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How to: Transfer iTunes apps between computers

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iTunes apps

iTunes provides handy methods by which you can transfer your entire installation from one device to another however there are times where you might want to only transfer your iDevice apps? As an example, my Windows PC has our family’s entire iTunes library upon it. It’s massive – mostly because of all the HD quality video that our AppleTV reads from it, but also because it’s loaded with hundreds of gigabytes of music. Until recently I used to synchronise my iPhone with this Windows PC. Jailbreaking is a lot easier when performed on a Mac and having recently got a MacBook it made sense to me to transfer iPhone management / synchronisation to it. Given the MacBook’s significantly smaller hard drive size (compared to my PC), I didn’t want to move my entire iTunes installation. Through the wonder of “Home Sharing” I able to still access movies and music, but I needed to physically move all my iDevice applications between computers if I didn’t want to undertake the laborious process of re-downloading them all again. Here’s how you can do this too:

  • On Vista / Windows 7: Browse to c:\Users\[Username]\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music\Mobile Applications
  • On XP: Browse to c:\Documents and Settings\[Username]\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music\Mobile Applications
  • Copy the files in this location to an external hard drive or USB pen drive
  • Connect the external device to your Mac
  • Open iTunes on your Mac
  • Drag and drop all the files to your iTunes window

Once the file copy completes all of your iDevice apps will be within your Mac’s iTunes installation. You should be able to update and use them in the same manner you did when they were on your PC previously.

Should you wish to do the reverse of this process, i.e. transfer iDevice application files from a Mac to a PC then copy the files located in Users\[Username]\Music\iTunes\Mobile Applications from your Mac to a portable device before dropping them onto your PC’s iTunes application.

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