Trevor Sheridan sent us a note earlier today, asking if we'd look at his blog post about encountering Apple ID limits with iOS devices. Although Trevor just now encountered this issue, the policy actually went into effect a couple of months ago, back in June.
When you use Apple's new multi-device download feature, you will be limited to a total of 10 devices and computers, each authorized with the same Apple ID. What's more, once a device or computer has been assigned to an Apple ID, it cannot be reassigned for 90 days. Apple's Knowledge Base support article details how you can deauthorize devices, and how to check the wait time before they can be re-assigned.
Naturally, this is bad news for anyone who shares an iPhone or other iOS device with a loved one and who switches around the Apple ID accordingly. Once an Apple ID is authorized for media downloads, that authorization is going to stick for a few months at least.
At some point, Apple is going to have to start seriously re-evaluating how real life meets Apple ID accounts, in terms of separating data within a family. Some examples: keeping only kid-friendly material on certain devices, even when iCloud backups and data sharing are in force (also known as the "cheating spouse outed by iCloud" scenario), joining data between adults (marriage and cohabitation), and when joint accounts need to be split (divorce and separation).
For now, all authorization decisions seem to be motivated more by rights management than day-to-day practicalities. This new policy indicates that Apple continues to be a little tone-deaf when it comes to human relationships and how people really use their iOS devices.
Think about the Duggars or the children of divorce; when newly-single Dad buys the kids an iPod, whose account do they get to use? It may seem tangential to drag all this into a write-up about a new Apple DRM protection policy, but these are the real world challenges that make these policies more than a minor annoyance.