I am she as she is me as you are me and we are all together
October 6, 2010 5:35 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to merge two iTunes accounts into one?

My wife and I each have our own iTunes accounts that we created before we got married. Now we'd like to combine them, so I can authorize my computer to play her purchased music and vice versa. Is there any way to do this?

When I got a new phone I gave her my old iPhone to use as a media player. I wiped all my audio and video off it first so she could sync her files... but I left a number of apps that she wanted to use. She can't sync the apps onto her computer because they are associated with my account. This means that she can't update the apps or install new ones through iTunes; it also means that she can't update iOS itself, because apparently that will erase the contents of the iPhone, then attempt to restore everything by syncing (but since the apps aren't on her computer, they'll be lost). We'd like to find a way around these obstacles, without repurchasing anything either of us has already bought. Can it be done?

We both use Macs, if it makes a difference.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis to Technology (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
From what I can tell, it's not possible to merge both accounts. But you can authorize each computer to read music from both computers. You could copy your iTunes library onto both computers and authorize each other's libraries.

Apple discussion link
posted by sinak at 7:06 AM on October 6, 2010

Response by poster: I guess that might work as a compromise. In that case I have two other questions...

Can I de-authorize a computer? I have a couple old (dead) machines on my list and not many slots left for new ones.

How do we transfer the apps from the iPhone into iTunes on my wife's computer? When I try to enable app syncing, it tells me that the all the apps on the device will be replaced with whatever apps are on the computer (there aren't any). So she'll lose everything.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:11 AM on October 6, 2010

Can I de-authorize a computer? I have a couple old (dead) machines on my list and not many slots left for new ones.
Open iTunes, go to the iTunes Store, sign in with your account. Then, click your user name in the upper-right corner of the iTunes window. This will bring up your account info. There's a "Deauthorize All" option there. After you do it, you'll have to reauthorize the devices you do want to use.

Optionally, in the Store menu, there's a Deauthorize this Computer option that will deauthorize the single PC you're sitting at.
posted by BurntHombre at 7:27 AM on October 6, 2010

Note that you can only use "deauthorize all" once per year. You may be able to call Apple and get an exception to that, but that's the default rule enforced by the web interface to that function.
posted by chazlarson at 10:03 AM on October 6, 2010

iTunes Home Sharing will work. You can authorize both computers to use both accounts, then set both to auto-copy any items (music, apps, etc.) that are not already present when syncing. Before doing this, I manually copied everything between my computer and my wife's using a sync utility. After doing this (prompted by us each getting iPhones and not wanting to overwrite each other's address books when syncing) iTunes will just copy the updated bits. Any music I add, purchased via iTunes or imported from CD/file, ends up in my wife's library. Any apps I buy end up in her library. Same goes for her - if she buys an app, it will end up in my library (which I discovered when a period tracker program found it's way onto my phone...)

You don't need to deauthorize every computer unless you can't add any new ones. Pretty sure the "deauthorize all" option is really only available if you are at your limit for authorizing anyway. But I know I did it at one point, because I had wiped and recycled two computers without deauthorizing them, and trying to then authorize two laptops and a Mini gave me the "you have hit your limit" warning, at which point I deauthorized all and reauthorized the three computers I still access.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:08 AM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh: To make Home Sharing work after everything is set up, open iTunes on both computers, look for shared libraries (hers/yours) from your/her computer and connect to it. It won't sync unless you are connected. Eject the shared library when done, or iTunes will complain when you quit "(User) is connected to your library. Quit anyway?" or something like that.

It will not sync unless iTunes is open on both computers. Bit of a pain, but not too bad.

You do get the benefit of half-price apps though (one purchase, you both get it) but beware - upgrading from free to paid app in the app, on your phone, will not upgrade both. You get the upgrade, she is stuck with free, and iTunes will only see the app as the free version. If you want to go to the paid version, do it through ITMS on your computer. I learned this the ($.99) hard way (ooh snap I wasted a dollar!).

Buying a full app from the App Store on your phone (initial purchase, not upgrade) will sync just fine - it's only in-app purchases that won't transfer. For example, Hipstamatic is on both phones, but she didn't get the add-on packs because I bought them in-app, on the phone. No transfer. Again, a dollar. But I tell you so you don't make this mistake on a higher-priced app!
posted by caution live frogs at 10:15 AM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't have the apps on my computer anymore either. They only exist on the iPhone. Is there any way to copy them from the phone to my wife's computer?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:35 AM on October 6, 2010

TWPL, you should be able to re-download purchased apps for free from iTunes using the same account you bought them with. You just "buy" them again; iTunes tells you you already own it and asks if you want to download again. I've recovered apps this way in the past when I've had real problems with an app and deleted them from my phone. (Words with Friends, I'm looking at you.)
posted by immlass at 10:50 AM on October 6, 2010

Response by poster: I realize that but it's a last resort. We'd rather not lose app data that's on the phone right now. There are a bunch of ebooks in Stanza, cities saved in SimCity, high scores for various other games, etc.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:54 AM on October 6, 2010

Best answer: You should be able to authorize her computer with your account (Store --> Authorize Computer). When she syncs, the apps should sync as well, because the computer is authorized with the same account that purchased the apps.

Worst case scenario, you'll need to sync the phone to your computer first to get a backup of the apps, then turn on Home Sharing, get everything copied over to hers, and try syncing with her computer and see if it works.

For this to happen, she needs your iTunes account password. If my wife tries to update apps I bought on her phone, it asks for my password. If she updates her own purchased apps, we need to feed it her password. On the phone this is easy, as it brings up the account name automatically; in iTunes, we need to sign in as that user prior to updating.

As far as I know, you can authorize a single computer with as many different user accounts as you want. All of our computers are each authorized with all of our accounts.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:20 AM on October 6, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the help! We'll try this. :-)
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:04 PM on October 6, 2010

Jailbreaking the phone will allow you to back up and restore those ancillary app data files, in case you do need to eventually use the nuclear option and redownload the apps.
posted by chazlarson at 8:34 AM on October 7, 2010

« Older Where do I Host a remote windows workstation ?   |   Rush Push Lush Bush Hush Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.