1 iPhone, 2 (or more) iTunes accounts

I bought my iPhone 3GS a year before moving to the UK so by the time I arrived I’d accumulated a lot of apps from the Australian iTunes store. Living in the UK I also wanted access to UK-only apps such as transport, banking and special offer apps that aren’t available from the Australian store. I did some research online and found stories from people that had converted their account from one country to another but it meant they were no longer able to update apps that were downloaded from the original store: they were stuck at whatever version was downloaded before the change. Eventually I found out you can sync multiple accounts (from various countries) to the same device through iTunes, so that’s what I ended up doing.

I currently have 3 accounts synced to my iPhone:

  1. My original account (Australian iTunes store)
  2. My new account (UK iTunes store)
  3. Alex’s account (Australian iTunes store)

For the UK store I created a new account with one of my other email addresses and used my UK bank account details. My Australian account is still active as I still have an Australian bank account. I generally leave iTunes and my iPhone logged into my Australian account, but if I want to download an app only available on the UK store all I need to do is log out of the iTunes store and log back in again with my UK details. You are automatically redirected to the UK store where you can then download apps (or music for that matter) the same way you would with your usual account.

You can also sync friends’ or family members’ accounts as anyone can share their account with up to 5 other computers. This so families can share music or apps without everyone having to pay for and download them individually. (I wish I’d figured this out earlier as Alex and I have both bought the same apps on multiple occasions but only one of us needed to have paid for it!) To do this:

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Go to the iTunes Store
  3. Click your username in the top right corner
  4. Click “Sign Out”
  5. Click “Sign In” in the top right corner
  6. The person who is going to share their account with you now needs to log in with their details
  7. iTunes will ask if you want to authorise this computer for this account – say yes
  8. Search for apps your friend/family member has already purchased
  9. The button for the app will say DOWNLOAD instead of showing a price – click this and the app will be downloaded to your iTunes at no additional cost
  10. When you sync your device the new apps will be copied over
  11. To get back to your account log out of the other person’s, log back in as yourself and continue using the iTunes store as normal

The only trick with multiple accounts is you can only update apps for the account you are currently logged into. You can do this from your iPhone but I find the easiest way is via iTunes:

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Go to Apps (the number displayed next to this will be the total number of app updates are available for regardless of which account they came from)
  3. Click “# Updates Available” in the lower right corner
  4. Click “Download All Free Updates” – this will only download the updates available for the apps you downloaded from the account you are currently logged into in the iTunes store
  5. Go to the iTunes Store
  6. Log out of that account, log into the next one (so if one of the accounts is a friend’s and they don’t trust you with their password – as anyone probably shouldn’t! – then your friend will need to log in for you each time you want to download updates for apps from their account)
  7. Go back to Apps > # Updates Available
  8. Click “Download All Free Updates”
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 until all apps from all accounts are up to date
  10. Resync iTunes with your device

It may seem a bit convoluted at first but once you get used to it it’s not so bad. Enjoy!

One thought on “1 iPhone, 2 (or more) iTunes accounts

  1. Pingback: Thanks for 2000 visits! | dinosaurs can't knit


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