June 19, 2024
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Posted October 27, 2008 at 8:48pm by iClarified
Portuguese (Brazil)Spanish
These are instructions on how to sync your iPhone with two or more computers at the same time.

To clarify this process a bit the tutorial is divided into two parts. The first part will instruct you on how to obtain the iTunes Library ID from your main computer. The second part will then modify your secondary computer to use the same iTunes Library ID, thus allowing for sync on both.

For your convenience instructions for Part One and Part Two are provided for both Windows and Mac.


PART ONE (MAC):
If your main computer is a Mac start here...

Step One
Open a new Finder window by clicking the Finder icon in the dock.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Two
Select Go to Folder... from the Go menu.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Three
Input ~/Music/iTunes into the textfield then click the Go button.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Four
Double click the file named iTunes Music Library.xml to open it in TextEdit.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Five
Write down the value of the Library Persistent ID key. Take care not to modify the file before closing. It should look something like D501EB4887717F8F.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers


PART ONE (WINDOWS):
If your main computer is a Windows PC start here...

Step One
Press the Windows (Start) button at the bottom left of the screen and select Music from the menu.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Two
Double click the iTunes folder.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Three
Double click the file named iTunes Music Library.xml to open it in Notepad
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Four
Write down the value of the Library Persistent ID key. Take care not to modify the file before closing. It should look something like 20F830293962CBA4
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers


--------------------------------

PART TWO (MAC):
If your secondary computer is a Mac continue here....

Step One
Open a new Finder window by clicking the Finder icon in the dock.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Two
Select Go to Folder... from the Go menu.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Three
Input ~/Music/iTunes into the textfield then click the Go button.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Four
First we will create a backup of iTunes Music Library.xml and iTunes Library. Select both files and press Command+c then Command+v on your keyboard. This will make a backup copy of the files.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Five
Double click to open iTunes Music Library.xml.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Six
Make note of the current Library Persistent ID then change the Library Persistent ID key to the one we wrote down from Part One and save the file.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Seven
Now we will need to open iTunes Library using a HexEditor. You can download HexEdit from here

Step Eight
Once you have opened iTunes Library use HexEdit to search for the old Library Persistent ID we replaced in Step Five. Do this by clicking Find from the Menubar. Make sure to select Hex as your search type.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Eight
Once found replace the old Library Persistent ID with the one from Part One and save the file.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Nine
You can now launch iTunes and connect your iPhone to the new computer for syncing. Select your iPhone from the list of devices on the left. Notice if now select Manually manage music and videos from the Summary Tab you will no longer be prompted to erase your data, nor will the files on your iPhone be grayed out.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers


PART TWO (WINDOWS):
If your secondary computer is a Windows PC continue here....

Step One
Press the Windows (Start) button at the bottom left of the screen and select Music from the menu.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Two
Double click the iTunes folder.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Three
First we will create a backup of iTunes Music Library.xml and iTunes Library.itl. Select both files and press Control+c then Control+v on your keyboard. This will make a backup copy of the files.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Four
Double click to open iTunes Music Library.xml.

Step Five
Make note of the current Library Persistent ID then change the Library Persistent ID key to the one we wrote down from Part One and save the file.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Six
Now we will need to open iTunes Library.itl using a HexEditor. You can download HexEdit from here
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Seven
Once you have opened iTunes Library.itl use HexEdit to search for the old Library Persistent ID we replaced in Step Five. Do this by clicking Find from the Menubar. Make sure to select Hex as your search type.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Eight
Once found replace the old Library Persistent ID with the one from Part One and save the file.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

Step Nine
You can now launch iTunes and connect your iPhone to the new computer for syncing. Select your iPhone from the list of devices on the left. Notice if now select Manually manage music and videos from the Summary Tab you will no longer be prompted to erase your data, nor will the files on your iPhone be grayed out.
How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers

