Baffled By Home Sharing Not Working

  • Posted: 05 October 2009 09:51 PM

    Tale of two Mac Minis:

    First Mac Mini is a 1.25 GHz PowerPC Mac Mini and the other an 2.0 GHz Intel Mac Mini. Both running 10.5.8. Both updated to iTunes 9.0.1.
    iTunes/ preferences/sharing: “Look for Shared libraries” and “Share My Library on Local Network” checked on both Macs. At bottom, in “Status” on both Macs is the words: “on, no users connected.”

    Home Sharing is turned on for both Mac Minis. Icon disappears as soon as I click on done. So no house icon on either. Only have one iTunes account so that is the account I am using to sign into, on both Macs.

    I should mention that the iTunes Music libraries are not on the internal drives of either Mac Mini but pointed to and on external hard drives. (when streaming music before the update, this configuration was not a problem and it worked fine.)

    Went online to see if I could get any ideas as to what I am doing wrong. According to Apple’s Home Sharing trouble shooting page, I have everything checked that they say needs to be checked. The only thing that baffles me is being sure the two Mac Minis are on the same network. I think they are but I am not sure.

    The PPC Mac Mini is a first generation Mac Mini (my joke concerning this machine is that it is the very FIRST Mac Min, the one Steve J., himself, kicked out the door) and is connected to the Intel Mac Mini (2007) via Ethernet cable. The Intel Mac Mini is connected to the internet, wirelessly, via an Airport Express, which is connected to Comcast cable modem.

    Thing is, how can I tell that the Mac Minis are on the same network? With this arrangement, the PPC Mac Mini gets on the internet no problem through the internet connection being shared by the Intel Mac Mini. File sharing works fine if that is checked and enabled, but it is not currently enabled. Enabling file sharing does not solve the Home Sharing problem. Didn’t think it would. But the two computers do see each other fine and appear on each other’s finder windows when File sharing is enabled.

    It used to be, before updating to iTunes 9, that I could stream music from the Intel Mac Mini to the PPC Mac Mini fine just by checking the sharing buttons in the iTunes sharing preferences. What is different now?

    Probably something simple but I am too baffled and know not enough about networking to solve this myself. Hope you can help me.

    Thanks so much. -Charlotte

  • Posted: 06 October 2009 03:15 AM #1

    If they are on the same network, you should be able to see them in the sidebar in the finder, and also you should see the shared libraries.

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    Posted: 06 October 2009 05:17 AM #2

    Is it possible to connect both Mac’s to the Airport Express directly via WiFi /Airport rather than using Internet connection sharing between the two Mac’s? I think this would generally be a much better network layout, but certainly would be worth trying as a step to resolve this issue.

  • Posted: 06 October 2009 12:49 PM #3


    Thanks, JeffCGD. Yeah, this is why I was toying with the idea that they are not on the same network, somehow. Neither Mac Mini has the other listed on the left side bar of their iTunes’ windows. The icon appears when Home Sharing is selected but not activated. As soon as I sign in and activate it, the icon disappears. Both Macs activate, but see that something is wrong or they can’t see another Mac and the icons vanish. Clearly, I’ve got something set wrong, but what?

    Thank you, gregriley. I would try that if there was a way but my tiny networked collection of Apple devices consist of an Airport Express, the two Mac Minis and an iPod Touch, with their limited ports and ways of connecting.

    The reason I got the Airport Express was I was hoping to have it do double duty by being my main router at home, handling the WiFi, and coming with me when I travel. And that works fabulously! But because of it’s limited ports and the fact that the PPC Mac Mini does not have an Airport card, I still have to connect the PPC Mac Mini to the Intel Mac Mini to get it online.

    (And yes, the two Mac Minis sit right next to each other; they aren’t the only tiny things around here. The house is too!)

    The Airport Express is the first router I have ever owned, so I am pretty new to this. Before, I had used the Intel Mac Mini as the router, with it handling the WiFi so I can get online with the iPod Touch. When I had it set up that way, the ethernet cable went from the cable modem right into the Intel Mac Mini and the internet was shared through to the PPC Mac Mini using FireWire. When I added the Airport Express and connected to it, wirelessly, with the Intel Mac Mini, to get the PPC Mac Mini online, I had to find the setting that allowed the sharing via Airport and not through Ethernet. Sharing occurred through the FireWire cable, initially, but since Home Sharing didn’t work, I changed it to using the Ethernet cable because I had thought that, perhaps, Home Sharing would work through Ethernet. But it still doesn’t work.

