What is it and how to use it

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Apple users enjoy high levels of security across the board, and their content purchased from iTunes is no different. A feature that protects these purchases is called “authorization”. Simply put, this feature ensures that only authorized devices can play the content you purchased from iTunes.

In this guide, we will talk about all the essentials about iTunes authorization. Let’s go.

What is iTunes Authorization?

When you authorize a Mac to use one of the Apple Music, Books, or TV apps, you’re giving it access to all the content you’ve purchased from the iTunes Store. Authorization prevents other Apple devices using your Apple ID from accessing your content unless they are authorized to do so, making it a valuable security feature.

To make iTunes authorization more efficient, Apple has limited the number of devices you can authorize at one time to five. This limit helps you control how many devices can access your content at once.

When you sell an authorized device, you must deauthorize it to remove its access to your iTunes content. Therefore, the buyer will not be able to play or view any of your content on the iTunes Store.

How to Authorize iTunes on a Mac or Windows PC

According to Apple, before authorizing your computer, it’s recommended that you update to the latest version of macOS (or the latest version of the iTunes app if you’re on a PC).

Once done, here is how you can authorize your device:

  1. On a Mac, open the Apple Music, Books, or TV app. On a Windows PC, open iTunes.
  2. Sign in to your Apple ID by going to Account > Login from the menu bar.
  3. Here, enter your login credentials and click on Login.
  4. Now, still in the menu bar, go to Account > Permissions > Authorize This Computer.
    Authorize this computer from the menu bar
  5. Enter your Apple ID and password, then click To allow.
  6. Once you see the confirmation message, click Okay
    Successful authorization message pop-up

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Interestingly, you will also be able to see how many devices you have authorized here.

If you run out of space to authorize a new device, you can deauthorize all devices (more on that in a moment) and authorize the five devices you use the most. You can do the same if you have lost an authorized device.

How to Deauthorize iTunes on Mac or PC

The deauthorization process is similar to the authorization process. The only difference is that you have to click Deauthorize this computer after going to Account > Permissions.

It also gives you a confirmation message that the device has been deauthorized.

How to deauthorize all devices

You won’t see this option if you only authorized one device, but you can choose to deauthorize all of your devices at once.

To deauthorize all devices:

  1. Open the Music, Books, Where TV apps on an app or itunes on a Windows.
  2. From the menu bar, navigate to Account > Account Settings.
  3. Under the Summary of Apple ID section, you will see IT permissions.
  4. Click on Disallow all.

Now all your devices will be deauthorized and you will again have five devices to authorize.

If you sell your only authorized device, you can deauthorize it by authorizing another Apple computer and then deauthorizing all devices again.

How to Fix iTunes Authorization Error Codes


Pop-up displaying the error code

It is possible that when authorizing (or deauthorizing) a computer, you may see errors similar to “A temporary problem occurred while performing your request”.

This is a common problem that you can resolve by:

  • New attempt: A quick authorization retry often resolves this error.
  • Restart: If the retry doesn’t work and the error repeats, restart your computer and try again.
  • Verification of third-party software: Third-party security software may interfere with iTunes here, try uninstalling, disabling or updating it.
  • Update your Mac: If you’re using an older version of macOS, consider updating and then reauthorizing your device.

If the problem persists, you can Contact Apple Support. However, another cause of this error can be lack of permissions. If you already have five authorized devices, you may also see this error.

How to see your authorized devices

With iTunes, you can’t see the names of devices you’ve authorized. You can only see the total number of devices accessing the content you purchased. When you authorize your computer, the iTunes application notifies you of the number of authorized devices.

However, here is the correct way to verify your authorized devices:

  1. Open the Music, Books, Where TV apps on an app or itunes on a Windows computer.
  2. From the menu bar, navigate to Account > Account Settings.
  3. Log in again, if necessary.
  4. You will now see all your information like this:
    Apple ID summary showing number of authorized devices
  5. Under the IT permissions section, you will see the number of your authorized devices.

What happens if you sell an authorized device?

Once you’ve authorized five different devices to access content from your iTunes Store, you can’t authorize any more. If you want to authorize other devices, you will need to deauthorize them to make room.

You cannot deauthorize from one device to another. So, if you sell an authorized device and then run out of authorizations, you will need to deauthorize all devices and reauthorize only the ones you are going to use.

Related: Things to do before selling your MacThis feature prevents others from removing the devices (with the intent to steal) that you are still using. And if they deauthorize all devices, they will not be able to authorize the device again without your Apple ID password.

Follow the instructions above to deauthorize all your devices in this situation.

Protect your iTunes content

Permission is necessary for both Apple and its users. For Apple, this feature ensures that users do not abuse subscriptions by sharing them with everyone. As for users, authorization secures the content they have purchased by preventing unwanted people from accessing it.


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