In a world that increasingly revolves around digital content and mobile devices, you may find yourself needing to shuffle iTunes authorizations between computers. This is especially true if you’re selling or otherwise disposing of an old PC, or if you simply need to clear up some space on your computer for new media. While you can always deauthorize a specific computer, it’s often easier to shuffle every computer associated with your Apple ID at once by using the Account section of the iTunes Store.
The term “authorized” in iTunes refers to the number of Windows, Mac OS or iOS devices you can associate with your Apple ID for iTunes and Apple Music downloads and streaming. You’re limited to five associated devices per Apple ID, and a maximum of 10 authorized computers total per account.
To associate a device with your Apple ID, simply start playing protected content on the device you want to use and enter your Apple ID password when prompted. After this, the device will appear in the list of associated devices in the Account menu at the top of iTunes. You can also see a list of all associated devices in the Apple ID Summary page on an iPhone or iPad, and in the iTunes in the Cloud section on a Mac or Windows PC.
There are a few ways you can check whether your computers are currently authorized to play iTunes content, including signing in to your iTunes account on any computer, and looking at the Computer Authorizations section of the Account menu. You can also use the Apple ID Settings app to view your computer authorizations, and you can change the number of computers allowed to access your content by clicking the Limits tab.
Although it’s important to keep in mind that deauthorizing a computer does not remove your iTunes content from the machine, you can reset the number of authorized machines by following these steps: Launch iTunes and sign in with your Apple ID. Click the Account menu at the top of the screen and select “Deauthorize This Computer.” Then, restart your computer and launch iTunes again.
If you’re not seeing a Computer Authorizations section in the Account menu or on the Apple ID Settings app, it’s possible that you’ve reached the max number of allowed authorized devices for your Apple ID. You can reset this limit by deauthorizing all of your computers once a year.
While you can deauthorize a computer at any time, it’s best to do so before you sell or give away an older computer. It’s also a good idea to deauthorize any computers before sending them in for repair or upgrading their hardware. This will prevent someone else from accidentally gaining access to your digital media and buying or stealing your content. Thankfully, the process for deauthorizing a computer is quick and simple. If you’re not sure why your computer won’t play iTunes content, try retrying the content or resetting your password.