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I have a number of iTunes users in my household, and most of us choose to share our extensive iTunes libraries over the local network. This is all well and good when I want to listen to something on a shared library when I'm at my computer, but doesn't work at all on anything iOS.

Can anyone here explain why Apple has disabled access to normal shared iTunes libraries on iOS? As far as I can tell, it is no longer possible to access a normal shared iTunes library from any iOS device using any known Apple iOS software. You can now configure "Home Sharing", but that feature seems almost completely useless to me. I can see no advantages to Home Sharing over normal local network shared iTunes libraries, which are still entirely functional over desktop iTunes.

I have also not been able to find any online discussion of this issue whatsoever; no similar complaints, no explanations of why Apple disabled normal shared library access on iOS, nothing. If anyone has any information whatsoever, or a functional workaround that does not use Home Sharing (I don't want to have to ask someone to manually type in a different Apple ID to access their shared library in my house, and we're not all going to post our Apple IDs and passwords on the wall), please let me know.

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2 Answers

Why not make an new shared apple id that you can all use specifically for home sharing. Then you get to tap "more" then "sharing" in the iOS music app.

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I have a functional workaround, which requires three additional pieces of software. Yes, that's right, getting music from a normal shared iTunes library (called "shared music" by Apple: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2688) on an iOS device requires four pieces of software.

On the iOS device, get Apple's "Remote" app. Configure it to control iTunes on your desktop. Grab a copy of Rogue Amoeba's "AirFoil Speakers" for the iOS device. Then fire up Rogue Amoeba's "AirFoil" on the desktop (available for Mac and Win), select iTunes as the source, and the iOS device as the destination. "AirFoil Speakers" on the iOS device must be open to initially select it from "AirFoil" on the desktop, but can be switched away from after that. Finally, fire up "Remote" on the iOS device, select More > Shared then the shared iTunes library you want to listen from. This will open that shared library in iTunes on your desktop, which you can then control from the iOS device.

This is perhaps the most roundabout way of listening to music from one device on another possible, but it's what you have to do to listen to an old-style shared iTunes library on an iOS device. Stupid, isn't it? Couldn't they just include old-fashioned shared library support in the iOS "Music" app?

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