So you’ve spent the last five years building up a beefy iTunes library and carefully curating it to ensure that if any wayfaring stranger were to lay eyes upon it, he would gasp in astonishment at the impeccable taste of its owner. But what’s the point of having such an impressive iTunes library if you can’t share it with others?
There are a number of ways to share your iTunes library, but, in a broad sense, it can done in two ways: via Wi-Fi on your home network, or via Bluetooth to a person nearby.
Sharing on your home network
Sharing your iTunes library on your home network (or any network for that matter) only takes a few easy steps and will allow library access to any device connected to the network. For this section, we’re assuming that you already have a wireless network in your home or office. If not, consult this guide to figure out how to set one up.
Step 1: Depending on how your firewall is configured, your computer might be set to block media sharing on your home network. Mac OS X computers will do this by default, so if you’re using a Mac you should check to make sure iTunes sharing is enabled. Generally, Windows computers shouldn’t have any issues as long as TCP port 3689 and UDP port 5353 aren’t being blocked.
To enable iTunes sharing in your firewall, go to System Preferences>Security>Firewall>Advanced. Here, there should be an option to allow media sharing through iTunes.
Step 2: Enable network sharing in iTunes. To do this, open iTunes, go to Preferences, and click on the Sharing tab at the top. Here, you’ll see something like this:
You can choose to share your entire iTunes library or just a few playlists. You also have the option of requiring others to enter a password before they can access your media.
Step 3: At this point, your library should now be shared on your home network. Open up iTunes on another computer and look for your shared library in the left-hand column. Click on it and your tunes should magically appear. Depending on the size of your library, they might take a while to load.
Sharing without your network
Sharing your iTunes library between computers on your home network is one thing, but what if you just want to share an iPod playlist with a friend during a long bus ride? Not to worry. There are a handful of iOS apps that allow you share your iTunes library over a Bluetooth connection. This means you can share iPod/iPhone music with an iPad, or vice versa. We won’t go into how to install each one of these but will instead point you in the direction of a few good options.
MyStream (free): A good Bluetooth streaming option with a few additional features.
PairShare ($0.99): A super easy and feature-rich app that streams your music.
Celeste (for jailbroken devices only): Rather than simply streaming songs, this app lets you send music files directly to other devices.
Download and install any of these apps and you should be streaming tunes within minutes. If we missed any of your favorite methods for sharing an iTunes library, be sure to mention them in the comments!