13 Replies Latest reply: May 31, 2015 7:21 AM by danizaz
redskylux Level 1 (0 points)

I have 2 different user accounts on my MacBook Air. Both users have their own iTunes Library with their own AppleID.


Is my understanding correct that it is not possible to use both accounts independently as only one Apple ID can "use" the Mac at a time ?

Furthermore, if user A has its Apple ID associated to the Mac, user B is unable to use iTunes Match on the same Mac for it's account (at least not for another 90 days) ?


Thx in advance for any solution allowing user A and B to share one Mac (including iTunes) as if it was two physically seperate computers. The goal for me would be to have 1 Mac used by 2 users (each one having it's own account) with 2 Apple IDs (ID 1 for user A - ID 2 for user B).

OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • mende1 Level 10 (92,186 points)

    Welcome to the Apple Support Communities


    You can use more than one Apple ID on a Mac, but you can't use the things purchased on one Apple ID on the another account with the other Apple ID. If you have iTunes Match on an user, you won't be able to use this on the other Apple ID

  • redskylux Level 1 (0 points)

    I am not sure about your answer. Actually, here is what i did:


    a) set-up OS X user account A. Opened iTunes and everything related to Apple ID 1. iTunes match worked with no problem.

    b) set-up OS X user account B. Opened iTunes and Apple ID 2. Here I got a message notifying me that I had to tranfer Apple IDs. I said yes in order to allow downloads for user B with his Apple ID 2 (not a very good idea for user A with Apple ID 1 I guess).

    c) I returned to user account A, opened iTunes again and now I get the error message that iTunes is already linked to another Apple ID (I suppose now ID 2) and that I am only able to switch again in 90 days (I suppose back to 1 oder anything else) -> iTunes Match is as such no longer working for user A and his Apple ID 1.

  • Krunkle Level 1 (0 points)

    I have been trying to figure this exact issue out also.  It seems far easier to share/import content with iTunes using Home Sharing when multiple computers are involved.  I have tried a work around for a single computer by placing the media in a shared folder while keeping the iTunes library folders in the original locations.  This prevents each other's library preferences clobbering another user's.  However, this workaround of having a single shared media library has it's own draw backs and I found it to be more hassle than it's worth.  I have also encountered the issue of not being able to have multiple iTunes sessions open at once on one computer, hoping that one account (user A) could view the other account's (user B) iTunes library using Home Sharing and therefore share/import content between libraries.

    To date, I still have not found a solution that is as clean as using Home Sharing on multiple computers on the same LAN.  I have also encountered the 90 day issue like yourself using a single computer.  You would think that sharing/importing content between two Apple ID's on a single Mac wouldn't be so complex but in my experience thus far, it is.  I really don't want to have to purchase another computer for this, especially after I have come full circle and reduced the number of computers in my home back down to one (thanks to iPad's).

  • Michael McIntyre Level 1 (10 points)

    My understanding is that only one user can use iTunes Match at a time on the same computer.


    So if you have two OS X accounts set up on your Mac each with their own associated iTunes account (Apple ID), only one of those users can have iTunes Match on at any given time.


    This is also an issue with trying to use Automtaic Downloads in iTunes.


    There's some more details here:



  • Kevin Mitchell Level 1 (5 points)

    Any luck in progressing a solution since November? This is what I am struggling with as well at the moment. I am looking to move to this management of multi-devices via 1 computer with simplicity and flexibility for the future.


    me: 1 iPhone 4s, 1 iPad 2, 1 iMac

    wife: 1 iPhone 5, 1 iPad mini, 1 MacBook


    The MacBook is too old and doesn't support latest iTunes and hence her iPhone 5. So we wanted to move all content to my iMac as the digital hub for our Apple universe. What we want:


    1) Separate playlists/content controlled via iTunes accounts (e.g., I synch everything in my iTunes now to my devices; I don't want my wife's content mixed in if we move all music to my Mac) - Accomplished via separate iMac accounts