How to Sync Your iPhone With Multiple Computers


THANKS***: This tutorial is based on the discovery by Andrew Grant. He deserves credit for his work. You can check out his blog posting on the subject here
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Comments (100)
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JerryLwin
JerryLwin - November 3, 2015 at 4:50am
All the parts are okay until i tried to find the older ID with hexedit and it stated the string is not found and I was stuck in a dead end. Any solutions?
CanadianOwl
CanadianOwl - February 8, 2014 at 7:50pm
The problem with MultiTunes is that it doesn't work with iTunes 11 according to their own website. Thanks to Lauren. Her suggestions worked.
Floke
Floke - January 8, 2014 at 1:17pm
1. Close everything; 2. Jailbreak your iDevice; 3. Install MultiTunes. Cya!
Owen
Owen - December 9, 2013 at 1:57am
If you follow this tutorial could you sync your iphone with any computer that has itunes without having to delete your library?.
Lauren
Lauren - June 15, 2013 at 12:10am
I tried this and it worked for my iPod, but not my iPhone and they were from the same library and had the same Library Persistent ID. Any idea why this might've happened?
Damian
Damian - June 6, 2013 at 11:13pm
1) Close iTunes 2) Update the .xml file with the persistent ID 3) delete sentinel file 4) Delete .itl file and recreate a text-file with the same name.
The Helped
The Helped - August 23, 2015 at 9:26am
THANKKKSSSS TOO YOOUUU!!!!!!!!!! EVERYONE, THIS GUY HAS THE KEY!!! Its 3:18 in the morning, and i have finally concluded my search for this single elusive answer!! KUDOS!! The trick wasn't working for my iphone until I did THIS!! Thank you! Quote of Damian: 1) Close iTunes 2) Update the .xml file with the persistent ID 3) delete sentinel file 4) Delete .itl file and recreate a text-file with the same name. THANKS DAMIAN!!!
lucky005
lucky005 - May 17, 2013 at 2:18am
this option is not working for me it resets to the original value what should be done please tell
Chris
Chris - April 21, 2013 at 2:42pm
I have tried this several times, but the ID keeps getting reset within the "iTunes Library.itl" file which then updates the .xml file. I have even tried setting the .itl file to read only but then Itunes won't open complaining that the file is locked. Wow. I never had an issue copying music from anywhere with my droid.
yo
yo - April 20, 2013 at 11:07pm
easy uh?
Sam
Sam - January 29, 2013 at 11:35am
I'm pretty sure this no longer works on iTunes 11
Syltrem
Syltrem - January 9, 2013 at 11:43pm
My iTunes Library.itl file contains all NULLs (00 00 00...) Is this normal ? Possibly because I don't sync music automatically, but manually ?
Sam
Sam - January 29, 2013 at 11:43am
That's probably because your iTunes is open, but (refer to what I said above, I think they patched it in iTunes 11.) Everything seems to revert to the old Persistent ID. I also noticed that there is a file named "Sentinel" (If you show hidden folders.) Using HexEdit, you'll see that it also has the ID in it. I changed all 3 ID's (iTunes library.itl, iTunes Music Library.xml and the Sentinel's file ID) with iTunes 11 reverting it straight back to the original IDs.. Pretty sure I've done everything correctly, iTunes was also closed for the duration.
Syltrem
Syltrem - January 29, 2013 at 12:53pm
I couldn't get it to work with iTunes 11 so I decided to use gSyncit and open a Google mail account for contacts/calendars. I was already syncing Tasks/Notes with Toodledo using gSyncit so that wasn't a big deal at this point. I just find Apple is not making my life any easier despite what they say. The Palm TX was so much simpler - all apps were syncing automagically to Palm Desktop on multiple computers. Each 3rd party app was installing a conduit where needed (time sheet, encrypted notes...), and you only had 1 button to press to sync everything. And your data was local on your own machines. With Apple you have to install other pieces of software on top of iTunes/Outlook, open up accounts on different Web services, and your data is dispersed overs a few Internet servers (cloud) over which you have absolutely no control. There are advantages to that too, mind you, but only if I happen to have my iPhone stolen while away at the end of the world (not often...) Bad Apple, instead of improving they make things ever so complicated.
Sharmistha
Sharmistha - September 2, 2012 at 3:24pm
hi...while saving itunes music library.xml in apple editor after changing the persistent key, it shows following syntax error- A “<” can’t go here. plsss tell a way out....
keny
keny - November 19, 2012 at 9:32pm
are u sure u did not tamper with anything else in there?.... btw it seems to b a 2 month old query...did u happen to fix it by now?
Filo
