Apple Restricts Multiple Accounts From Using Automatic Download

[UPDATE: After a very polite and helpful email exchange, PadGadget can confirm that, at this time, there is no way to use more than one account on the same computer for at least 90 days... find more after the break...]

Now that the hubbub of the keynote address at the June WWDC wherein Steve Jobs and his lovely band of techies divulged the upcoming iOS changes that are supposed to make our lives so much easier, it is becoming clearer and clearer that iCloud is not what we expected.

In an article today at tuaw.com, we have discovered, as some of you may already have, that Apple is restricting automatic downloads to one account at a time. This could potentially be a serious problem for a lot of people. There are users that have multiple Apple IDs because they are U.S. citizens living in other countries and want to take advantage of both, users that share a computer, but have their own iDevice, users that need separate accounts for work and home. This is not an uncommon situation. If you don’t have two Apple IDs in your household, chances are, someone you know does.

Here are a few examples of people with multiple Apple IDs having issues, as discussed on the forums at apple.com:

At home, two people that use the same computer have different iTunes accounts and different devices. One sets up Automatic Downloading with their account and device. The second person then wants the same benefit on their device and uses the same computer, but different ID to allow Automatic Downloads, but is not allowed because someone else already used the computer to set up Automatic Downloads on their own device.

Another scenario would be where one person uses two separate iTunes accounts because he temporarily lives in another country and utilizes both the U.S. iTunes and his current location’ s iTunes. This is a prevalent issue for military personnel in the discussion forums. This person may not set up Automatic Downloading for both accounts.

What about those that use one Apple ID for work purposes and personal use? If an employee is required to download certain apps from a work account, but keeps a personal account so that he can also download personal apps without the charge going to the work account, he would not be able to automatically download from both accounts.

Apple recently released an article explaining Automatic Downloads and associating a device with your Apple ID. In the article, the restriction is explained (italicized for emphasis):

“When you turn on Automatic Downloads or download past purchases on an iOS device or computer, your device or computer will be associated with your Apple ID. Your Apple ID can have up to 10 devices and computers (combined) associated with it. Each computer must also be authorized using the same Apple ID. Once a device or computer is associated with your Apple ID, you cannot associate that device or computer with another Apple ID for 90 days. You can view which devices or computers are currently associated, remove unused devices or computers, and see how long before they can be associated with a different Apple ID from the Account Information page in iTunes on your computer.”

I use multiple Apple IDs on my iPhone and iPad for work-related purposes. Luckily, I was just too lazy to actually set up Automatic Download this past week and did not get stuck with only being able to use one account. Now that I have learned of this oversight on Apple’s part, I won’t be setting up Auto Downloading, and frankly, I am leery of the whole iCloud situation and what other unwarranted restrictions Apple will put on its use. This may be the first time I don’t immediately update my iOS the moment it releases.

Because I have not experienced Automatic Downloading, I do not know if the iDevice will be restricted to one Apple ID for everything. For example, if I set up Automatic Download for one ID, would I not be able to use another ID at all? Would I not be able to manually download apps with the other ID. Has anyone experienced this? If so, please post a comment here so that we can become more aware of all issues related to Automatic Downloads.

I would also like to strongly suggest that everyone, even those who don’t think they will be affected by Apple ID restrictions (because, chances are, someday you will), to send feedback to Apple and request that they remove this restriction in the next update.

 

[UPDATE: After a very polite and helpful email exchange, PadGadget can confirm that, at this time, there is no way to use more than one account on the same computer for at least 90 days in order to automatically download from your idevice. However, apps, books music, etc., can be manually downloaded through individual accounts' purchasing lists. An article explaining this can be found here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2519.

Additionally, the iTunes Support staff that I corresponded with was glad to give me a link to the official iTunes feedback form, and also recommended I spread the word, “The more feedback Apple sees on one particular issue, the more likely you are to see something get changed.” So, please tell Apple what you think of these restrictions by going here: http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html.]

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About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jewel-Tan/707208808 Jewel Tan

    I was using multiple account too for my FaceTime. Then I realized one of my Apple ID was “permanently blocked” and cannot be used as a valid ID for FaceTime. Is this the same effect of Apple trying to restrict one ID?

    • Anonymous

      Jewel, I could not find anything in the discussion forums relating to your issue. There is a chance that Apple is following a similar concept with FaceTime accounts. Let us know if you find out anything.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jewel-Tan/707208808 Jewel Tan

    I was using multiple account too for my FaceTime. Then I realized one of my Apple ID was “permanently blocked” and cannot be used as a valid ID for FaceTime. Is this the same effect of Apple trying to restrict one ID?

  • Anonymous

    Roger, Since I have not tried using Automatic Downloading due to my fear that one of my Apple IDs will be restricted, I can’t be positive of how to respond. I know from the discussion forums that people have had problems using one computer with different iTunes accounts and different IDs, though.

  • Anonymous

    Good question, David. I wonder if Apple will have the same restrictions across all iCloud features?

  • Anonymous

    Nycesl, There is a lot more than just that one link being discussed on the internet with Auto Download issues, but you are right. I should not lump one issue in with the rest of iCloud. I can say that I thought iCloud was going to be a lot different than it turned out to be, but I can’t say I’m disappointed if I haven’t even used it yet. Good point.