Let us suppose I want to use a shared Apple ID for logging into iTunes & App Store, in order to share music and app purchases with a friend.

But let us also suppose that, despite this, my friend and I have very different tastes in music, so I don't want to share Apple Music playlists and "like" assertions with my friend. In other words, I don't want Apple Music to think I like the music my friend likes, and vice versa.

Is there a way that my friend and I can share an Apple ID for logging into iTunes & App Store, but use different Apple IDs for Apple Music?

I suspect the answer is no, but I just wanted to ask.

  • Why do you think it would not work ?
    – Ruskes
    Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 21:05
  • Because as near as I can tell, there is just one login field, "iTunes & App Store", and that determines both the iTunes purchase identity and the Apple Music preference identity. So the only way to use one ID for purchasing, and the other for Apple Music, is if you logout/login/logout every single time you want to make a purchase. I guess I'm excluding that option out of hand, as too much of a pain.
    – algal
    Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 21:08
  • Thank you, was just wondering why not using the log out / login. You can not have two Apple ID running at same time. But if you are not making purchase very frequently that should not be a hassle.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 21:12
  • 1
    Yeah, maybe you're right. I hadn't even realized I was dismissing that option until I thought it thru. The thing is you can have multiple Apple IDs logged in at the same time for other services. There's three logins: iTunes & App Store, iCloud, and FaceTime, and they can all be different from each other. It feels like Podcasts and Apple Music preferences should be based on iCloud but, alas, it is not.
    – algal
    Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 21:15
  • Nice, so you have your solution to your question :)
    – Ruskes
    Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 21:36

4 Answers 4


The answer is Yes, but why go to all that effort of swapping back & forth between accounts.

It would be far, far simpler to use an Apple ID each [as Apple intended] & set up Family Sharing - that's what it was designed for.

Shared apps/music/books etc, yet separate 'tastes' in each & no cross-linked messages, email, texts or personal data.

  • the OP said this in a previous comment. " (BTW, the reason I'm trying to avoid Family Sharing is because it doesn't let you share certain apps or any in-app purchases.) " I don't know if this is the case or not, but that is his reasoning for not using Family Sharing.
    – AMR
    Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 11:27
  • @AMR - then that should be in the question, not in comments. Frankly, sharing an Apple ID is not worth the effort, fraught with difficulty, & should really just be avoided.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 14:47

UPDATE for follow-up question from OP

You can Authorize each other's computers on your Apple Account. There is a limit to doing this as you can only authorize 5 accounts on any one Apple ID.

Then in iTunes on you computers, you can log into one account, download all of the apps associated with that account.

Then log out, and log into the other Apple ID and repeat the download. This gets around the shared drive, but doubles the amount of data you need to store.

When an app updates, you need to be logged into the account that "purchased" it for DRM reasons to update. If it is one of the apps on you account, then you can update on your iPhone through the App Store. Your friend will have to log into your Apple ID an update in iTunes, then sync their iPhone to iTunes.

When an app updates on your friend's account, they can update however they want to, but you will need to go into iTunes, log on to their Apple ID and update that way, then sync your iPhone with iTunes.

As iPhone is pretty boxed in, I don't think it takes to kindly to switching back and forth between Apple ID's. I am not even sure if you can do that without it resetting the iPhone, and I am almost certain there isn't an option to have two Apple ID's logged into one iOS device at the same time.

So once you have done all that, you have probably violated 42 conditions in the TOS. Just don't let Taylor Swift find out.

Prior Answer:

The short answer is yes, but it is a bit of a hassle.

Each person can authorize the other's devices on your Apple ID, though there is a limit of five devices that can be authorized. So if you have computer, iPhone, iPad, IPod, then there isn't much room for your friend's devices. If you live in the same location, you can put the media on a shared drive and bring it into each others iTunes catalog.

Here, the only catch is that the apps will only update for the person who bought the app, so you either need to have their Apple ID and password to log in as them to update on your devices, or with some maintenance on a regular basis, you can manually delete from your catalog and re add the updated app on your iTunes. I did this with my girlfriend long before Apple set up Family Sharing, which leads to...

How much do you trust this friend? You could set up a Family Sharing under iCloud that allows you to share everything, including media from iTunes and the App Store, plus photos, calendars, etc.

The catch is that the person who sets up the account is responsible for all of the purchases on that account. Only one credit card can be set up per family share, so basically if you set it up you pay. It is designed for a head of household situation with a spouse and three kids, so it is a little dicey if you don't trust your friend financially.

  • What you describe is a way that I can share music and app purchases using a shared Apple ID. I know that. That's the effect I get by using a shared Apple ID to login to "iTunes & App Store". But my question is about Apple Music, the new streaming service. I don't want to use a shared ID for that, because I don't want preference and playlist information to be shared. Or am I confused? (BTW, the reason I'm trying to avoid Family Sharing is because it doesn't let you share certain apps or any in-app purchases.)
    – algal
    Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 20:37
  • You lost at me at "shared drive" and I started shaking at "iTunes". :) I'm hoping for a zero maintenance iOS only solution. I'm very lazy.
    – algal
    Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 21:33
  • I really don't think you can get around iTunes. It lets you switch between the two accounts. You can get around the shared drive, but then you duplicate the data. iPhone is pretty fenced in. It will let you use the apps that it gets from iTunes, but it is a pain to switch between Apple accounts. I don't even know if it will let you do this without resetting your phone. I have never tested it, and I am not going to.
    – AMR
    Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 21:43

Yes you can use 2 diffrent itunes accounts easily. I have been doing that for years. As I travel alot I have 4 accounts due to limitations of each nation.

The switch is easy enough. Log out and log in, do your update and log out and back. Same goes for the purchases done between them.

But here is big problem each time you do that, the music app deletes your playlist. And I have put the playlist back. Each time. Thats big Hazzel and time consuming. Therefor I dont like apple music I hope in future that music app can have its own login.

  • So you are saying I cannot simultaneously use one ID for Apple Music and another ID for the iTunes & App Store. I need to logout from one ID and login to the other every time I want to switch. That's my understanding as well. I agree, it's disappointing.
    – algal
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 17:35

This is a really bad idea in my experience. I would recommend you make a family and share your Apple Music subscription (app purchases as well) so that you each can maintain your own playlists / mixes / play counts and such and only share the payment - not the actual data.

You’re able to choose different AppleID for each item that allows you to sign in so I think having each person maintain their own account (or possibly one work account and one personal account) would be best.

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