Filo - August 23, 2012 at 7:56am
In stage 8 of the instructions, you say that we have to replace the OLD LIBRARY PERSISTENT ID with the no. obtained from stage 1 - but this is the SAME number surely? Please clarify. Thanks.
ken
ken - August 19, 2012 at 9:49pm
Any way to do this for a new mac which has mountain lion? Mountain lion is not allowing itunes 10 to be downgraded to itunes9 by uninstalling and the technic specified in this post does not work because itunes reverts the ID back to what it was. Any more options?
Rick
Rick - November 19, 2012 at 8:27pm
did you ever get it working in iTunes 10 on mountain lion? I've used several different text editors and check the string in both lib files and it keeps reverting back to the old persistent id.
ken
ken - November 19, 2012 at 9:28pm
yes it worked after some of these steps - first go to the applications folder and go to "show info" for itunes app [select itunes and hit command+i] > here change the permissions to "read & write" for everything > now trash itunes and it should go off > now download an older version of itunes and install it [something lower than 10]... after this try the entire process and it should retain the persistant ID this time..... theres something with itunes 10 which reverts it to the previous default id... try this and see.
rick
rick - November 19, 2012 at 10:06pm
thanks will try and repost
rick
rick - November 19, 2012 at 11:34pm
so, had to downgrade, change user permissions on mountain lion to delete iTunes, then deleted iTunes folder, installed previous version of iTunes, changed the xml, then the hex edit (super easy btw), downloaded newest iTunes, works, done. thank you.
JK
JK - April 24, 2013 at 3:28pm
Im trying to still figure out how the hex edit works. I copied old itl file, pasted it in hex editor and clicked search but i get nothing. And once you do find it, how do you replace it? this is the only step im confused about. Thanks
bedroom wallpaper
bedroom wallpaper - May 9, 2012 at 7:38am
Hello Fairly excellent submit, This webpage presents helpful data to us, I praise you Thank you!
Oscar Romero
Oscar Romero - May 25, 2011 at 9:47am
Hi, I don’t need to sync my iPhone with multiple computers, but I have a new laptop (PC) nad all I want is to be able to Sync my iPhone 4 and iPod Touch with my new laptop and stop syncing with the old one. Is this possible?
Dave
Dave - November 1, 2011 at 10:28pm
Same as me, I tried this - without success... has it been disabled in iTunes 10?
wilson
wilson - December 29, 2010 at 3:02pm
i dont think this works for itunes 10 . . . cause it still prompts me to erase & sync , & when i check back into the files, the old code reappears. i have done this successfully on other computers, i dont know whats causing this problem now, especially since none of the files are read only.
thewolfe
thewolfe - December 14, 2010 at 3:45pm
I've installed iTunes on my new computer and then copied the iTunes folder from my old computer and replaced that folder on my new computer and it has worked two different times.
Jeannie
Jeannie - January 24, 2012 at 5:49am
I discovered numerous fascinating stuff in your blog particularly the on going conversation. From the tons of comments on your articles.Great work.Keep it up.
John Yoder
John Yoder - November 10, 2010 at 12:30pm
This does not work in iTunes 10. HOWEVER, if you roll back to 9.2.1, it DOES work, then you can upgrade back to 10.
honey glazed
honey glazed - February 1, 2011 at 12:17pm
Nice one John Yoder -- if you roll back to 9.2.1, follow tutorial, then update to current iTunes, it works like a dream. Much thanks.
Amanda
Amanda - May 22, 2012 at 8:53pm
Yes! Uninstalled iTunes 10, installed 9.2.1, edited the files and then upgraded. Works fine!
TorontoBoy
TorontoBoy - November 1, 2010 at 9:32pm
Yes, sadly this no longer works in iTunes 10. On the "secondary" computer, i.e. the one where we change the ID manually, the ID gets reset to its original value by iTunes once any action (e.g. playing a song or, more importantly, plugging in a device) is performed. Interestingly if you just load iTunes and quit, the ID change does stick. So it seems iTunes is reading the ID from somewhere else. Perhaps from another settings/preference file? (Hopefully) Worst case is that this is now a hard-coded check and the ID is based on something we can't easily change (e.g. hardware ID/CPU serial number/MAC/etc or derivation from one of those). I'll keep checking back to see if someone's come up with a workaround! I'll keep playing with it too... It's really too bad since the new sync provided by Apple is only for purchases from their store, not any other files (which could be perfectly legal as well, such as CD imported MP3s).
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