Can you exchange songs on iTunes?

Quick Answer

You cannot directly exchange purchased songs between iTunes accounts. However, there are a few legal ways to share iTunes content with others:

  • Gift a song, album, or iTunes Gift Card to another user
  • Use Home Sharing to share your library with family members
  • Burn songs to a CD then give it to someone else
  • Authorize up to 5 computers on your account to access your library

Selling or sharing your account details is against iTunes Terms of Service. You cannot transfer purchased content between different Apple IDs.

Gifting iTunes Content

One way to legally share iTunes songs is by gifting content to other users. You can gift a single song, entire album, movie, TV show, app, or book to someone else. Here’s how:

  1. Open iTunes and find the content you want to gift.
  2. Right-click on the content and select Gift from the menu.
  3. Enter the recipient’s email address and personal message.
  4. Click Next and sign in with your Apple ID to complete the transaction.

The recipient will receive an email with redemption instructions. Once redeemed, the content will be added to their iTunes library.

You can also gift an iTunes Gift Card, allowing the recipient to select their own content. iTunes Gift Cards are available in various denominations from $10 to $100.

Gifting is a convenient way to legally share iTunes content with family and friends. However, you cannot gift songs that have already been gifted to you.

Home Sharing

Home Sharing allows you to share your iTunes library with people in your household. To set up Home Sharing:

  1. Enable Home Sharing in iTunes on your computer.
  2. Enter your Apple ID and password.
  3. On another device, sign in with the same Apple ID used for Home Sharing.

Up to 5 devices can access the shared library simultaneously. This allows family members to stream and download each other’s iTunes content without having to pay for separate copies.

However, there are some limitations:

  • Devices must be on the same WiFi network.
  • The Apple ID owner must approve each device.
  • Content is only accessible while devices are connected.
  • Any user can access the entire shared library.

Overall, Home Sharing is a good way for families to share iTunes content. But it does not allow targeted sharing of specific songs or transferring content between different Apple IDs.

Burning Songs to a CD

You can burn purchased iTunes songs onto a CD, then give the CD to someone else. They can add the songs into their own iTunes library by ripping the CD.

To burn a playlist:

  1. Create a playlist with the songs you want to burn.
  2. Insert a blank CD into your computer.
  3. Select the playlist and click Burn Playlist to Disc.
  4. Customize the burn settings and click Burn.

The recipient can then import the songs into their iTunes by inserting the CD and clicking File > Import CD.

Burning songs to share is legal. However, large-scale burning with intent to sell is illegal. The recipient also must rip and import the songs themselves – you cannot simply give them copied music files.

Authorizing Computers

Your iTunes account can be authorized on up to 5 computers at once. This allows all authorized computers to access your purchased content.

To authorize a computer:

  1. Open iTunes and sign in with your Apple ID.
  2. Go to Account > Authorizations > Authorize This Computer.
  3. Enter your Apple ID password to complete authorization.

You can deauthorize computers you no longer use to free up an authorization slot. Deauthorizing does not remove content – it only disables access.

This approach allows you to legally share your purchased songs with others by authorizing their computers. However, you cannot selectively authorize access to certain songs – the entire library is shared.

Why You Cannot Transfer Purchased Songs Between Accounts

iTunes does not allow directly transferring purchased content between different Apple IDs. There are a few reasons why:

  • Apple’s licensing agreements with record labels restrict song transfers.
  • Transferring songs enables piracy by allowing duplicated copies.
  • Apple wants each user to pay for their own content.
  • Sharing logins violates iTunes Terms of Service.

When you purchase songs on iTunes, the terms state that you are only entitled to use that content yourself. Unauthorized sharing is considered copyright infringement.

If transferring songs was allowed, one user could purchase content then distribute it to many others. This would greatly reduce iTunes revenue, since only one person has to pay.

While it may be inconvenient, prohibiting song transfers helps curb piracy. It also ensures that content creators get properly compensated based on the number of actual listeners.

Risks of Sharing Apple IDs

Since you cannot directly exchange purchased iTunes songs, some users share their Apple IDs to access each other’s content. However, this comes with substantial risks:

  • Violates iTunes Terms of Service – your account could get banned.
  • No control over purchases – the other person can buy content on your account.
  • Access to private data – contacts, notes, photos, and more could be exposed.
  • Potential for account hijacking if login details are misused.

Apple expressly prohibits sharing Apple IDs in their terms for iTunes, iCloud, and other services. If caught, they reserve the right to suspend your access and forfeit any account credit.

It’s also impossible to prevent the other person from purchasing songs, apps, etc. on your account. At best, it will clutter your library. At worst, they could run up charges on your payment method.

Your Apple ID provides access to many personal data sources like iCloud, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos, Notes, and more. Sharing credentials compromises your privacy and allows others to view, edit, or delete your private data.

Finally, access to your Apple ID also gives access to reset the password. If the other person changes the password, they could lock you out of your own account permanently.

For these reasons, sharing Apple IDs is extremely risky and not recommended. While inconvenient, creating separate accounts and utilizing gifting or Home Sharing is far more secure.

Legal Alternatives to Get Free Music

Since transferring purchased songs between iTunes accounts is prohibited, what are some legal ways to get free music instead? Here are a few options:

Use a Free Streaming Service

Streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music allow free access to millions of songs, though with advertisements and other limitations. You cannot download songs to own permanently, but it is legal to stream for free. This allows you to legally hear many new songs without paying.

Borrow CDs from the Library

See if your local library offers CDs you can check out and rip just like with purchased discs. The selection is typically limited but it is a legal free option for discovering new artists.

Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts offer free music, commentary, interviews, and more. Most allow listeners to download episodes or stream directly in iTunes. It’s a great legal way to discover new music.

Listen to FM Radio

FM radio stations broadcast music for free over the airwaves. You can listen directly in iTunes or using a separate radio tuner. Recording and keeping the songs is illegal, but listening is not.

Attend Free Concerts

Many cities host free public concerts and music festivals, particularly in the summer. It’s a fun way to experience live music at no cost. Performers range from unknown local acts to some internationally recognized bands.

Use Legal Torrents

Some artists distribute free music on torrent sites as a promotional tool. Downloading songs legally uploaded by the artist or their label is okay. Just be sure to verify the legitimacy before downloading.

The key is finding legal methods to get free music. While iTunes sharing restrictions may be inconvenient, violating copyright should always be avoided. There are plenty of legitimate alternatives to discover and enjoy new music without resorting to piracy.


You cannot directly exchange purchased iTunes songs between accounts due to licensing restrictions and Apple’s terms of service. Sharing your Apple ID with others also comes with substantial security and privacy risks.

However, you can still legally share your music library using iTunes gifting, Home Sharing, CD burning, or computer authorization. These allow access to your content without compromising accounts or promoting piracy.

If you want free music, use streaming services, borrow CDs, listen to podcasts, radio, live shows, and legal torrents. With so many options, there is no need to illegally duplicate and distribute songs.

While transferring music between iTunes accounts may seem convenient, doing so violates copyright and Apple’s acceptable use policies. Find legal methods to build your library and discover new music. Respect content creators by compensating them properly for their work.