iTunes: Deauthorize Before You Sell Your Mac

| TMO Quick Tip

If you’re selling or giving away an old Mac, then there are a ton of steps Apple recommends you take before you do so. The first item on the list, though, is one that people always forget—deauthorizing the computer from playing your iTunes media. Since we’re only allowed to authorize five machines at a time, this is an important thing to do.

To take care of it, open iTunes, click on the “Store” menu at the top, and choose “Deauthorize This Computer.” 

iTunes’ll want to know what Apple ID you’re deauthorizing, so enter that info.

When you’re finished, repeat this process for every Apple ID you’ve authorized on your Mac. That’s all there is to it! But…but…what if you’ve forgotten to do that, and the Mac in question is already gone? You can remove that machine from your authorizations remotely, but unfortunately, there is no way to do one computer at a time—you’ve gotta wipe out all of them and then go back and reauthorize the ones you actually want. Ick.

Keep in mind, too, that you can only deauthorize all of your machines once per year, so don’t go following all these steps just because you’re reading this tip, OK? Save this for when you really need it.

Anyway, here’s how. Open iTunes on your Mac and click on the “iTunes Store” button.

Once you’re there, select the “Account” button on the right and log in. 

Assuming that you have more than one computer already authorized, you’ll see a “Deauthorize All” button under the “Computer Authorizations” section on that next page. Unsurprisingly, you can then click that button to revoke permission to play your media from every machine you’ve allowed in the past.

Then all you need to do is go back to each computer you’re currently using, open iTunes, and pick Store> Authorize This Computer to approve it with your Apple ID again. Easy, right? Not at all cumbersome? OK, that’s actually fairly cumbersome. I understand why Apple won’t allow us to deauthorize more often, but that doesn’t mean I’ve gotta like the process.

Popular TMO Stories



Thanks for the tip:
I do have a bit of a bone to pick with Apple on this though, a couple actually.
5 computers? In my house we have 5 iDevices plus three computers for just two people. Last year I had five active Macs on line. I can’t imagine the juggling people need to do with more people in the house.
It’s insane that you have to blow all of your authorizations away just because that G4 PowerMac you had back in the day wasn’t deleted. I see no reason, technical or security, for you not to be able to log into your account and make any adjustments you want. It’s an anachronism from the ancient times and it’s way beyond time Apple fixed this.

Melissa Holt

Hi geoduck,

iDevices don’t count, so keep in mind it’s just the actual computers…that makes it a bit easier!

I do understand why it’s frustrating that Apple puts these limits on, but I also understand it from their point of view. For example, let’s say you purchase a movie and authorize your friend’s laptop to play that movie, too. Then after your friend watches it, you authorize friend #2 to do the same thing, and so on, and so on. I see it as Apple trying to control the amount of times one can share media, and with more individual control over authorizations, the above scenario would be much more common, I think.


Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account