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Syncing devices to multiple iTunes accounts on multiple computers.

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by Philippe, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. Philippe
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    Philippe iPF Novice

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    ((NOTE: I tried to post this question on the official Apple discussion forum but I haven't gotten any response... maybe I made the question too long, I don't know. I'm hoping I can find some more help here. Also if this is in the wrong section please forgive my ignorance and move it to the correct one. I'll admit I'm a bit of a noob to this forum.))


    I have 3 computers in my house, 2 belong to my sister, 1 is mine. Mine is very old and failing so I am probably going to get a new one. Before I do that I would like to preform a complete system restore, I hear that sometimes helps fix the bugs computers accumulate as they age. The problem is I've never done this before and I worry that I might loose valuable information. I keep everything I own on a 500GB external harddrive, so the only things that are really at risk are my Google Chrome bookmarks and my iTunes Library. Everything else I can just recover from the E-HD, but those two... I am still not sure how I can back them up. For this thread I will focus specifically on my iTunes Library though, and leave the Chrome dilema for another day (and another discussion forum).

    I figured that if my old comp does go belly up I could always sync my stuff to one of my sister's computers. She mainly uses her laptop and she has told me I could use her tower to sync my iPod Touch and my iPad if I need to. I would be able to use her tower at least until I get myself a new one.

    I've found several guides on how to backup the iTunes Library and metadata, and I have tried to do so. I transfer my songs and the backed up library onto a flash drive and then plug them into the new computer (my sister's comp). I drag and drop it onto the desktop, and then plug in the Touch. Oh yea, I feel I should mention something here, I'm going to try and preform a transfer of the iTouche's data first, then continue with my iPad depending on how that goes. My iPad has become my agenda, I use it for everything. And accidentally loosing all my contact/agenda info because of a botched attempt at backing up it's library is NOT an option.

    So yea... I try first with the touch.
    All the files are there, but when I logged into iTunes he still asked me "You need to reset this device to it's factory parameters before you can sync into this computer." Basically he needs to nuke everything on it so I can't be synced on two computers at once...

    I declined the sync and tried to load up the Library I had brought over from my old comp. Problem is... he doesn't offer any option of importing a Library, in the usual spot there's only an option for exporting. Which is idiotic because this iTunes has nothing in it, it's a blank slate.

    Then I tried something else, not sure what prompted it, I went on the iTunes store and downloaded a free App. And he was able to put it on the Touch... he asked me for my iTunes account info and password, and then he seemed to indicate my Touch was synced on both computers (and that I had a total of 5 computers I could sync to). The Library still hadn't transfered, since the iTunes on this comp still had no songs, but my Touch still had all 250 songs. So it didn't get wiped...


    Basically my question is this. Can my devices (a 2G iPod Touch and a WiFi only 64GB iPad) be synced up to multiple computers, with my main library placed on each of these computers.

    And if so, can these Libraries be continually updated with regards to one another through the internet (or at least through my home network). By this I mean, if I make a purchase on one of them, will the other Libraries be updated and get this purchase.
  2. klemme
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    klemme iPF Noob

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    Maybe MediaRover can do what you want?

    Regards,
    Klemme
  3. Philippe
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    Philippe iPF Novice

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    Is that some sort of iTunes alternative? Would it cover the calender and contacts metadata?
  4. RussW
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    RussW iPF Novice

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    While I am new to this (only had an iPad for about 2 weeks now); the short answer is YES you can sync to more than one computer while keeping all of your apps on both computers and on your device. Here is what I have and how I am doing it:

    I'm pretty sure I'm running the latest version of iTunes (Version 10.0.1.22). If you have an earlier version you might need to update it first if you can't see the menu picks I describe below.

    In iTunes, open the Advanced menu, and select "Turn on Home Sharing". (You can do this on up to 5 computers in your posession. This allows iTunes purchases to be mirrored on multiple host computers.)
    Enter your iTunes account information when prompted.
    Turn off auto-sync in the preferences menu (so iTunes does not try and sync it's content onto your iPad).

    Back-up your i-Pad on it's main computer by selecting "Transfer purchases From" in the File menu.

    Now go to the new computer that you want to put your purchases on to and select "Transfer Purchases From" on it; and it will upload the files to the second computer. You now have purchase archives stored on 2 computers; so if the first computer crashes you will have purchases stored as a backup to your iPad(s) on a second computer.

    If you tried to do this with a USB flash drive or backup drive; I would erase those files before you do the procedure I outlined above.

    You can sync multiple devices to the same purchases; most iTunes purchases do not track the number of devices that they were placed on (so far I have only run into one game -GravityHD- that blocked the full purchased version from working on 2 devices).
  5. RussW
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    RussW iPF Novice

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    I don't think so. So far I have had to update each PC with the iPad purchases separately via the USB link. But I don't have home networking turned on so there is an outside chance that iTunes could sync the two computers if I had a Windows network operational. I don't see a setting for this in iTunes (to turn it off) so it make me think that this capability does not exist (yet).


    BTW: I am not using multiple accounts; just one iTunes account. I don't see why you can't have more than one account on a single computer, but I don't know how iTunes would handle that. If it were me I would create a second account in Windows or OS X so that your username is associated with a separate set of iTunes files which would be in your own user directory, not overlapping your sister's.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  6. Philippe
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    Philippe iPF Novice

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    I created my own account on the Big Mac, it seems to create it as a different computer to what my sister has been using so far. I can't see her iTunes, nor any of her other programs, and she can't see my iTunes.

    The main worry I have with all this is that if I try and set up purchases on the Mac it will lock out my PC. I attempted this in the past, and not only did it lock out the PC, it wiped the iPad clean, so I lost all my metadata and had to wipe it again to sync it back to my PC.
  7. RussW
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    RussW iPF Novice

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    Did you turn Home Sharing "ON" before doing this? Also; did you transfer purchases from the iPad to the host computer before running any sync commands? I have heard that there can be pitfalls if you don't do these things; so maybe it is just a matter of not using the 'upload' command before doing a sync?

    I have two PC's and two iPads and between them they have synced separately to both laptops under a single iTunes acount. They have maintained separate metadata while sharing the apps and not losing anything when uploading/downloading apps from iTunes. I only have apps on them so far; no music, videos or documents so I can't comment on this but it seems that iTunes is recognizing that there are two distinct devices and that the apps are available to be utilized on both, separately.
  8. Philippe
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    Philippe iPF Novice

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    (I'd fogrgotten about this forum, lol.)

    No, I don't believe I turned home sharing on, but I believe it's irrelevant now...

    My old computer went belly up, for all intents and purposes. I turn it on and it preforms a reboot every 1 to 10 minutes, making any task virtually impossible on the damn thing. On top of all that my financial situation has taken a turn for the worse, so I will not be buying myself a new computer any time soon...

    Another interesting and frustrating development is that the comp my sister has allowed em to use is a big Mac running Tiger (OS X 10.4), which only supports iTunes 9 or earlier (did I mention I hate Apple?). The Library saved on my external hard drive is saved as a iTunes 10, effectively making the two incompatible.

    I think the only way I can solve this is if I can find a new computer that can download iTunes 10.
  9. Hasty
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    Hasty iPad Ninja

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    @Philippe sorry to hear about your machine, but often rebooting like that can be caused by the chip overheating. Try opening your case and check the fan on your CPU.
    Once or twice I have seen fans unable to turn due to the dust and fluff jammed in it. If so just blow and flick it out (small paintbrush useful here).

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