    2) Ability to share past and future purchases (music, apps, videos) between as we do today with Home Sharing - I don't see a way to accomplish this

    3) Ability to buy whatever we want via device or iMac iTunes for our own devices without impacting the others -

    I think this can be done via #1

    3) Ability to add children accounts with separate AppleIDs and content from our libraries of our choosing (not full access) - I don't see a way to accomplish this

    4) Elimination of duplicated media (i.e., not having 2 files for a song, but 1 even if its in 2 iTunes accounts) - I don't see a way to accomplish this

  • acolyte_x Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello Kevin and redskylux-


    Just wanted to add another post and try to gain some group traction: Apple support has lately been refering users to "check the Apple forums" for solutions. As such, I am hoping Apple management will be parsing and reading these forums for suggestions on improvement and current issues with their products.


    From the perspective of system administration and isolating financial responsibility to individual user accounts, the process Apple employs to limit future transfers, even to separate user accounts, on the same machine for 90 days is simply draconian. A server operating system is dedicated to the idea that multiple user accounts are supported on a single physical machine. Apple's current methods would severly retard the abilities for mutliple users to make use of the same machine for using iTunes and related content. For example, user A is allowed to log in to a machine and make use of iPhoto, MS Excel (under Office for Mac), and many other programs while user B is also using an account, via VNC or other remote desktop product from an iPad or a different location off site. That's the whole point: multiple users to the same machine to co-utilize resources.


    The iTunes account scenario and a 90 day wait between transfers is a seriously ridiculous constraint. How about every Apple employee who uses a piece of software on an Apple server, must first check to see if any other Apple employee has used the desired software within the previous 90 days? If so, user A must wait until user B has not used the software within the previous 90 days. Sound like a terrible situation? It is!


    Come on Apple, surely you can devise a better method.


    Separate Mac OS X user accounts, each with separate Apple ID's must have independent access to the materials associated with individual user accounts on the SAME Mac OS device. The above process, at the least, would allow a local backup of iTunes content to a single machine. Having all content backed up to a single machine supports the opportunity for keeping an organized localy controlled backup.


    Perhaps the solution will be to create multiple copies of virtual machines on the Mac OS X device and then each user can (with a virtual MAC address) have their own Apple iTunes account on the same machine, without having to sit and wait 90 days for Apple to release the lock?


    Hope you find a solution: I am planning to test out the VM solution (real Mac OS X which contains multiple VM Mac OS X machines)

  • ImBacToMac Level 1 (0 points)

    Just got a new mac mini and love it. I was checking into how I might get my daughter her own Apple ID (just got her an iPad mini) and if she can still get music/apps/etc from our library.  I came across this thread and learned what I needed. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    About your comment, thought I'd offer 2cents. The difference between iTunes and other apps is you are playing copyrighted content. It is not at all like other apps where you are creating your own content - the music/movies/books are single user licensed. It is actually pretty cool that they let you play them on up to 5 devices, but allowing any Apple ID to access them would bust it wide open to mass piracy. That's my best guess as to why Apple has to be "draconian" about this.

  • lukeferrari Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm not sure if this answers any questions, but my experience is as follows:


    My wife and I each had an apple ID before we got together (A&B). Then we bought an all-dancing, all-singing iMac and created a joint apple ID (C). We dumped all of our music onto the iMac and authorised ID C to both A&B's music, including past purchases.


    We each have our respective iPhones & iPads, which are still linked to IDs A&B, so that the apps we purchase are our own, but the music is shared.


    We try avoid the star-rating, but instead manually sync playlists from iTunes to make up the music on our iDevices. Only occasionally do we encounter problems, that are usually resolved with authorisation of certain songs/videos.


    Note that we have had to "reverse authorise" media purchased on ID C, in order to play it on devices originally linked to IDs A&B. I hope that's helped, but if anyone can see a way of improving that, let me know.

