One iTunes library, several computers

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by hafr, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. hafr macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #1
    I'm considering using an old laptop as a dedicated iTunes server so that Home Sharing will be available 24/7 at home (i.e., wife and kids can watch/listen to whatever they want without me having to be home with the laptop on which the library file resides).

    The thing is, I don't want to have to go to that computer every time I add, delete or do any other changes with the content.

    For the adding part, I'll just transfer new rips from my computer to the iTunes server in the closet (the Add automatically folder) in order for it to be added. But what do I have to do in order to be able to say delete something from the library? Just deleting the file will give a dead link in iTunes, so not an option. If I've understood things correctly, opening the same library from my computer to delete something would work, but only if I shut down iTunes on the server first, then on my computer in order for the changes that I've made to be saved in the library file, and finally open iTunes on the server in order for the changes to be visible.

    Is there any way to do what I want that doesn't require restarting iTunes on both computers, and in a certain order at that? The only way I can think of is having a remote desktop setup that I use for these sorts of things...
     
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
    Why not just use iTunes Match and cut out the whole server idea?
     
  3. hafr thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #3
    I thought iTunes match was only for music... I've got movies and shows as well, will these also be matched? How about the non-music content that isn't available for purchase in iTunes?
     
  4. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #4
    I believe movies and shows are available from the cloud now - even without Match.

    What non-music content? Booklets and such don't sync.
     
  5. hexonxonx macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Denver Colorado
    #5
    Not every movie and TV show purchased is in the cloud.

    I have maybe about 50 out of 100 movies purchased on one account available in the cloud. There are also several TV show seasons not available as some networks pull the season a few weeks after the season ends. If a network pulls a show, it usually gets pulled from the cloud also.
     
  6. TheAppleSource macrumors regular

    TheAppleSource

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
  7. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #7
    And you are only limited to 25K worth of songs.

    The short answer is there really isn't any easy way to manage an iTunes library on one machine with several machines accessing that one machine.

    The ability to share music so that you can load it on your ipod/iphone/ipad etc is not there. You can share the main library but you can't pull songs from it, so you have to load that song on the local computer. Kind of defeats the purpose.

    I am like you, I don't want to have to load my library up on every computer. Pain in the but.

    Now, I haven't used mediarover, however just from reading it, you still have to have a copy of the library on your computer. This might work for you, if you don't mind having your library on all your computers.
     
  8. hafr thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #8
    Oh, okay. Having access only to some of the iTunes bought content and none of the rest isn't really what I was looking for... Too bad match doesn't work the same way for everything the way it does with music.

    ----------

    Mediarover does look interesting, but as rhett7660 says it seems like I would need to have the media on each computer - which is just not an option. I already have all my media on a NAS, and there is just no way I would be able to fit it all on the computers... I'm going to try it out either way to see whether it's possible to do it without the multiple copies, otherwise I guess a remote desktop solution with "sync on wifi" for the iDevices is the easiest solution for this.

    Thank you all.
     
  9. TheAppleSource macrumors regular

    TheAppleSource

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #9
    I'm not entirely sure what exactly it is that you want to achieve. Is it that you want your library to be synchronised across multiple PCs and then you'd be able to sync your iOS device with any of the machines?

    When you say that you can share the main library, but can't pull songs from it, have you tried using Home Sharing? You say "you can't pull songs from" and then say "you have to load the song on the local computer". It sounds like you want to stream the song, which you can using home sharing, or you can download it.

    I'm not sure if this is exactly what you want, but you could try having your library synchronised via a DropBox folder, although I'm assuming this might be impractical for you, seeing as you mentioned the restriction of the 25k limit on the number of songs you can use with iTunes Match.
     
  10. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #10
    If you have iTunes loaded on say a "server" type machine. This could be a mac mini, a windows box (which is what I have), then you do a home share with that library on your client machines. You can't load your music on any device from the client machines from the home share. So if you want to load music up on your iDevices you have to first load that file on your client machine then you can load it on your iDevice. I would like to have just the one library on my "server" with iTunes being the client software. The ability to have all the files loaded in one location with the ability to sync my iDevice to that one library. If I want to load a song on my iPod, connect my iPod to the client machine, select the songs I want to load from the server machine, load them on the iPod. You can't do this the way iTunes is setup now.

    iTunes match is not an option for me as my library of music alone is over 36K and this doesn't include my podcasts, movies or audio books.

