How to use multiple iPhone, iPad, or iPod devices with one computer

Do you want to use more than one iPhone, iPad, or iPod with the same computer? You can. In fact, there are a few ways you can do it.

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Create multiple user accounts

Do you share your computer with someone who has different tastes in music and media? You can create separate user accounts for each person who uses the computer. You can maintain separate, personalized iTunes libraries and customize each devices' sync settings accordingly.

Mac OS X users

Windows users

Look in your computer's Help documentation to learn how to set up other user accounts. To find this information:

  1. Click the Start Menu and click Help or Help and Support.
  2. Enter "new user" in the Search field.
  3. Press Return.

If you create multiple user accounts on one computer but want the same media to be available in iTunes for all users, you can share music between different accounts on a single computer.

Sync devices to playlists

You may use multiple devices on a computer without creating multiple user accounts. To do this, you can set iTunes to update each device with only certain playlists. This method allows you to put all your music on, for example, your iPod and keep your iPod shuffle updated with only your workout music. Here's how to do this with iTunes:

  1. Create new iTunes playlists on Mac and Windows that contain all the music you want to sync to each device.
  2. Sync your device.

Note: iTunes for Windows does not support syncing multiple iPod devices at the same time.

Create a separate iTunes library

Create a separate iTunes library for each device. Note: It is important that you make a new iTunes library file. Do not just make a copy of your existing iTunes library file. If iTunes is open, quit it.

  1. Mac users: Hold down the Option key while you open iTunes.
    Windows users: Hold down the Shift key while you open iTunes.
  2. In the dialog that appears, click Create Library.
  3. Name and save the alternate library file. iTunes opens with your new library file.
  4. Open iTunes Preferences. Choose iTunes > Preferences (Mac) or Edit > Preferences (Windows).
  5. Click the Advanced tab.
  6. Deselect the "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" checkbox if it is already selected and click OK. This will prevent iTunes from creating duplicates of your existing media files in the new library folder.
  7. Add the specific media files you want on your device to iTunes either by dragging them into iTunes or choosing File > Add to Library (Mac) or File > Add File to Library or Add Folder to Library (Windows).
  8. After you organize the iTunes library, connect and sync your device.
  9. After the sync is complete, quit iTunes.
  10. Mac users: Hold down the Option key while you open iTunes.
    Windows users: Hold down the Shift key while you open iTunes.
  11. Click Choose library.
  12. Choose your original iTunes library and click Choose (Mac Users) or Open (Windows Users). You can now switch between the different libraries for different devices.


Learn more

You can use the above information to sync music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and other media content. You can also sync contacts and calendars to iPod or to iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

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