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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

Using same iTunes library on multiple Macs

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Member Since: Mar 16, 2011
Location: UK
Posts: 22
Gingko_Biloba is on a distinguished road
Mac Specs: Mac mini (2011), i5 2.3GHz, 8GB RAM; MacBook Pro 5,1, 4GB RAM, 120GB SSD

Gingko_Biloba is offline

I'm looking for some advice before I start fiddling with my iTunes set-up and probably completely break it

I have three Macs (let's call them Mac 1, Mac 2 and Mac 3) and two iOS devices - an iPhone 3Gs and iPod Classic. My iPhone and iPod are synced with iTunes on Mac 1, which has all my music and movies. The music is all stored within the iTunes Media folder, whilst all the movies are stored on an external USB drive.

Sometimes, though, it'd be extremely useful to sync my iPod Classic to Mac 2 or Mac 3. Of course, you can't do that without telling your iPod to exclusively use this new library, which causes it to wipe everything on the iPod and sync everything afresh from the new library. Pain in the bum.

So, it occurred to me: what if I were to copy the whole contents of Mac 1's iTunes folder (everything, such as .itl, .itdb and .xml files, and all nested folders) to a partition called, "iTunes" on an external drive (not a NAS - this has to be a non-networked solution)? Then I could use fstab to mount that partition to the location of the iTunes folder on Mac 2 or Mac 3, and when I launched iTunes on any machine it would always find the same data, so long as that partition was mounted. That way, whenever I tried to sync either of my iOS devices it wouldn't prompt the sync message, and I could treat all the Macs the same.

There's bound to be a catch, which is why I'm posting this. So, advice please: what would stop this idea working?

Many, many thanks
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Member Since: May 19, 2012
Posts: 6
doublet is on a distinguished road

doublet is offline
You could as an alternative use home sharing, which allows you to:
"... easily copy songs, videos, and more among the computer in you're home" (from itunes)
to do this go to itunes, in the bar on the left look for "Shared", and under that click on "Home Sharing" and set it up from there.
this will work assuming that the Mac 1 - 3 are in the same home.
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Member Since: Mar 16, 2011
Location: UK
Posts: 22
Gingko_Biloba is on a distinguished road
Mac Specs: Mac mini (2011), i5 2.3GHz, 8GB RAM; MacBook Pro 5,1, 4GB RAM, 120GB SSD

Gingko_Biloba is offline
I don't think that solves the problem of allowing an iPhone or iPod to sync with different Macs - at least, not without having to completely remove all library content from the device, before re-syncing.
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