How many apple devices I can connect my Apple ID to the App Store?
ITunes accounts are limited to five authorized computers and ten iTunes in the Cloud devices. So what is the difference? The five authorized computers are capable of sharing their purchased iTunes content with other devices. You can ‘sync’ to an unlimited number of unmanaged devices like iPods or stream content to networked devices like the Apple TV using iTunes’ Home Sharing feature. single iTunes account!!
The ten other devices you can manage with a single iTunes account will all have access to your iTunes purchases through the cloud. Unfortunately this does not make for a total of fifteen devices, as authorized computers can also have access to iTunes in the Cloud and therefore will count against the ten devices.
The good news is that ‘dumb’ devices like traditional iPods (not iPod Touches) and even the Apple TV (which cannot download content locally) do not appear to be included in the count of ten. That’s also the case for any AirPlay enabled appliance or speaker you have that you want to use. You can have any number of these devices accessing your purchased content.
So what can an Apple ID do?
Some of the confusion over how to handle multiple Apple IDs comes from not knowing exactly what is possible. For instance, every Apple ID is not automatically enrolled with all of Apple’s services. You can create your AppleIDand enroll it in each Apple service individually as you need to. You do this by logging into that service with your Apple ID. Additionally, each device can utilize multiple Apple IDs at the same time. Some of Apple’s services can be configured once per device, others multiple times per device. For example, each device can only be backed up to one iCloud account whereas each device can have multiple iCloud email accounts configured.
It can be hard to figure out how to do this. Some Apple IDs are set in the device settings, other are set separately per an individual app setting. The chart below illustrates how many Apple IDs you can have associated with each device, and where the ID associated with that service is configured:
One iTunes Apple ID for apps and media
Using the chart above as a sort of Apple ID map, you can plan which services you want to use, and just how you want to configure them on each family member’s device. To start, take one Apple ID and associate it with an iTunes account for all of the app and media purchases your family makes. This is the account that is linked to a credit card. With each Apple device, the purchased apps, music, books, magazines, TV Shows and movies account will be accessible by all of the devices registered with this account.
Account Authorization Limits
You may have noticed that iTunes is limited to authorizing only five computers with each iTunes account. This means that you can only authorize five separate Mac or PC computers or user accounts to playback protected iTunes content or use Home Sharing using a single iTunes Account. For example, if you have created five different user accounts on the same computer, and have authorized iTunes for each user account on that one computer with the same iTunes Account, then you have reached your maximum number of authorizations. This is also true if you have used that one iTunes Account on the same user account on five different computers. Basically, each iTunes Account can authorize up to a maximum of five instances of iTunes. You can deauthorize computers or accounts at any time following the instructions found at Apple’s support website. Luckily, though, once you have iTunes configured with a single iTunes Account, there does not appear to be a limit to the number of iPods, iPhones, and iPads one can sync to a single iTunes library.
Losing Some Apps, Gaining Others After Syncing
If you’re only using one iTunes account across multiple devices, you may notice some strange behavior when you sync your iOS devices: apps seem to disappear and appear at random with each sync. It is likely that each iOS device serves a different purpose, or is even being used by a different person. This leads to each user adding and removing apps that suit their needs and the purpose of the device. What is happening is that apps that were purchased on one device are being lost, while apps purchased on a different devices are being added. This situation is easily remedied by transferring purchases before each sync, and disabling the automatic synchronizing of new apps on each iOS device. The “Automatically Sync New Apps” option in the apps tab of your iOS device info screen in iTunes applies to any app in your iTunes library that has been added to your iTunes library since your last sync. If you are managing several iOS devices from one account, it is a good idea to disable this feature.
Previously, you could add your Apple ID to as many iDevices as you wanted. Now, you’re limited to a total of 10 devices — and that includes desktop machines and the Apple TV.
TUAW points out an Apple Knowledge Base support article that details how you can deauthorize iDevices from a certain Apple ID, but the process is a lengthy one that is still subject to Apple’s 90 day timer.
It’s obvious that Apple needs to reconsider its method for authenticating multiple devices, and with iCloud entering the foray, it’s only bound to get more confusing.
Apple’s limit on devices tied to one Apple ID can pose a problem for family members that share devices, or to whoever needs to share an Apple ID in a group setting.
There’s no doubt that Apple’s current system of handling purchased content is severely affected by rights management and content providers. The legal system will have to play catch-up as well if Apple wants to have a totally seamless cloud experience for its users.
My proposal: An Apple ID can be registered on as many devices as you want, and purchased content can be synced/played on all registered devices once the device has been authenticated. iCloud also syncs all authenticated devices with the same Apple ID.
If you have any questions please feel free to comment below.