Can iTunes library be shared across 2 Macs?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dmk1974, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. dmk1974 macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #1
    To preface, I am familiar with the iTunes Home Sharing which is very nice, but does not allow for a couple of things to the connecting computers (I'll get to that in a bit).

    I have a Mac Mini that is set up as a home server. It has an attached USB drive that houses all of our music, photos, videos, and files. From that Mac Mini, I have iTunes setup to point to the "music" folder on that drive in the iTunes Advanced Preferences as the "iTunes Media Folder Location". In that folder, it also has the iOS app backups and backups for all of my family iPhones/iPads/iPods (I prefer the USB backup vs iCloud). Everything works great when connecting to this machine.

    While I have it temporarily placed in my office (via WiFi to my network), I'd like to return it to the basement where I have this Mac Mini ethernet connected to my network. I moved it to my office primarily because of a lot of jockeying with new iPhone upgrades and so on between the family.

    One thing that I cannot do with the iTunes Home Sharing when connecting a MacBook to the network is to plug in the iPhone to the MacBook and back it up over the network to that Mac Mini external hard drive. For the rest of the family, this is fine. But since I'm the one that manages all of this "tech" in the house, I'd like to be able to do 3 things. 1.) Backup my iDevices from my MacBook via USB without requiring me to be in the basement connected to the Mac Mini. 2.) Be able to use iMovie and add music to my videos from the MacBook (cannot do via the iTunes Home Sharing method). 3.) Edit playlists on the Mac Mini iTunes library from my MacBook.

    I haven't risked it yet because I don't want to screw things up. But can I somehow share the library folder and library file between the Mac Mini and MacBook without issues? I would be the only user in the house with this setup. And then theoretically would solve my 3 issues in the previous paragraph.

    Has anyone tried this successfully? Any risks or tricks that I need to be aware of? Thanks!
     
  2. mmomega, Oct 4, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014

    mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #2
    How to Move the iPhone iTunes Backup folder to an External Hard Drive

    From Finder, press command+shift+g to open the "Go To Folder..." window.
    Enter this address
    Code:
    ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/
    Copy the "Backup" folder from this location to the drive you want to backup your iDevices to. For example I'm going to use a folder on an external drive called iPhoneBackup.

    Rename the original folder to something like OriginalBackup until you can confirm the new backup location is working. Then you can trash the original once you are sure everything is backing up properly to your new location. If you do not rename the original iTunes will continue backing up to that folder.

    So now you just need to create a "link" from where the original backup folder was to where the new folder is now.

    So launch Terminal and enter
    Code:
    ln -s /Volumes/External/iPhoneBackup/ ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup
    where /Volumes/External/iPhoneBackup/ is the location to where you moved the Backup folder to.

    (Hint: To Find out the location of a file or Folder. Open a terminal window. Drag and drop any file or folder into the terminal window and it should show output the location)

    To double check your link is working use the command+shift+g in Finder again
    Code:
    ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/
    The Backup folder should now have a small arrow on it, representing it is now a linked folder.
     
  3. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #3
    I'm not quite clear what these instructions are for. I believe I did this a couple years ago when I first migrated my iTunes folder to my external drive. But I do not quite get then how this would help for connecting the MacBook as well to this library since it will be wirelessly connected on the same network (and can see the drive of course though).
     
  4. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #4
    The instructions are for changing where the backup folder for you iDevices is located. By default iTunes backs up your device to "/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup"

    Putting your music on an external drive and having iTunes find it is as easy as going into iTunes preferences and telling iTunes where the folder is.
    You can not simply do that when you change the Backup folder for your phone.

    Hence the more complicated instructions.
     
  5. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #5
    Got it, but I have already had this portion set for a couple years (my iOS devices backup to the same external drive where my iTunes Media folder is). I really need to know how to seamlessly share this with my MacBook.
     
  6. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #6
    This is old, but might be worth a try....
    https://gigaom.com/2008/10/13/one-itunes-library-on-multiple-computers/
     
  7. TahoeBlue macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2012
    #7
    WiFi sync your iDevices solves this. There is no need to plug in anything to the MacBook.

    Saving files TO the MacMini so that they show up in iTunes Home Sharing, you need to save files to the "Automatically Add To iTunes" folder in iTunes on the MacMini. This should solve about 90% of the issues.

    Adding music to iMovie -- use the iTunes Media folder on the MacMini to select the music files.

    There are a bunch of different ways to do that, but the biggest thing you should be doing from the MacBook is accessing the MacMini from Screen Sharing enabled on the MacMini. This will solve many of your issues.
     
  8. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #8
    I've never tried this mainly because it seems to take even 1/2 hour to restore when connected to a wire. Is it typically at least as fast and, more importantly, reliable?
     
  9. TahoeBlue macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2012
    #9
    The initial device backups will take awhile depending on your wifi setup and walls/floors in your house, but should be relatively short afterwards.
     

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