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How to Share Music Over the Network on macOS Catalina

How to Share Music Over the Network on macOS Catalina

Sharing media is one of the advantages of having your own home network, and Apple makes it easy. After you share music and video content, you can access it from Mac, Windows PC, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV on the network.

What media can you share using macOS?

macOS comes with everything you need to start sharing audio and video media. On macOS Mojave and before, all you have to do is share your iTunes media library. Now, on macOS Catalina, iTunes has been officially stopped.

This has caused some confusion about where the features are now found, because Apple has shuffled various iTunes features around. In addition to sharing music and video libraries, macOS also includes basic file sharing, printer sharing, internet connection sharing, and practical screen sharing features for technical support.

All of these sharing features can now be accessed from the Sharing panel in System Preferences.

Enable Media Sharing for Music and Video

Before you can access your media through a network, you must enable media sharing.

To do this on macOS Catalina or newer:

1. Launch System Preferences and click “Share.”
2.Click “Media Sharing” and make sure the “On” box to the left is checked.
3.Enable Home Sharing and authorization with your Apple ID and password.
4.Set whether you want to play remotely to update your number of plays and if you want photos to be accessible to any Apple TV on the network.
5.Click “Options” and set a password if you want to keep other users away from your library.

Images by howtogeek

The choice to set a password is up to you, but it will make accessing your shares a little more complicated through the network. Remember that sharing will not allow other users to change or damage your library, and only provide read-only access.

If You Cannot Activate Media Sharing

A common complaint from Mac users is that they cannot enable media sharing because they cannot check the relevant box in the Sharing preferences. If you experience this problem, then you should try to deauthorize and reauthorize your Mac in each application.

To do this on macOS Catalina or newer:

1.Launch the Music and TV application.
2.At the top of the screen, click Account> Authorization> Remove authorization for this computer (do this in both applications).
3.Now click Account> Authorization> Authorize This Computer (do this in both applications)
4.Try sharing your media library again using the instructions above.

Images by howtogeek

Are You Still Running MacOS Mojave or Before?

If you haven’t yet upgraded to macOS Catalina, you can still share your library. You have to do it the old way:

1.Launch iTunes and wait for it to load.
2.At the top of the screen, click on iTunes> Preferences.
3.Under the Sharing tab, enable “Share my library on my local network” and indicate whether you want to share it all or only certain playlists.
4.Set password requirements and whether remote playback updates the number of plays.

Images by howtogeek

How to Access Shared Media Through Networks

Now that you have shared your media over the network, you can access it from other devices. Remember that the device cannot access your Mac media library when it is turned off.

To access your media from a Mac running MacOS Catalina or newer:

Launch the Music or TV application.
Click Library. (This is only required in the TV application.)
Click the drop-down arrow next to “Library” in the sidebar.
Select the library that you want to stream and wait for TV or Music to update the available content.
Switch back to your library by clicking on the drop-down arrow and selecting “My library.”

(If the Mac still runs MacOS Mojave or earlier, launch iTunes and use the sidebar on the Library tab to find shared media.)

Images by howtogeek

To access media from an iPhone or iPad:

Launch the Music or TV application on your iOS device.
Open the Library tab.
Tap “Share Home,” then tap your library. (For TV applications, you can choose Library.)
Wait for the application to connect, then play your media.

Note: You can “rewind” from this menu to return to your regular library.

Images by howtogeek

To access media from a Windows PC:

Launch iTunes.
Click the Library tab.
In the sidebar, click the drop-down box next to “Library” and select the library you want to use.
Wait for the available media to be refreshed.
Switch back to your library by clicking on the drop-down arrow and selecting “My library.”

To access media from Apple TV:

Go to Settings> Users and Accounts and select Home Sharing.
Log in with your Apple ID and password if necessary.
Now launch the “Computers” application from the dashboard and select the shared library to play.

If You Already Used the iCloud Music Library

If you subscribe to Apple Music, and you use the iCloud Music Library to maintain synchronization of your library between devices, you don’t need to do this. Your library must be the same no matter what device you are using.

Likewise, TV shows and purchased movies are always available for download again under the “Purchase” section of the application you are using.


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