
  2. Select the Sharing tab in the Preferences window, then check the box next to Share my library on my local network

    Select the Sharing tab in the Preferences window, then check the box next to Share my library on my local network.
  3. Select Share entire library, or select Share selected playlists, and then check the boxes in front of each type of content you want to share. Select OK when you’re done.

    To limit who can listen to your iTunes, check the box in front of Require password and enter a password.

    Select Share entire library, or select Share selected playlists and then check the boxes in front of each type of content you want to share.
  4. You've now shared your iTunes library.

How to Find and Use Shared iTunes Libraries

Any shared iTunes libraries that you can access appear in the left sidebar of your iTunes library along with your own music and playlists. Select a shared library to browse it as if it were your own.

If the iTunes library sidebar is not visible, select ViewShow Sidebar.

Change Firewall Settings to Allow iTunes Sharing

An active firewall may prevent iTunes sharing on your network. Here's how to work around this.

Mac Firewall

If you use the default Mac Firewall, changing a setting will allow iTunes sharing:

  1. Go to the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and choose System Preferences.

    Location for Apple System Preferences
  2. Select Security & Privacy.

    System Preferences screen on a Mac
  3. Select the Firewall tab. If the Firewall is turned off, you don't need to do anything. If the Firewall is turned on, select the lock at the bottom of the window, enter your admin password, then select Firewall Options.

    Firewall tab in Mac System Preferences
  4. Select iTunes in the list, toggle it to Allow incoming connections, and then select OK to save the change.

    Advanced Firewall options in System Preferences on a Mac
  5. iTunes sharing is now allowed.

Windows Firewall

There are dozens of firewalls available for Windows. Consult the instructions for yours to create an exception for iTunes. If you are using the default Windows Defender firewall for Windows 10:

  1. Type firewall in the Windows search bar and select Windows Defender Firewall.

    Type firewall in the Windows search bar and select Windows Defender Firewall.
  2. Select Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall in the left menu.

    Select Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall in the left menu.
  3. Select Change settings.

    Select Change Settings.
  4. Scroll down the list of apps and check the box next to iTunes, then check the Private and Public boxes to the right. Select OK to save the change.

    If iTunes is not listed, select Allow another app and select iTunes in Windows File Explorer.

    Scroll down the list of apps and check the box next to iTunes, then check the Private and Public boxes to the right.
  5. iTunes sharing is now allowed.