Ask the iTunes Guy: iTunes Store questions

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by Macworld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

[Ask the iTunes Guy is a regular column in which we answer your questions on everything iTunes related. If there’s something you’d like to know, send an email to the iTunes Guy for consideration.]

Among the many questions we’ve received about iTunes, a large number of them are about the iTunes Store. There are questions about iTunes Store accounts, Apple IDs, and using content from more than one account. Here’s a serving of questions and answers about working with the iTunes Store.

Q: My wife and I both have iPads, and both have separate iTunes accounts. It seems that there should be some way for one of us to download a book from the iBookstore to our iPad and then give the other access to that same book without having to pay twice. Is there?

There certainly is. While you sign into the iTunes Store with your own account, you can add content from your wife’s account as well. There are two ways to do so.

You'll see the standard sign-in dialog box the first time you try to sync or play content from another iTunes Store account.

The first is to log in with your wife’s Apple ID and password. You can then download anything in her Purchased list.

The second is to send your wife certain files, such as ebooks. When she tries to sync them (or play music or videos), iTunes will display a dialog box asking her to sign in with your Apple ID and password. In other words, there’s no problem using two iTunes Store accounts on one Mac. Once your wife has signed into your account, this authorizes her Mac as one of the five able to sync your content. She most likely won’t have to do so again.

Q: My daughter has had an iPod touch for a few years, and it has always been connected to my Mac, using my iTunes Store account. She recently got a MacBook Air, and I would like her to have her own iTunes account now so she can sync her iPod with her Mac, not mine. What can I do?

As explained in the previous answer, it’s possible to have content from multiple iTunes Store accounts on one computer, and sync this content to iOS devices. All your daughter needs to do is set up her account, then sign in to download new content. She can continue using the content you bought on your account, as long as you enter your user name and password when iTunes asks for it.

Q: Is there a way for me to change my Apple ID from my old email address to my new account without losing everything that I have bought in Itunes?

Yes, and Apple has a technical document that explains how to do so. You can change your name, and your email address, though Apple says that some or Apple IDs can’t be changed.

When Track Down Purchases runs, it has to examine each item in your library, and this can take a while (especially if you have a large library like I do).

Q: My library includes content (mostly music) purchased from several accounts. Is there a way to create a smart playlist that will sort using these criteria?

There is. Doug Adams’ Track Down Purchases (payment requested) can sort your iTunes content by the name of the user who purchased it, or by the account that was used. This creates regular playlists, but you can then use these playlists as conditions in a smart playlist. As Doug warns on his website, this script can take a while to run, so if you have a large library, launch it then go make a cup of tea.

Q: I live in Canada and use the Canadian iTunes Store. However, there is a documentary I would like to see which is only available on the USA iTunes Store. Can I still download the movie from the USA store?

The iTunes Store is available in more than 100 countries, but Apple generally limits you to one.

As you’ve pointed out, not all types of content are available in every country, and specific items—albums, movies, and so on—may be available in some countries and not others because of copyright or licensing issues.

Apple’s terms restrict you to the store that serves the country in which you live (even for free downloads). However, if you have an address, and—more importantly—a credit card in a different country, you can create an account in that country’s iTunes Store. In this case, you could purchase content from that store.

There are some other ways to do this (such as using gift cards) and I’ll recommend checking on Google to see how. But be very careful of people selling iTunes gift cards on eBay and the like; some of these are scammers.

Q: I have an iTunes account at home and one at work. They have separate Apple IDs and email addresses. I sync an iPad with the account at work. I would like to be able to sync with my machine at home instead of work, but I am afraid I will lose all of my app and music purchases when I do so. Is there any way of transferring those purchases to another iTunes Store account?

As explained earlier, you can use content from multiple accounts on one Mac. You can’t, however, consolidate Apple IDs. A lot of users would love to see Apple allow such a move, as it would greatly simplify things for people like you or for families, but that’s not the case right now.

[Senior contributor Kirk McElhearn writes about Macs, music, and more on his blog Kirkville. Twitter: @mcelhearn Kirk is the author of Take Control of iTunes 10: The FAQ.]

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
At a Glance
Shop Tech Products at Amazon