Dear Aunt TUAW: Help me join my life, my heart, my iTunes account

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Dear Aunt TUAW: Help me join my life, my heart, my iTunes account

Dear Auntie TUAW,

Can you believe my wedding is in a few weeks?! That's got me thinking all of our digital goods that we now will both share.

While I would like to know if it is possible to combine 2 iTunes libraries and still keep metadata (like play counts and composers), I am more concerned with the number of Apple ID's that will be under 1 roof.

I've got an old Apple ID that I've made a LOT of purchases with, both hardware and digital goods. In January, I purchased MobileMe, mostly to keep our calendars in sync on 3 macs and 2 iPhones, but I would also like for that address to be my new Apple ID for purchases in both the iTunes store and the Mac App Store (especially for syncing apps on all the machines).

Can I just use that ID on all machines? What happens to my purchase history, like all my apps, movies, and anything with DRM? And of course, my future wife has her own Apple ID as well. Is it possible to bring all this together? And don't worry, the band will play a polka the first set, just for you. Thanks!

Love and happiness,


Dear Dave,

Auntie is delighted to hear your happy news. She wishes you and your partner a lifetime of joy and growth. You have so many questions, let's see if Auntie can help with those.

Can you combine your libraries together while preserving metadata? Auntie suggests that you look at TuneRanger, a utility she reviewed several years ago. At the time, it was a little hard to use but provided the functionality you're looking for.

As for multiple accounts, you can sync material to your iOS devices from up to 5 accounts. It sounds like you're not quite at that point yet but getting close between your old account, your new MobileMe account, and your to-be-lifepartner's account.

When it comes to authorizing those accounts on both your computers (a 5-computer limit, not to be confused with the 5-accounts-per-device limit), you can use iTunes' to deauthorize any old computers that you're mothballing, selling, etc. If you do not physically have access to previously authorized computers, you can use iTunes' once-per-year "Deauthorize all computers" feature to start fresh.

Now, the harsh reality part of this reply. Start typing in "iTunes account div" and see how it autocompletes in Google. There's a really big reason that so many people search for a way to settle their comingled digital assets. That's because Apple does not provide any support whatsoever for the transfer of purchases when a marriage doesn't work out.

Although Apple should provide a once-per-lifetime courtesy account duplication, allowing both partners to share ownership of material purchased during their time together, it does not.

Auntie does not want to be cynical in suggesting that you use caution before combining your digital music, your finances, and your cookware. She recognizes, however, the real challenges of making a marriage work in a society where separation and divorce is an every-day reality rather than an isolated tragedy.

Let Auntie finish by highly recommending that you read through Uncle Mike's write-up on sharing an iPad with your spouse.

Love and best wishes,

Auntie T.

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