    Right now, if you want to transfer any type of media to a device, you have to load that media on your client machine before you can load it on your device. This makes keeping your library nice and tidy a big pain in the butt.

    In my experience the "automatically add..." folder is far from perfect.

    One library only with the ability to stream, add songs, etc to any device from that one library. That is what I want.

    ----------

    This is how I have my library also, it is on a 4 disk enclosure. Having the multiple copies is a pain in the butt for me and I am assuming others have run into this problem also.
     
  11. TheAppleSource macrumors regular

    TheAppleSource

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #11
    Ah ok, I think I understand better what you want to achieve now.

    One way I can think of doing that is to have the library, as it were, on the machine with which you want to sync your iOS device, but have the media folder actually stored on the "server" device you have at home. Then you'll be able to sync your iOS devices with the computer, while still having all of the media stored on the server, and no media stored on the computer.

    If you then want to have more than one computer be able to sync to your devices, then you'll have to recreate the library on those other machines, and then you could even use this tip to make it so that you could sync with all and any of your PCs

    I hope that's roughly what you're after. If not, I apologise for misunderstanding and I'll try and have another go!
     
  12. rhett7660, Mar 26, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012

    rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #12
    Nope that is what I am looking to do and this is actually how I have it setup, the main library is setup on the NAS box, however I have had zero luck with the automatically add to folder unless it is apple purchased items.

    If lets say you add song "A" to the main library, how do you update the client software to see that you added song "A"? In other words, I would like to have the folder scanned, sees a change and then updates the client software with the change. I have added music and movies, stopped iTunes on the client, started it back up and well it didn't see the change on the client side. This hasn't been working very well for me with the automatically update folder. It works pretty well with apple added content but not from my ripped CD's/DVD's etc.

    I like the tip you suggested, that just might work so that I could have nothing but home shares on the machines and still being able to sync my devices with the server files that are on another computer!!

    Trust me I am open to all suggestions, I have tried a ton of them! LOL...

    I will give the tip a try and report back!!!!
     
  13. hafr thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #13
    Is your client running the library that is stored on the NAS? That is, not the media, but the actual library? In that case, if you add something, the change will be visible on the server, but not the client. If you close down iTunes on the server, it will save its copy of the library, and if you close down iTunes on the client after that, it will save its copy - which isn't showing the newly added file. So you would have to first shut down iTunes on the client side, then on the server side, then open iTunes again (in this step, the order doesn't matter).

    The more I look into this, the more I feel a remote desktop solution is the best solution. For adding files to the iDevices, just activate Sync on WiFi, and make sure it's connected to a power source. Then open the remote desktop and do everything from there.
     
  14. TheAppleSource macrumors regular

    TheAppleSource

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #14
    It definitely sounds like a remote desktop solution is the best best for you.

    If you're happy fiddling a bit with port forwarding and DNS server settings, then you could use a VNC server on the machine with all of the iTunes media on it, and then even have access to it from outside of your home network. This can also be achieved by using LogMeIn (the free version is fine). Teamviewer also gets good reviews, but I've never used it myself, so I can't vouch for it.

    Otherwise, if the laptop is a Mac, then then the screen sharing functionality that comes from Mac to Mac connections is excellent.
     
  15. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #15
    Hmm.. this is an interesting idea. I have never thought of this. I will have to do some research on port forwarding and DNS server settings as I have never done this.

    My media is housed on a windows box, so I won't be able to take advantage of the screen sharing functionality.
     
  16. TheAppleSource macrumors regular

    TheAppleSource

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #16
    This might interest you. Not necessarily all of it, but there are some useful things in there.

    My personal recommendation would be LogMeIn. I've used it a number of times to help troubleshoot my sister's laptop and it's worked a treat.
     
  17. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #17
    Very nice! Reading this now!!!!!

    Thank you. I can't tell you how frustrated I have been trying to get this going. Here is hoping an easier way comes along.......!

    Again thank you.
     

Share This Page