Apple is working to breathe life back into its Home Sharing feature with the release of its next major mobile OS.
In a tweet posted late Monday, Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue said: "We are working to have Home Sharing in iOS 9." Cue's tweet was in response to a Twitter user who said: "I hope I don't have to be @taylorswift13 to get you to restore Home Sharing for music!"
Home Sharing is a feature that lets you share your central iTunes library across your home network with other devices. You can stream music and videos to other computers, to an Apple TV and to iOS devices. But Apple got an inkling of just how popular the feature is when it disabled the ability to share music with iOS devices a week ago with the release of iOS 8.4, and users started complaining. Home Sharing is an attractive feature because it allows you to maintain your entire iTunes library on just one single computer and then share that with all your other devices, eliminating the need for multiple iTunes libraries.
At this point, you can still use Home Sharing to share your library from one computer to another as well as to an Apple TV. And you can still share videos to your iOS devices. It's only music that you can no longer share to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
In the release notes to the iOS 8.4 beta, Home Sharing was listed under known issues as "not currently available," AppleInsider said last week. That was considered a sign that the feature might return at some point. But why would Apple disable Home Sharing in the first place, albeit temporarily?
One reason may be that the company is trying to persuade people to sign up for Apple Music's $14.99 family plan, which lets up to six users access an entire library of iTunes music. Another reason may be related to licensing issues. Apple may not have the rights to let you share music acquired through Apple Music via Home Sharing, 9to5Mac has suggested. If that's the case, then the company may be working to resolve that legal conundrum.
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For now, those of you who want to access your iTunes library across all of your devices can either sign up for Apple Music's family plan or tap into iCloud. And with iCloud, you have two options -- iTunes Match or iCloud Music Library. For the cost of $24.99 a year, iTunes Match gives you the ability to access a copy of your iTunes library stored in the cloud. iCloud Music Library, which requires an Apple Music subscription, does virtually the same thing but adds the ability to listen to your music offline.
However, you may want to hold off on iCloud Music Library for the time being. Users have reported problems with the service, specifically saying that iCloud Music Library is applying the wrong album art to certain albums, removing playlists and moving songs to the wrong albums.
An Apple spokeswoman said the company has nothing further to add beyond Cue's tweet.
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