How to Use iTunes Sharing

Share your iTunes music library on a local network

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 the iTunes libraries on those devices.

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. However, you can't import the shared items into the libraries on other computers. 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.

    iTunes with the Preferences menu option highlighted
  2. In the Preferences window, select the Sharing tab.

    iTunes preferences with the Sharing tab highlighted
  3. Select the Share my library on my local network check box.

    iTunes Sharing preferences with the Share Library check box highlighted
  4. Select Share entire library or select Share selected playlists.

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

    iTunes sharing preferences with the Share Entire Library and Share Selected Playlists options highlighted
  5. If you only want to share part of your library, select the check boxes for each type of content you want to share.

    iTunes Sharing preferences with the sharing selections highlighted
  6. Select OK when you're done.

    iTunes sharing preferences with the OK button highlighted
  7. 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 music and playlists. Select a shared library to browse it as if it was on your computer.

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, change a setting to allow iTunes sharing:

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

    The macOS Finder with the System Preferences command highlighted
  2. Select Security & Privacy.

    Mac System Preferences with the Security & Privacy option highlighted
  3. Select the Firewall tab.

    macOS Security & Privacy preferences with the Firewall tab highlighted
  4. 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, then enter your admin password.

    The macOS Security & Privacy preferences with the lock button highlighted
  5. Select Firewall Options.

    macOS Security & Privacy preferences with the Firewall Options button highlighted
  6. Select iTunes in the list and toggle it to Allow incoming connections using the arrows on the right of the line.

    Firewall settings in macOS with the toggle arrows highlighted
  7. Select OK to save the change.

    macOS Firewall settings with the OK button highlighted
  8. iTunes sharing is now allowed.

Windows Firewall

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

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

    Windows with the Windows Defender Firewall program highlighted
  2. Select Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall in the left menu.

    Windows Defender Firewall with the Allow an app or feature option highlighted
  3. Select Change settings.

    Windows Defender with the Change Settings button highlighted
  4. Scroll down the list of apps and select the iTunes check box, then select the Private and Public check 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.

    List of applications in window Allow apps to communicate through Windows Defender Firewall
  5. iTunes sharing is now allowed.