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Share Your Media across Your Network with iTunes

Ready to share your music, podcasts, and video — legally, mind you — with other folks on your local network from your MacBook? You can offer your digital media to other iTunes users across your home or office. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose iTunes→Preferences to open the Preferences dialog.

  2. Click Sharing.

  3. Select the Share My Library on My Local Network check box.

  4. Specify whether you want to share your entire library or only selected playlists and files.

    Sharing selected playlists is a good idea for those Meatmen and Sex Pistols fans who work at a cubicle farm in a big corporation.

  5. If you want to restrict access to just a few people, select the Require Password check box; then type a password in the text box.

  6. Click OK.

Your shared folder appears within the Source list for all iTunes users who enabled the Look for Shared Libraries check box on the same pane of their iTunes Preferences dialog. Note that the music you share with others can’t be imported or copied, so everything stays legal.

Want to change that frumpy default name for your shared media library to something more exotic, like “Dan’s Techno Beat Palace”? No problem — display the Preferences dialog again, but this time click the General button and click in the Library Name text box. Edit your network entertainment persona to your heart’s content.

You can also share your media library using Home Sharing, which allows multiple devices to join in the fun. That includes both Mac computers and iOS devices (your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, running iOS 4.3 or later).

Home Sharing requires a wireless network connection for all your devices, and you’ll have to enter the same Apple ID information on each device. To turn on Home Sharing within iTunes, click Advanced on the iTunes menu and choose Turn On Home Sharing. (Don’t forget to repeat this setup on each computer.) After Home Sharing is enabled, shared libraries will appear in the Source list under the Shared heading.

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