iTunes wants to delete all my apps!
September 21, 2010 7:42 AM   Subscribe

I just plugged my work-provided iPad in to my office computer, and it's saying if I don't authorize this computer all the apps (that I paid for) will be deleted; but then it says 5 computers are already authorized so I can't! Please help.

The dialog box says:
This computer is no longer authorized for applications that are installed on the iPad "[name of ipad]". Would you like to authorize this computer for items purchased from the iTunes store?
If you do not authorize this computer, 15 applications and their data will be deleted from the iPad.
The options to click are Authorize, Don't Authorize, and Cancel.

When I click on "Authorize," it brings up the log in screen. When I log in, it says
You cannot authorize more than 5 computers with this account. To authorize this computer you must first deauthorize one of the other computers.
The only option is to click OK, which brings me back to the previous dialog box.

I will never understand how iTunes works, and will admit I may have brought this on myself by plugging many of my iTunes devices (iPod, iPhone, now iPad) into both work and home computers.

But I'm pretty sure I have only ever plugged this iPad into this work computer - this is the computer that I initially plugged it into when I received it. If it's relevant, it is a used iPad but was completely restored before it was given to me.

I have used my iTunes sign-in on a bunch of computers - at least three computers at home (all various flavors of OSX), plus my office desktop (Windows), which has been replaced twice in my 6 years in this office.

So iTunes wants me to deauthorize a computer, but I don't have access to my old work computers, which have long ago been wiped clean and given away or donated. The iPad screen currently says "Sync in Progress" and I'm scared to unplug it, but I can't get out of the cycle of "you must authorize or lose everything" -> "you can't authorize" dialog boxes for fear of losing $50 worth of apps for good.
posted by misskaz to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can deauthorize all your computers and then transferyour purchases to your work iTunes. Then you can erase and sync because you'll have a backup.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:48 AM on September 21, 2010

elisetheeel, thanks! But I'm stuck in this cycle of dialog boxes and not sure how to get out of it so I can get to the right iTunes menu. If I choose "Cancel" on the first dialog box, will it cancel the sync, thus freeing me, or does iTunes consider that not authorizing and will delete my apps as punishment?
posted by misskaz at 7:50 AM on September 21, 2010

You can de-authorize all 5 computers at once and then re-authorize them as you use them. Note that you can only do deauthorize all computers in a single click only once a year.

If you still have the cancel button just hit that, otherwise I'd unplug it. You can download the apps again for free, so it's no lost there.
posted by nomadicink at 7:51 AM on September 21, 2010

iTunes shouldn't delete the apps, it just won't let you sync with your work computer.
posted by nomadicink at 7:51 AM on September 21, 2010

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