  • Apoq Level 1 (0 points)

    Ferrari Luke,

    I have a few questions, if you please:


    1. Are you able to share the apps as well? or do you have to buy them twice (once for Apple ID A and once for Apple ID B)

    2. Why do you avoid star rating?

    3. If you buy something new, do you:

    -always buy it on the computer, while logged into Apple ID C


    -buy it on an iDevice, then transfer purchases once you plug it in to the computer.


    3a.  Regardless of the answer to the above question, once something new is purchased, how are the other account libraries updated to include the new material?

    (i.e. do you buy something on ID C then login to A and drag the song from the saved folder in Finder into its library then log into B and drag it into its library?)


    4. I guess what i'm trying to figure out is, since you are already sharing music, and all the accounts are authorized to one another, why not just link all your devices to account C, and work solely off Apple ID C? Each device has unique settings so your apps and layouts and songs etc. on your iPad won't reflect that of your wife's unless you make a concious effor to do so.


    That way you should be able to:

    -share and only have to buy all purchased media once (movies, music, apps)

    -never have to log in and out of different Apple ID's on itunes again


    -it seems the only hassle would be to rebuild playlists


    this article really helped sift it out as well: http://gigaom.com/2012/05/26/how-many-apple-ids-should-your-family-have/




  • lukeferrari Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the questions Apoq, I'll try to answer them in turn:


    1. We're currently using a lot of the apps we purchased previously (on IDs A&B) & so far, syncing hasn't caused any issues. I have to point out that those apps we use regularly (like iGas Log) store data on the iDevice, so don't pose a problem with ID A data syncing to the iMac & then to ID B. all those purchased on ID C are synced to all iDevices.


    2. Star rating is avoided, as that DOES sync with all devices. To take it further, if I liked song 1 & 2, but my wife only liked song 3, the iMac would initially sync both, so that both ID A & B would like all songs 1-3. Then you would find yourself un-rating your wife's favourite songs... Not good.


    3. The ID on my iPhone is still ID A, thus all purchases are for that ID, but because I've authorised the iMac, they sync to the iMac in addition to those purchases made on the iMac itself (ID C). If I want an app that i know my wife doesn't want (often happens with games), then ill buy it on the iDevice. The iMac has a compilation of A, B & C purchases. Ordinarily I purchase all music on C, but I have switched the apple ID (to A in my case) & made purchases in iTunes that work seamlessly. 


    3a. There's absolutely NO dragging & dropping/moving between libraries beyond the initial move to the iMac. A way of looking at it is at IDs A&B are old or historical libraries that have been assimilated into the current library (C). Because of authorisation, C can access historical stuff from A&B. we effectively both run ID C.


    4. Great question. I would love to have done that. This is a question for which I would have to direct you to my wife. For whatever reason (that I'm not entirely clear on), she wanted to keep her iDevices "hers". However, as you say above, our set up is effectively iDevices synced to ID C (just don't tell my wife).


    Yes, you will always have to rebuild playlists with a new ID.


    I hope that helps.

  • lukeferrari Level 1 (0 points)

    PS. Separate IDs also allows for separate contacts list.

  • psilunary Level 1 (0 points)

    This seems to work pretty well in our household.


    We have a family pack (5 IDs) in the old MobilMe system.

    We used one as the family ID, we will call it ID A.  On ID A we buy all Apple Store items.

    My husband has an ID - ID B, I have and ID, ID C.


    When I am logged in, I log into the Apple store and iTune usng ID A.

    When my husband is logged in he logs into iTuens and App Store with ID A.


    We can share all our items and if either of us want subsets on our iPad, ipod or phone devices we create playlists.

  • danizaz Level 1 (0 points)

    This issue is driving me crazy, my partner and i both have user accounts and don't wish to combine our iTunes accounts, we just each want to be able to purchase iTunes items whenever we want to rather than taking it in turns every 90 days! Even if i buy something on my iPhone or iPad it wont allow me to add it to my iTunes library on the iMac until his 90 days are up.... its so frustrating and i hope they change it soon!!