Understanding iTunes Authorizations

“When the iTunes Store first opened it was pretty simple to understand the rules of ‘Authorization,'” Terry White reports for MacNews.

“However, now with the App Store, Mac App Store, iTunes Match, Apple TV, etc. it can be really confusing,” White reports. “There are also different rules depending on the type of content in question. For example, if I bought a song back in the day when Apple used Digital Rights Management (DRM) aka ‘Protected,’ then I was limited to only being able to play that song on up to 5 Authorized computers and an unlimited number of iPods. Luckily Apple no longer sells DRM’d tunes, so this problem/limit goes away for any new purchases of ‘music.'”

White reports, “However, other content, such as movies is still DRM protected and therefore still has the same rules enforced.”

Much more in the full article here.


  1. I synced my sisters iPad to my computer to update her software and because my iTunes Match was turn on it locked me out of my account for 90 days =S. only 15 days left…

  2. That is a clear and concise article. Much appreciated.
    My family uses my iTunes account for all purchases. Makes it handy to manage all the songs bought. Haven’t exceeded the 10 unit limit yet but we have 4 macs, 3 iPhones and 1 iPad. Getting close.

  3. This is going to become a problem for my family at some point since we have…
    5 macs (imac, mini, 3 mbps)
    3 iphones
    2 iPad 2’s
    1 new iPad
    3 iPod touches
    Plus my work PC which is authorized.

    Total of 15 devices – although I only have 9 devices authorized at the moment.

    Not all of them have iTunes match turned on though.

    Not sure what we’ll do since we’re a family of 7 and will likely add more apple devices in the future.

  4. What about multiple accounts in a single family? My son will be getting an iPad soon, and my wife and I will be sharing one. He has a Mac mini, while we share a mini, a MacBook and three iMacs of various vintages.

    Keeping everything straight is already a nightmare. I’m not sure how many authorizations I have available. Since I first set up an Apple account 10+ years ago I have lost three Macs due to sudden hard drive failures. How do you de-authorize a Mac when your account no longer recognizes it as authorized due to a HD replacement?

    1. leo,

      Once you have reached your authorization limit, a button activates within your iTunes account settings that lets you deauthorize all of your computers. Then you can reauthorize the ones you still have.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.