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How to Authorize and Deauthorize a Computer with iTunes

Updated on July 1, 2016
amuno profile image

Alfred is a long-time teacher and computer enthusiast who works with and troubleshoots a wide range of computing devices.

In order to authorize a computer with iTunes; you should first de-authorize all old computers associated with your Apple ID account.

If you own an iPhone, an iPad, an iPod or any other iDevice and want to maximize it with online purchases like apps, music, movies and other features, you will most definitely have to authorize a computer to work with it.

Apple authorization requires that you own an iDevice, a computer running iTunes and of course, a working iTunes account. An iTunes account is your gate pass to the big world of Apple.

Read here to find out how to create a free iTunes account.

Now that you have a working iTunes account and a computer where you are going to do all your ‘apple’ business, you need to get Apple to give the computer permission to have unrestricted access to your iDevices and your online account.

After you have given that one computer access to your iPhone or iPad, you need to remember that you have only FIVE lives under which to operate. Whatever happened to the legendary nine lives!

An iPhone requires that you authorize a computer with iTunes for you to optimize file transfers and downloads
An iPhone requires that you authorize a computer with iTunes for you to optimize file transfers and downloads

The five lives are what Apple calls Authority, and your computer is thus authorized to work with your iDevice only five times.

What this means is that every time you set up your iPhone to use a new computer, Apple counts that as an authorization. In case you change the computer or make a new installation on your computer and have to set up new connectivity again, Apple counts that as another authorization.

You do this five times and Apple will let you know that you have used up all your five ‘lives’!

However, you can avoid surprises like this when you master how to wisely de-authorise and authorize different computers you use.

How to Deauthorize Old Computers

Upon creating a new iTunes account and authorizing your new computer, avoid running around syncing your iPhones in other computers. Apart from the pain of having to re-install your apps and music, you will be adding to the number of authorizations!

As painful as it is, stick to one computer.

If however you wish to permanently abandon your computer and start using another one, you must do it properly by deauthorizing that computer. It is that simple. When you do this, Apple will reset your authorization to the current state, even after you set up and authorize your other computer.

First get a new copy of iTunes from here and install it in the computer.

  • Open iTunes in the first computer.
  • Click Store from the menu bar.

  • Click Deauthorize This Computer…
  • Apple will prompt you to enter your Apple ID email and password.

  • Fill in this information and select Deauthorise.

  • You will promptly receive confirmation that the computer has been deauthorised.
  • That is all.

At this moment, you will not be able to use features like Sync or less you risk losing your apps. The next time you try to sync your iPhone, Apple will remind you that the computer is not authorized for the apps already installed in your iPhone.

How to Authorize a New Computer with iTunes

After you have decided to abandon one computer for another and have successfully de-authorized the old computer, acquire a new computer and install a new copy of iTunes.

  • Open iTunes.
  • Click Store from the menu bar.

  • Click Authorize This Computer…
  • Apple will prompt you to enter your Apple ID email and password.

  • Fill in this information and select Authorize.

  • You will then receive confirmation that the computer has been authorized.
  • Above that, Apple will let you know the number of times you have authorized computers, out of the available five.
  • Any available authorization simply means missed de-authorization.

What if You Have Used up All your Authorizations?

What if you have used up all your authorizations?

Well, too bad, but no need to worry.

  • Open iTunes.
  • Click Store.
  • Click View My Apple ID.

  • Apple will prompt you to fill in your Apple ID emal and password.

  • Fill in this information and click View Account.
  • You will be re-directed to your Account Information page.
  • Then under Apple ID Summary, move to the last item listed as Computer Authorizations:

  • You should see the number of times your computer(s) has been authorized.
  • Go ahead and click on Deauthorize All!

  • You will then be asked if you want to deauthorize all computers.
  • Click on Deauthorise all computers.
  • You will promptly receive confirmation that all computers have been deauthorized.
  • That is all.

  • But just in case you have done more than your share of deauthorizations, (like yours truly) you will be reminded so and told when to do it again.

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    • amuno profile image
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      Alfred Amuno 4 years ago from Kampala

      You are welcome Spongyollama. It is always a pleasure positive response.

    • Spongy0llama profile image

      Jake Brannen 4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for that. I'm glad there are so many people out there willing to help us techno-challenged get by!