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iTunes: How to share music between different user accounts on a single computer

Learn how to share music with different user accounts on a single computer using iTunes. For other users to access your music, you must move the iTunes Media folder to a public location.

Share your music with multiple users on one computer

If you're trying to share music between multiple computers, follow these steps.

If you're using Mac OS X, follow these steps:

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. Go to your iTunes Media folder. By default, it's in ~/Music/iTunes. (This folder may be named iTunes Music if you created your iTunes library in iTunes 9 or earlier.) 
    Note: "~" represents your Home folder. Other users on your computer can't access these locations.
  3. Drag the iTunes Media folder to a public location. For example, you could move it to the Public folder in your Home folder (~/Public) or to a location outside your Home folder that other users can access (/Users/Shared).
    Important: Don't move the iTunes folder, the iTunes library file, or the iTunes library.xml file.
  4. Open iTunes.
  5. Choose iTunes > Preferences.
  6. Click Advanced.
  7. Click the Change button.
  8. In the window that opens, go to your iTunes Media folder.
  9. Click Choose or Open.

If you're using Windows, follow these steps:

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. Locate your iTunes Media folder. (This folder may be named iTunes Music if you created your iTunes library in iTunes 9 or earlier). By default, it's in these locations:
    • Windows XP and Windows 2000: \Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes
    • Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8: \Users\username\Music\iTunes
    • Note: The Windows version of iTunes doesn't copy all the music you add to your iTunes library to your iTunes Media folder. To copy the Music in your library to your iTunes Media Folder (if you have enough hard drive space), choose Consolidate Library from File > Library > Organize.
  3. Drag the iTunes Media folder to a public location. You can use one of these public folders:
    • Windows XP and Windows 2000: \Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\My Music
    • Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8: \Users\Public\Public Music
    • Important: Don't move the iTunes folder, the iTunes library file, or the iTunes library.xml file.
  4. Open iTunes.
  5. Choose Edit > Preferences.
  6. Click Advanced.
  7. Click the Change button.
  8. In the Change Music Folder Location dialog, navigate to your iTunes Media folder.
  9. Click OK.

Repeat these steps for each user that you want to share music with. If multiple users on your computer are storing music in the same public folder, duplicate song files may appear if a user imports music from a CD that another user already imported.

Listen to another user's music

Follow these steps:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Choose iTunes > Preferences.
  3. Click Advanced.
  4. Deselect "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library file."
  5. Click OK.
  6. Choose File > Add to Library.
    Note
    : In Windows, you can choose Add Folder to Library to add a folder of songs.
  7. In the window that opens, go to where the other user's music is saved (the iTunes Media folder in this example).
  8. Click Open.
  9. Repeat these steps for each user that is listening to shared music.

When another user on the computer imports new music from CD, repeat steps 6 through 8 to add the music to your library.

Note: This software may be used to reproduce materials. It is licensed to you only for reproduction of non-copyrighted materials, materials in which you own the copyright, or materials you are authorized or legally permitted to reproduce. If you're uncertain about your right to copy any material, you should contact your legal advisor.

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Nov 20, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Nov 20, 2013
  • Article: HT1203
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