How To: Share iPhone applications between multiple iPhones

Let’s say you and your family decided to jump on Apple’s bandwagon and now you’re all geared up with Apple hardware. Now you’re all getting along with all your Macs and iPhones doing their thing, like one big happy family. It’s all fun and games around the house. All fun and games, that is, until you actually want to have some fun with iPhone games.

Apple will gladly take your money as you purchase multiple copies of Super Monkey Ball or Texas Hold ‘Em Poker for each member of your family. It can get expensive buying multiple copies of the same software for every member of your family. And, Apple would love the business.

Sharing super monkey ball on different iPhonesBut, if you’re a bit more iTunes savvy, like Melvin Rivera, you’ll be sharing a single iPhone application purchase throughout the household (or among friends, just don’t tell Apple, shhh!). Melvin has put together a handy little tutorial to get all your iPhone applications and games shared on multiple iPhones.

You see, the Fairplay DRM that Apple uses to protect its iPhone applications from piracy allows you to authorize up to five computers to share your iTunes purchases. So, you should be able to share that single copy of Super Monkey Ball with up to four other people. Here’s a quick rundown of Melvin’s tutorial:

  1. Use your computer’s iTunes account to buy whatever iPhone application you want (we’re going to use Super Monkey Ball for demonstration purposes)
  2. Download the application to iTunes and sync to your iPhone or iPhone 3G
  3. Get to your family member’s, or friend’s, computer and log in to their iTunes application with your credentials
  4. Log out and back in
  5. Find Super Monkey Ball and click “Buy”
  6. Re-download Super Monkey Ball
  7. Log out of your iTunes account
  8. Log back in with your family member’s iTunes account
  9. Sync the iPhone

That’s it! You should now have Super Monkey Ball on two different iPhones.

Head on over to to get the full, pictorial-aided tutorial on how to share iPhone applications with multiple iPhones.

[Via: allforces]

  • Marketing

    Thanks for the great post, been scowering the web for solutions to help me copy between iphones and Kosta IPhone is awesome. Digg it.

  • Vin

    Am I missing something? I’m getting ” was not installed on the iPhone because you are not authorized for it on this computer.” Has anyone experience this?

  • Sean

    Vin, check to make sure you didn’t de-authorize the computer, or you may need to log in again. You could also try syncing the 2nd iphone while you’re still logged in with the account that made the purchase.

    Also, try buying a song and authorizing the two computers to play it. If they can both play the song, then they’re both authorized to the same account and should also be able to sync the app to an iPhone. Trying the song is just a simpler test since you can play it in iTunes without syncing to a device.

    Good luck!

  • Matteo

    TO VIN

    hope you solved already.

    Anyhow, it’a matter of itunes account. Probably your credit card has expired or something like this.
    Update the account and it will work !

  • Iphone

    I encountered the same issue as Vin. Which account should I try with purchasing a song? Is it the account that was used to purchase the games?

    How do I make sure that I didn’t de-authorize the computer?


  • Erick

    I mean: it won’t delete the apps that are on their iPhone already, but not on my account, will it?

  • Matt

    Did you guys figure out how to transfer apps downloaded to the account that did not purchase without getting the problem of it not being authorized for the account. Any help would be appreciated as I have the apps in the iTunes library of the phone I want to sync, but it’s not the account that originally purchased the apps. It says that it’s sync’ing but then it doesn’t actually sync to phone

  • Krahnin

    So…let’s say I bought an app for my iPhone and also successfully installed this app on my mother’s phone through your method. Will my mother still require my password from my iTunes account to update the app each time an update is released? Or will her password for her account be able to do it?

  • Jason

    Is it my imagination or did your instructions indicate: On one computer, buy and install the app. On another computer, buy and install the app. Then you can have two copies..of course you can, you just bought two copies. What am I missing here?

  • leptus

    You already bought it the first time. You’re just downloading it for free the second time. Just what it says in the article.

  • Charles

    The person that purchased the app can also connect to the destination iTunes and do “Transfer Purchases”. That will put a copy of that purchased app onto the destination iTunes.

    Then connect the target iPhone to iTunes and do a sync.

    • Jack

      Horrible article. Biased AND misinformed. Charles has the easiest way to do it.

  • Assassin_Trojan

    i’m kinda confused, i backed up all my friends apps purchased from apple appstore using ifunbox, and now i wanna transfer it to my iphone 3G, my itunes says ”this computer is not authorized to play the following item..gosh!
    and wont install on my phone, pls any one willig 2 help will be greatly appreciated..
    pls hit me back on my mail

  • Brook_420

    Thought it could be simpler. Will have to use the allforces site. Thanx anyway

  • Kawika

    Thanks for sharing – you should point out, however, that when you do this you use up your 5 total computers that can be authorized to play your music/movies purchased from the iTunes store.

  • Rona

    Thank you very much! I downloaded Tom Tom Canada and USA to my phone and was able to log into my husbands iTunes as myself, log out and back in and download Tom Tom for free to his iTunes on his Laptop.

  • Luke Ashley100

    Why not just sign into itunes as urself on the other persons iphone/ipod and when u download the app again it will be free, that way u dont authorize computer if u dont need to and no computer needed, u can share it with as many people as u want

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