One of the coolest new features of iOS 4.3 is iTunes Home Sharing to an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. That allows you to stream content, video, music, podcasts from your Mac or PC iTunes library to your handheld iOS device. Here’s how to set it up.
First, this how-to doesn’t go into the differences between the classic iTunes Sharing and Home Sharing. If you’re unsure about that, see “Confused about iTunes Home Sharing?” by Ted Landau or “Activating Home Sharing in iTunes” by this author.
Next, if you’re just getting started with this, it’s probably best to make sure that you only have Home Sharing enabled with one of all your PCs and Macs. That’s usually your primary iTunes Library, all backed up with Time Machine.
1. To recap, to enable Home Sharing on your PC/Mac, go to iTunes 10.2.1 or later (to support iOS 4.3) and click on the Advanced menu.
Select “Turn On Home Sharing.” Enter your corresponding iTunes account name and password for this library. You can share this library with up to five devices. Heretofore, it was just a PC, Mac or Apple TV. With iOS 4.3, you can share to iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
Once you do that, your iTunes Home Sharing is essentially “announced” on your home network.
2. Let’s use an iPad as an example because it’s a lot of fun to stream to. On the iPad, go to Settings -> iPod. In iOS 4.3, you’ll see a new option with the label “Home Sharing.” Again, enter your credentials.
iPad Settings -> iPod
3. Now here’s the tricky part. To receive streamed music, audio books and audio podcasts on the iPad, use the iPod app — which you probably already have in the Dock at the bottom. Then, in a rather counter intuitive fashion, touch the grey bar that says “Library” in the upper left.
Audio Library Selection
At that point you’ll see a popover that shows the Home Shared library you previously enabled. Touch it. Now you can select items from your shared library and play audio them on your iPad.
4. However, to play videos on your iOS device, you’ll have to change apps. This time, launch the Video app, which is also probably in your Dock. Now, you’ll see a new tab item at the top called Shared (touch it) and an icon for your Home Shared library (touch that too.) It may take a few seconds for the item icons to update.
Video Home Shared Icon
When that opens, you’ll see tabs for your Movies, TV Shows, music videos, and video podcasts. Just touch an item to open the player, select an episode if necessary, and stream it to your iPad.
Your shared video content
Now you can roam anywhere within your home Wi-Fi network and curl up with your favorite TV show or movie in your iTunes library without having to actually download it to your iPad. That can save a lot of space, and the only videos you need to sync are those you take on the road.