    Is it possible that something that was set in the old configuration is what is preventing Home Sharing from working now? Like, maybe, the fact that Intel Mac Mini used to be the router before I set up the Airport Express and there is some conflict going on, now, and that is the problem. Sorry, I guess I’m still new in trying to understand the networking thing.

    If File Sharing is turned on, on both Macs and they can see each other, appearing on each other’s finder list, then doesn’t this mean they are on the same network? If this is not networking, what is it?

    Home Sharing feature is the only thing I can find that doesn’t work. Everything else I want to do, including remote login, printer sharing, getting online, etc. works great.

    Ah but it is true that I can’t stream iTunes content through like I used to be able to do, before getting the Airport Express and upgrading to iTunes 9. Hmm…

    I don’t get it… ?...

    Any ideas?

    Thank so much! -Charlotte

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    Posted: 06 October 2009 01:12 PM #4

    Have you got the first two check boxes ticked in itunes preferences, sharing tab? they are:

    Look for shared libraries

    Share my library on my local network

  • Posted: 06 October 2009 02:36 PM #5

    I’d suggest simplifying your network by buying an inexpensive router. You can either buy a new WiFi router with four ethernet ports or, if you still want to use the Airport Express for WiFi, it can be ethernet only, with the Airport Express connected to one of the ports and acting as a WiFi access point (you set “connection sharing” in the internet settings within the Airport Utility to “off (bridge mode)”).

    Linksys, D-Link, probably Netgear and others still sell routers without WiFi (the Linksys BEFSR41, the D-Link EBR-2310 are examples).

  • Posted: 07 October 2009 01:21 PM #6

    The Easiest Way To Check If Your Computers Are On The Same Network ( Or SubNet, Technically ) Is To Check Their I.P. Addresses ( System Preferences -> Network ).

    You Should See That There Are Four Sets Of Numbers Seperated By Three Dots In The Format.

    If The First Three Sets Of Numbers Are The Same, This Theoretically Should Be A Clear Indication That Both Your Computers Are On The Same SubNet / Network.

    Typical Examples Are: And And
    ( The 192.168.2.XXX Parts Are The Same, The Only Change Is The Last Number )

    Or And And
    ( The 10.0.0.XXX Parts Are The Same, The Only Change Is The Last Number )

    [ Edited: 07 October 2009 01:42 PM by McDughf ]      
  • Posted: 07 October 2009 01:39 PM #7

    Alright, Just Had Some TIme to Kill So Have Analysed Your Setup A Little Bit More ( Honest, I’m Not A Technician OR A Geek, I Was Just Bored!! ;P )

    Correct Me If I Am Wrong, But :

    1.  Your Internet Is Accessed From a Modem With Ethernet Port
    2.  Said Modem Is Connected To The Airport Express VIa Ethernet
    3.  iPod Touch Accesses Internet Wirelessly Via Airport Express
    4.  Intel Mac Mini Accesses Internet Wirelessly, Also Via Airport Express
    5.  PPC Mac Mini Accesses Internet Through Firewire Sharing From Intel Mac Mini

    The Way I See It, The Easiest Way Out Of Your Situation Is To Buy An Inexpensive Wifi USB Dongle For The PPC Mac Mini - They Vary In Price Between Ten To Twenty Pounds ( 15 - 25 US Dollars ).  Have All The Devices Connect Wirelessly To The Airport Express.  This Is The Lowest Cost Solution I Can Think Of, And The Easiest.

    For A NO Cost Solution, I Think That Your Particular Setup Is The Best Way To Go, With Your Current Hardware.  You May Also Try Looking Into Internet Sharing Over Ethernet - Possibly A Better Solution As Long As Both Machines Are Gigabit - Else Your Firewire Configuration Is The Best.

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    Posted: 07 October 2009 02:04 PM #8

    McDughf - 07 October 2009 04:21 PM

    The Easiest Way To Check If Your Computers Are On The Same Network ( Or SubNet, Technically ) Is To Check Their I.P. Addresses ( System Preferences -> Network ).

    You Should See That There Are Four Sets Of Numbers Seperated By Three Dots In The Format.

    If The First Three Sets Of Numbers Are The Same, This Theoretically Should Be A Clear Indication That Both Your Computers Are On The Same SubNet / Network.

