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How to share iTunes libraries between user accounts in OS X

You can transform iTunes' default behavior to allow for all accounts to utilize the same media folders.

Topher Kessler

August 5, 2013 10:07 AM PDT

If multiple users while on an OS X system use iTunes, automatically each could have a separate iTunes media folder through which music files are stored. This is convenient for privacy, nevertheless it will prevent users from sharing common music, that could be desired for family members or coworkers using the identical Mac.

If you would want to share a similar media files in iTunes among multiple users, a few couple of approaches you are able to take.

One choices to share all iTunes music files between accounts, so while playlists and individual music organization per account is going to be maintained separately, all music files themselves will probably be accessed from your common location.

To do this, open iTunes' preferences and navigate to the Advanced section. In here you will see a route to the iTunes Media folder location, in which the program currently stores files.

iTunes media folder options

You can make and right-click the iTunes media folder to disclose it with contextual menu options so it is possible to move it on the location of your choice. Unchecking the possibility to copy files for the media folder will assist you to maintain separate collections of music files, some in shared locations among others in private locations.

(Credit: Screenshot by Topher Kessler/CNET)

Now takes place mouse to highlighted the path text in blue, and after that right-click the selection and choose "Reveal in Finder" from your Services contextual submenu. This will show the iTunes media folder inside Finder, which it is possible to move to perhaps the most common location accessible all user accounts. Some alternatives for this are the "Macintosh HD > Users > Shared" folder, or possibly a secondary hard disk (external or internal).

With the folder moved to this location, click on the Change button next on the media folder path in iTunes, and select the media folder rolling around in its new location. Update the iTunes preferences similarly for other accounts, and now all should use the identical iTunes folder.

Keep in mind that iTunes may report some songs missing for a lot of user accounts after changing their iTunes media locations, so in such cases you can have to re-import the songs by dragging them from all of these accounts' old media folders on the iTunes window or for the new media folder. Alternatively you'll be able to manually drag the contents of each user's old iTunes Media folder on the new one, to consolidate it on this new location (you can have to manually manage duplicate files when you are performing this).

A second method of this is to decentralize your iTunes media folders, so you can maintain another private music collection, but additionally include music files from public folders, external drives, and other commonly accessible folders. To do this, instead of changing your iTunes Media folder location, get forced out as-is and uncheck the choice to "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when increasing library file" that is certainly located within the media folder path.

With this setting unchecked, new songs you import from CDs or download from iTunes will likely be placed with your private collection with your user account; however, you'll be able to also drag a music collection folder coming from a shared drive to your iTunes window, and iTunes will add the files to your library but you can keep them in their current location instead of copying them in your private collection.

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