Enjoy iTunes Wherever You Work

The sharing feature built into iTunes lets you stream your media collection to any other networked computer around the house that’s also running iTunes. While iTunes sharing (which uses the Bonjour network protocol) is intended to work only across a local network, with the help of either a Hamachi VPN or a utility called Simplify Media, you can stream iTunes over the Internet to access your content from distant locations like work or a hotspot.

Before you can use either of these options, you must configure iTunes sharing for both the system where your media is stored (we’ll call this system “home”) and the one you’ll use to listen remotely. On the home system, go to the Tunes Edit menu, choose Preferences, then the Sharing tab. Click Share my library on my local network, then choose whether you want to share your entire library or just selected playlists. You can enable the Require password option to keep unauthorized users from viewing or playing shared content.

Now go to the same iTunes Sharing tab on the remote system and enable Look for shared libraries. Your shared library should now appear in the left margin beneath the iTunes Store. (Note: iTunes must be open on the home system for the shared library to appear.)  When you access the library the default view will be a comprehensive list of all available content, but you can click the triangle to display specific playlists or media types like podcasts, videos, etc.

With a few exceptions — most notably, material purchased from Audible.com — most types of iTunes content are available remotely via the Sharing feature. To play anything burdened with DRM, however, you must first authorize the remote computer with your iTunes account info (which you’ll be prompted to do the first time you try to access protected content), and you can only authorize five computers per iTunes account.

Now that you have iTunes sharing up and running, here are two options, each with some pros and cons, to make it work over the Internet as well.

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