    Typical Examples Are:



    I would be cautious of this method as most computers on local area networks (LAN’s) use these ip ranges, as they are internal ranges reserved for use on private networks (LAN’s). Every broadband type router I have seen by default hands out IP addresses using DHCP in the 192.168 range. The point is your computer and mine could well have similar or even identical ip addresses but it does not mean we are on the same LAN. When using WiFi it is quite possible for one device to sneak on to a neighbours Wireless network if it is not secured and be assigned an ip address from that router. I would favour looking at the routers DHCP clients table or similar depending on the model, or using PING or TRACEROUTE from the terminal. for example you could type


    into the terminal on both computers and check that they take the same route, as the first step is likely to be your router and then the next steps go through your Internet provider, and hopefully not that of your neighbours.

    [ Edited: 07 October 2009 02:08 PM by gregriley ]      
  • Posted: 07 October 2009 03:13 PM #9

    Hey Greg,

    You Are Absolutely Correct In All What You Said, And Heck The 192.168 Blah Is Standard Issue On Nearly All The Routers i Have Ever Had To Setup, But To Be Honest I Find It Hard To Believe ( Although NOT Impossible ;P ) You Could “Accidentally” Attach Yourself To Your Neighbors Router.

    I Believe You Have Provided The Best Way Of Finding Out The Network Route; I Was Sorta Gunning For The Less Technical Approach smile

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    Posted: 07 October 2009 03:36 PM #10

    I do not think Neighbornet is the case in this problem but this link amuses me. On a more serious note and the reason I discovered the link /definition was because of the discussion about wifi in the Mac Geek Gab podcast 204 that mentioned this and had some good ideas about how to avoid it by removing unwanted networks from the airport advanced settings.

  • Posted: 07 October 2009 06:06 PM #11

    gregriley - 07 October 2009 06:36 PM

    I do not think Neighbornet is the case in this problem

    LOL - This Made Me Laugh! I *Never* Realised There Was A Word For This, And The Definitions Provided Are So Funny!

  • Posted: 25 February 2011 10:04 PM #12

    Oh how much I have learned since posting that first question all that time ago!

    To update:

    So.. the two Mac Minis are both connected to an Airport Express wirelessly. Both have 10.5.8. Both upgraded to iTunes 10. Both on the same network. Both authorized for the same iTunes account and Home Sharing turned on. Both can see each other fine in the finder, with file sharing turned on. But…neither sees each other in iTunes, so they can not Home Share or iTunes Share. The kicker? Both Mac Minis can see and iTunes music share with my father’s visiting Mac Laptop! And.. the Laptop can see and share music with both Mac Minis! But.. Home Sharing still does not work between either Mac Mini and the Laptop.

    Ha ha ha…

    Weird, huh?

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.- Charlotte

  • Posted: 28 February 2011 12:29 PM #13

    Silly question, but what is the name you have entered to title each of the shared libraries? Any chance they happen to be the same, and that’s confusing them somehow?

  • Posted: 28 February 2011 02:56 PM #14

    Not a silly question at all.

    It’s a long story, but I named the library on the PowerPC Mac Mini “Good Steve,” and the library on the Intel Mac Mini, “Bad Steve,” so no confusion there.

    I laughed and laughed when I saw, on the laptop, under shared in iTunes, both Good Steve and Bad Steve listed! What popped into my mind was the scene of some contentious mediation meeting, where the laptop was serving as mediator, trying to get the two “Steves” to talk.

    Okay.. sorry.. just having some fun.

    What is interesting is that neither is communicating with the other. Most people, in the various forums, complain that one machine won’t see the others on the network, but the others see it fine. Here, both don’t see each other. So what is different?

    I have successfully set up and corrected a myriad of home sharing and iTunes sharing problems on my parents’ computers. Just can’t do anything with these two.

    I do have chickens… but I am unwilling to sacrifice any of them, just to get Home Sharing or iTunes sharing to work! ; )

    Thanks for your patience.


  • Posted: 17 March 2011 01:10 AM #15

    Home sharing mystery deepens:

    New 4th gen iPod Touch, with iOS 4.3 and Home Sharing enabled,  can see both Mac Minis and streams from which ever one is chosen just fine.

    Is it possible that the computers, themselves, have to have different names? They have the same name since migration assistant was used when setting up the young Mac Mini, from the older Mac Mini.


    If on the other hand you are sick of my Mac Minis and the home sharing fail, then move along, nothing to see here. I completely understand. : )