Can I Use iTunes Home Sharing Across the Internet? [Ask MacRx]

ITunes Home Sharing Internet

iTunes Home Sharing has been around for a few years and is a handy way to access your media between devices. One reader wonders about trying to use this service while traveling:

My setup is Apple based i.e. iPad/iphone/appletv2/airport extreme/imac. The iTunes Home Sharing works brilliantly. Is there a way by which I can retain the home sharing function remotely? In other words if I am on 3g and still use the be able to see the iTunes media as I would on the same wifi? I have seen various articles referring to vpn and then indicating that iTunes is not available through the vpn tunnel or through the airport extreme etc.

My only interest with home sharing is sharing and playing the media and not other features such as airplay. I am of some alternatives such as Stream2me etc. but I was hoping to incorporate it through iTunes itself. I would appreciate some clarification and what your best suggestion is in achieving this.

Thanks,
Kapil

Hi Kapil,

iTunes Home sharing is limited to working on a single network (or subnet, specifically). This is to prevent piracy and file transfers over the internet. The Bonjour messaging which is behind Home Sharing does not carry across a VPN, which is why you can’t get this to work.

The solution to your problem would be the new iTunes Match feature of iCloud, which will replicate your files to all devices sync’ed to the same account. Give that a try and see if it does what you need.

Thanks mate, I suspected so and appreciate your explanation. I am a bit fussy when it comes to quality which is why I was trying to establish a “private cloud”. I think iTunes Match will cap the streaming at 256kps and I am not sure if they are intending to include any video.

Yes, iTunes Match will limit the matched tracks to 256kbps AAC files, and no it does not sync video files. Hopefully the service can still be of use to you even with these limitations.

• • •

Readers, have any additional suggestions on this topic, or corrections/clarifications on the advice above? If so, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Related
  • Snoop

    my only gripe about iTunes Match is that it is filling up my phone with music that I only wanted to listen to once.  I filled up about a gig of space listening to music at work, and now I have to go back and delete all of the songs.  if the songs really have to be downloaded to the phone to limit hang-ups, I wish there was an option to not save the song after it’s played.  if I can stream podcasts from iTunes, why can’t I stream my cloud music?

  • HelbertPina

    Hello! I think Audiogalaxy would do the trick for him. I use it and it’s spot on. I have to leave the Mac on at home though, but I can listen to my music on my iPhone through Audiogalaxy Mobile’s app through 3G or Wi-Fi.
    I’m not sure if it changes bitrates, though, when sending data to your phone. Still, it’s worth a try!

  • HelbertPina

    Hello! I think Audiogalaxy would do the trick for him. I use it and it’s spot on. I have to leave the Mac on at home though, but I can listen to my music on my iPhone through Audiogalaxy Mobile’s app through 3G or Wi-Fi.
    I’m not sure if it changes bitrates, though, when sending data to your phone. Still, it’s worth a try!

  • joshua_r_cooper

    Google music would be what you would want.

  • Micha? Belka

    Yeah, after few weeks of uploading…

  • toddgarvin

    you can also download the free Plex Server app at plexapp.com. this allows you to listen to your music and watch videos over wifi and 3G. You can share your library with anyone else who has a MyPlex account (my.plexapp.com) (free). The iOS app is $4.99 I think, but I’ve had much more success with this than PogoPlug.

  • fungod

    I have a terrabyte of music on my desktop that I can access for free from anywhere with Audio Galaxy.  All my playlists are there as well as all my music.  It’s similar to Simplify except you can’t share with all your friends, unless you give them your password.  Works great on an iPhone too.  Give it a try! WIthin the app, try Genie and Infinity mode as well.  You are gonna love this app! 
    I am not affiliated with the company, just a music lover that likes to have all my music with me…all the time!

  • chabig

    There is an option to stream the song. Just touch the song to play once and it won’t be saved. It’s only saved when you touch the cloud icon.

  • Guest

    Slink can tunnel iTunes and any other Bonjour service

  • Clovis Delmotte

    When using hamashi on both the host and the receiving computer,  you can use home sharing as it you where one the same network, where ever you are!

  • Aaron Renner

    I use LogMeIn Hamachi in mesh mode. This creates a great little VPN that lets me access my iTunes Home Share from work, as well as other files and things I might need. It also seems to do transfers faster than Back To My Mac on the file transfer side of things.

  • djrobsd

    Wrong.  On the iPhone it downloads the song to the phone when you play it, and the cloud icon goes away after it finishes downloading.  No way to turn that off yet.  On the Mac, yes you can just open the song and it will stream it, BUT you STILL need a program like CleanMyMac to clear the cache since it does cache the song on your computer…  Apple never intended iCloud to be a streaming service, but I think they realized if they need to compete with Google and Amazon they would have to allow streaming, so they probably added it in at the last minute.  Hopefully a future update will better allow us to control the caches, and whether or not the song gets saved on your phone.

  • David Rutan

    Both LogMeIn Hamachi and ShareTool allow you to do this from outside your network. Music streaming seems to work well, but video streaming doesn’t really, so you’d have to copy it before watching.

  • chabig

    You’re right. I really thought it was the way I described. Thanks for correcting me.

  • Joshua Hernandez

    Its called AudioGalaxy folks, its a free download through the app store, and once you set it up, you can stream any iTunes media in your library, straight to your iOS device! Enjoy!

About the author

Adam RosenAdam Rosen is an IT consultant specializing in Apple Macintosh systems new and old. He lives in Boston with two cats and too many possessions. In addition to membership in the Cult of Mac, Adam has written for Low End Mac and is curator of the Vintage Mac Museum. He also enjoys a good libation.

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