Share iPhone Applications Just Like iTunes Songs

| TMO Quick Tip

It's a little-known fact that iPhone applications can be shared amongst family members or a select few trusted friends.  The process is similar to that of sharing purchased songs within iTunes, and goes something like this:

  1. Make sure the Application you wish to share is on your computer.  If you downloaded it directly to your iPhone, you must first sync with your computer to copy it there.
  2. On the computer which has the Application in question, open iTunes, go to Applications, find the app you wish to share, right (or control-) click it, and choose "Show in Finder."
  3. Copy the file shown to the second computer (i.e. the computer that syncs with the iPhone on which you'd like to share this application).
  4. Drag the Application file into iTunes on the second computer, then double-click it within the Applications section of iTunes.
  5. Give iTunes the password of the requested iTunes Store Account -- this will be the account from the first computer you originally used (in Steps #1 and #2)
  6. Sync the iPhone with the second computer.

That should do it.  You now will have the App in question on both iPhones, and it should work perfectly.  Again, this is similar to the music purchased on the iTunes store and will only work on up to 5 other computers.

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You don’t get it, do you?

If I spent $150.00 on apps for my iPod Touch or iPhone, I CAN NOT transfer the apps to a person who buys the Touch or iPhone from me.
That’s $150 I’ve lost.
That’s $150 of value I can not use as a selling point.
That’s $150 more that the buyer would need to spend to get those same apps.

Oh, Apple claims that the ownership of this “software” can be transferred, but short of authorizing their computer on a PERMANENT basis with MY ACCOUNT and with MY PASSWORD, Apple does not provide any other means to transfer the software’s ownership.

I’ve fought Apple 3 times on this in the last 2 years, winning all three times.  I have purposely bought an iPod Touch g2, $500 in software and I am now selling it for $450, software included, but the software can not be transferred.  The buyer will be made fully aware of this.  Then we will contact Apple to discuss this, and Apple will, once again, say “well there is no other way other than giving them your account and password to authorize their computer to use this software you bought.”

We will then begin a $500 million class action lawsuit, (lawyers are already standing by, literally) which I am confident will grow to $2 billion at the least.

But, why is the blind Media (like TMO) never noting that software can not truly be transferred yet Apple claims it can?  Oh, silly me; forgot to put the word “deaf” before the phrase blind Media above; my bad.

Dave Hamilton

Hi MacSpudster—Thanks for the comment.  I can see you’re frustrated and understand exactly why!

However, the article above is only tangentially related to your concern.  This was simply a public service to let folks know that they can *share* applications amongst computers similar to the way songs can be shared, and is not a commentary or opinion on that matter or any other.

Your issue is quite a bit different, and it sounds like you’ve already headed down the legal path to address it.  Good luck, and keep us posted.  This may be news yet!


Why would someone buy your $150 apps at full price?  Wouldn’t it make sense for them to buy your used iPod touch and then purchase new apps that could be shared?

I actually think Apple is being quite generous.  If I buy an app, my family members can share the app on their devices.  In the computer world, I would have to either buy multiple copies or buy a family license. 

Now, if they promise that you can transfer ownership and don’t fulfill, you can certainly sue.  But even then, you shouldn’t expect to get full price for used apps.


Ok, I just looked at the iTunes terms of service.  Apparently you can’t transfer or sell your license.  You can share the app on 5 devices and up to five different accounts.

I think you’re going to lose your lawsuit if you agreed to the Apple terms of service.


Macspudster, so you didn’t bother reading Apple’s Terms of Service before you registered your touch eh? The fact you do not understand the rules does not make them go away. I do enjoy finding posts like this where people are all fired up because they can’t understand a “Terms of Service” or EULA agreement. Kudo’s on your lawsuit, I’ll be watching CNN for fall of Apple to your obvious winner of a case!


This is standard EULA jargon, and you’re not going to beat it. The only way they’ll settle a suit is if you’re a big enough monkey that they don’t even want to bother, which is by no means a moral victory. But if you’re just in it for the money, by all means, be a monkey.


I know how all this works; but still have a problem.

I downloaded an app (Peggle) for my iPod video on one computer; have transferred that app to another of MY computer’s with same iTunes password, etc.
The app WILL NOT download to my ipod video (which has been refreshed), nor to my video iPod 3G from the 2nd computer. Says I don’t have correct permission or some such.



>< My bad, monkey might have been vague. As in, “on their back.”


That sounds like an error I got when my library was lost. I later ripped some new CDs and then couldn’t put them on my iPhone because it’s associated with the old library; I’ll lose all the songs on my iPhone if I sync the new stuff. So I guess each iPod can only be associated with a single computer’s library? I’m not sure who the 2rd Gen iPod is having troubles…


Waaahhhh, I can’t transfer my apps to someone who wants to buy my iPod Touch that I “purposely” bought and put $500 in apps on it. Now I’m going to cry about it because the new owner can’t play with my personal copy of iFart on it and I hope to make billions on this through a lawsuit. Apple is so evil! Why can’t they be more generous and understanding like all the other corporations? Surely Microsoft would understand. It’s not like they don’t demand you put in a fresh license code to install their OS on it unlike those greedy bastards at Apple. Damn them to hell!!!!!!


You can actually download the applications you’ve already purchased again on another person’s computer for free using your apple ID and password. That’s another way to share the applications.

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