Finally, one of the greatest features missing from Aplpe iOS devices ( iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) has now been made available as of iOS4.3…Home Share.
Home Share has been around in some guise for a fear or two now, allowing computers on the same network to see, browse and play music and videos from other iTunes Libraries on the network. What was lacking, however, was the ability for an Apple iOS device to see and stream this content whilst on the same network, it was restricted to OS X and Windows operating systems running the latest iTunes.
Let’s say I’d just purchased the latest XX Album in iTunes on my Mac Pro, if I wanted to listen to that on my iPhone 4 whilst in the garden (still connected to WiFi) I’d have to connect the iPhone up via USB and sync the new album to the iPhone. Not a big hassle but still inconvenient [hopefully one day soon Apple will pull their finger out and enable WiFi syncing of content to an iOS device, USB cables are so 2000].
The idea of Home Share is that now, any iOS device on my WiFi network can see, search and stream/play any content from another computer running iTunes on the same network, just what I’ve been after. Finally I can keep movies on my Mac Pro’s huge RAID hard drives and lie in the garden or in bed and stream a movie to my iPad.
Unfortunately I couldn’t get it working, no matter what I selected in the iTunes preferences pane the “Shared” option wouldn’t appear on my iPhone or iPad.
I double checked on the iOS devices that I had entered the correct Apple ID in the Home Share settings:
I made sure the iOS devices were updated to iOS4.3 and iTunes was on the very latest 10.2.1 and rebooted everything.
It still wouldn’t work. I powered on my Macbook Air and enabled Home Sharing on that and that instantly showed up on the iOS devices….so the iOS devices are behaving correctly but for some reason iTunes on my Mac Pro wasn’t playing ball. I checked to see if it was a firewall issue but the firewall on my Mac Pro is off (Firewall is handled by the router and TimeCapsule). Eventually I found out what I had to do….and felt like a right idiot for not spotting it sooner!
In iTunes I’d been check in the Preferences to “Enable Sharing” but what I had failed to spot in the Advanced menu was “Turn Home Sharing On”!! Err that could be the reason it’s not working. By default this option is set to be ON but I do vaugely remember turning it off last year when trying to debug some network latency issues with my Apple TVs.
In iTunes click on Advanced in the tool-bar at the top:
Select the option to Turn On Home Sharing [if it says turn Off Home sharing then your Home Sharing is already on and you have another problem, sorry]
Once you’ve done this, you should see a new Home Share icon in the side bar:
Click on that and then in the right hand pane enter your Apple ID (email address) and password and hit Create Home Share:
You should then be greeted with a screen saying that Home Sharing is now on and confirming the email address used to create the home share. [NOTE Make sure this matches the email address entered on the iPod settings screen on the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch.]
Now on your iOS device, when you go into the iPod app and click on “more” in the bottom right corner on the iPhone/iPOd touch or Library at the top left of the iPad you should be able to see the new Shared section and select the library you just shared:
So if you’re having difficulty getting your Home Share visible on your iOS device:
- Make sure your devices are on the same network, this is crucial! If you have multiple WiFi networks all devices that home share MUST BE ON THE SAME NETWORK. If, like me, you have an Apple Airport Extreme or TimeCapsule computers connect via ethernet cables are classed as being on the same network as the WiFi devices.
- Make sure your iTunes is fully up to date, at the time of writing that is version 10.2.1
- Make sure your iOS devices are fully up to date, at the time of writing that is version iOS4.3
- Ensure you have entered the same Apple ID on both iTunes and iOS settings.
- Finally, and most important, make sure Home Sharing is turned ON in the advanced settings of iTunes, see above screen shots.