Managing App Store and iTunes Purchases on Multiple Devices

These days, it is common for people to be interacting with several devices every day. Maybe you have a computer at home and another at work. On top of that, you may have an iPhone, iPad, or possibly an iPod touch. This can make the management of purchased, digital content a little trick. Fortunately, there are simple and built-in controls to help you automatically distribute any music, apps, or books built from Apple’s App Store, iTunes, or iBooks to your devices.

Automatic Downloads in iOS

To set an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to automatically download any content in these categories, tap SETTINGS, then ITUNES & APP STORES. Under the heading AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS are switches for MUSIC, APPS, and BOOKS. Switching any of these to ON will set your iOS device to automatically download any of that type of content purchased with your Apple ID, regardless of where it was originally purchased.

Automatic Downloads in iTunes

This same type of automatic download functionality can be set in iTunes on a Mac or Windows computer. In the iTunes menu bar, click ITUNES, PREFERENCES, and then click the STORE tab at the top of the preferences dialog. Again, under the heading of AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS, are the MUSIC, APPS, and BOOKS categories. Check the box next to any that you wish to have automatically download when purchased from another device.

Manually Downloading

Turning on automatic downloads will download every purchase made with you Apple ID indiscriminately. If you would like more control over which purchased items are downloaded to your devices, you can also manually re-download any purchased items to any device that is currently logged in to the App Store, iTunes, or iBooks with your Apple ID. Simply locate the item you have already purchased in the store, either by searching for it or by looking in the PURCHASED section of the store, and click the same button you would click to purchase it. You may see a notification that you have already purchased this item, and it will now download for free.

Jason Merrill, Mac & iOS Consultant