How to Deauthorize Your iTunes Account on a Computer You Can No Longer Access

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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If you plan to give away, sell or trade in your Mac, you should de-authorize your iTunes account on the computer first, as this removes its access to content that you bought from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, or App Store, including things like music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books.

Apple puts a five-computer limit on an account for accessing iTunes protected content, so it's worth remembering to deauthorize before you part ways with a computer, but of course that might not always be possible. Say your Mac stops working or gets stolen, for example. What then?

Fortunately, if you no longer have access to the device you want to deauthorize, you can still do so by following the steps below on another computer. The process deauthorizes all computers associated with your account, but also lets you re-authorize the devices you still own.

Note that Apple lets you deauthorize all computers once per year, and the procedure on a Windows computer is the same as on a Mac. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

  1. Launch iTunes on your Mac.
  2. If you aren't signed in already, select Account -> Sign in... from iTunes' menu bar.

    Enter your Apple ID and password, and click Sign In.

    Select Account -> View My Account... from the menu bar.

    On the Account Information page, click the Deauthorize All button at the lower right of the Apple ID summary section. This button will only appear if you have more than one computer authorized.

    In the pop-up dialog window, click Deauthorize All.

    Click OK in the Deauthorization Complete dialog window.
  3. To re-authorize the current computer, select Account -> Authorizations -> Authorize This Computer... from the menu bar.

    Enter your Apple ID and password in the dialog window, and click Authorize.
  4. Click OK at the dialog confirming successful authorization.

Article Link: How to Deauthorize Your iTunes Account on a Computer You Can No Longer Access
 

thebluepotato

macrumors member
Aug 7, 2012
50
39
Switzerland
I still find this "you can't deauthorize an individual computer" and the time limits antiquated. It has happened multiple times that with bigger Windows updates (e.g. the now more or less yearly Windows 10 ones), iTunes would consider this as a new computer (!) and I'd end up hitting the maximum of 5 authorized computers. Then you cannot just remove the "old Windows", you have to start from scratch on all your machines and pray it won't happen again in that year.
 

cawaker

macrumors newbie
Apr 1, 2009
12
1
I feel like I'm always up against the 1 year limit, just from experimenting and reinstalls of machines and junk. So it's really obnoxious.

But once or twice or the years I've contacted support and they reset it for me.
 
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psac

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2009
730
445
I wish they would change the once a year "deauthorize all" restriction. What's the purpose of such a limitation?
I think the purpose is to prevent wholesale sharing of accounts, where you could keep authorizing and de-authorizing multiple computers over and over again. I would certainly think that same prevention could still work with a much shorter timeframe like once per month.
 

Pokeymon

macrumors newbie
Oct 11, 2014
12
3
West of the Lake
What happens if you simply go to the "Manage Devices" page and click "Remove" after one of the computers? Does that not delete it (remove it) from the account?
 

duervo

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
2,306
1,031
Apple Support can “deauthorize all” too, if you have to do it 2+ times in a year.

It’s decided on a case-by-case basis though, so there is no guarantee they will do it, or do it more than once for you if you have found yourself in such a position in a single year.
 

kegan forbes

macrumors member
Jun 14, 2017
43
13
michigan
I feel like I'm always up against the 1 year limit, just from experimenting and reinstalls of machines and junk. So it's really obnoxious.

But once or twice or the years I've contacted support and they reset it for me.
You are aware that computer authorization is hardware abased and not software based right? So even if you reinstall the os fresh the system is still technically authorized. All you have To do is use iTunes to authorize it again and it will pop up saying this computer is already authorized and not use up a second spot for the same computer.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,046
1,104
NYC
Honestly in this day and age, I don't understand why Apple allows me to only authorize five computers, when I can connect as many Apple TV and iOS devices as I want.
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,397
6,965
Honestly in this day and age, I don't understand why Apple allows me to only authorize five computers, when I can connect as many Apple TV and iOS devices as I want.
What's more, you can only "Deauthorize All" using the method shown in the OP once a year. I ran into this problem a few months back, and had to contact Apple Support to get it done.
 

LV426

macrumors 6502a
Jan 22, 2013
837
246
Honestly in this day and age, I don't understand why Apple allows me to only authorize five computers, when I can connect as many Apple TV and iOS devices as I want.
At least it does show you how many computers out of the five are authorised. I hadn't appreciated until I looked at this that I had 3 active authorisations when I only need one. Thanks, MacRumours!
 
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alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,046
1,104
NYC
What's more, you can only "Deauthorize All" using the method shown in the OP once a year. I ran into this problem a few months back, and had to contact Apple Support to get it done.
Yes I deauthorize all the time, and it's habit already. I log onto a computer, authorize it, and when I'm done, I deauthorize it. It's a habit now.

But the point is why do I need to even authorize a computer at all when you can log into an iOS or Apple TV device without any limitations.
 

jtara

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2009
1,826
432
What happens if you simply go to the "Manage Devices" page and click "Remove" after one of the computers? Does that not delete it (remove it) from the account?
There's a "manage devices" page? How do I get to it? It sure isn't obvious!

I can see my iCloud devices when I log in to iCould in a browser. But that's not the same. ICloud != iTunes.

I think I might have old Windows machines and/or VMs authorized.

I can do the reset all, but would like to know.

Yesterday, I authorized my new partial-DOA iMac Pro. (dead screen). I hooked it to an external display and everything works but the internal display. So, I will be able to deauthorize it individually before returning.

But still would like to know about old Windows authorizations. (I never use Windows any more. I do have a VM on my Mac Mini that I fire up every 6 months to update, and then have no use for... I don't think I would have ever installed iTunes there, but definitely had it on at least one old/dead Windows box,.
 

joeblough

macrumors 6502
Sep 30, 2006
279
118
Yes I deauthorize all the time, and it's habit already. I log onto a computer, authorize it, and when I'm done, I deauthorize it. It's a habit now.

But the point is why do I need to even authorize a computer at all when you can log into an iOS or Apple TV device without any limitations.
i assume this is a throwback to the first days of label-supplied music/movies on macs, before iOS or AppleTV existed. the music/TV industry was probably convinced by apple that iOS and the AppleTV are locked down well enough that no one can decrypt content that is stored in an iOS device or AppleTV - TBH it's pretty difficult to even access the files on one of those devices let alone decrypt them. they probably never removed the 5 computer limit since the content providers probably still think that content can be decrypted on computers.

not that the 5 computer limit stops people, but the whole thing is part of a bill of goods that apple sold the content providers in order to get access to the content.
 

bingeciren

macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2011
852
713
It still pisses me off not to be able to see a list of which computers are authorized and not to be able to select from that list and de authorize a specific computer. Instead we are given the option to de authorize all, and that is also restricted to once a year. Moronic.
 

jtara

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2009
1,826
432
When you do de-authorize, you get a message saying "authorization required to perform this operation".

Not exactly clear feedback, but Apple is failing big-time at clear feedback lately.
 

drewsof07

macrumors 68000
Oct 30, 2006
1,998
415
Ohio
You are aware that computer authorization is hardware abased and not software based right? So even if you reinstall the os fresh the system is still technically authorized. All you have To do is use iTunes to authorize it again and it will pop up saying this computer is already authorized and not use up a second spot for the same computer.
In my experience dual booting different versions of MacOS on the same machine will result in a single device utilizing two slots. It's per OS instance on the machine.

It's also asinine that I can have Apple Music signed in on any number of iOS devices but library sync on Mac is dependent on the ancient authorization system.