Stream Music to Your iPad from a Mac

If you have a large iTunes library on your Mac and don’t want to load your iPad (or iPhone, iPad2) up with all the music, you can use Apple’s Home Sharing to stream the files from your Mac to your iOS device.  (You need to be on the same Wi-Fi network.) Here’s how…
First, you need to turn “Home Sharing” on your Mac in iTunes.  Open iTunes and under the file menu Advanced > Turn on Home Sharing.  Enter your information (iTunes Account name (Apple ID) and password).
After you enter the information correctly in iTunes, you will receive a message that Home Sharing is now on. You will need to use the same Apple ID or account when turning on Home Sharing on the other devices.
Next, you will need to turn on the sharing feature on your iOS device. The place to do that is on your iOS device. Choose Settings > iPod.  You will need to enter the Apple ID and Password.
[ NOTE: iOS5 has modified the settings. You now need to select Music instead of iPod. ]
Last, you need to open the iPod App on your iOS device with iTunes open on your Mac.
When you do this, you should see “Library” on the top left. Tap once to pull up the “Home Sharing” libraries available.
Tap the library you want to stream to your iOS device. Then select and play the music. It will play on your iOS device as if you were in front of your Mac.
If you need to review the Apple Knowledge Base Article on this, you can do so here.
Right now, it does not appear that you can stream videos from your Mac to your iOS device.

14 thoughts on “Stream Music to Your iPad from a Mac

  1. Under the second illustratioon you have: “Last, you need to open the iPod App on your iOS device with iTunes open on your Mac.” whereas I think you meant to say: “Last, you need to open the iTunes App on your iOS device with iTunes open on your Mac. I don’t have an App on my iPad called “iPod App”

  2. On second thought, I do have an App named Settings, and there is supposed to be a panel for iPod there, but I don’t have it. I have one called Music that;’s orange looking like the icon for iPod in the illustration. When I launch that, I don’t see a button or access to a Library. I’m at a dead end.

    1. You are right. On the iPad, the prior version of iOS had iPod to select. It is now “Music” instead of iPod. Once you select that, to the right you should see “Home Sharing” and can continue. Thanks.

    2. yeah thats probably cause he’s got an iPhone and you’ve got an ipod or something like that and homesharing is there and i just did it so it works.

  3. Oksy, I see Home Sharing, under Music under Settings. I’ve entered my ID and password there, same as on my iMac. Now what…. I ipen iTunes on the iPad? I still don’t see my music Library. At the top I have Genres, Featured, Top Charts, and Genius only. Also a row of icons on the bottom, but no Library.

    1. you’ve got to go to the ‘more’ button at the bottom of the screen and tap on sharing then it shows you my iPad and ‘your name’ library you have to tap on your library and then you get the music from your mac onto your iPad

  4. Look on last button on bottom of MUSIC app screen, says [MORE]. Tap that and you will see a SHARED > entry. Tap that and all HOME SHAREd libraries will be listed. Select one and in a minute or so (depends on how big the index to your library is) will be displayed in the big window, same as if you were looking at the iPad’s music library. Do the same process in reverse to return back to the iPad’s music library.

  5. This is brilliant. Thank you so much. Just managed to connect my new Bose Soundlink Wireless Dock thing. Excellent site.

  6. FYI- There are a number of ways to stream video files from your Mac to an iOS device on the same wired/wifi network, and have been for years. The one I’ve been using is “VLC Streamer” by Hobbyist Software. It requires the installation of the streaming app on your Mac, and the VLC client on your iOS device. It’s easy to set up, you can access video files anywhere connected to your Mac (including external drives), and it’s free.

    There are links from the app to web pages on how to debug/set it up that make it easy.

    There’s another one called “Plex” but I’ve never installed it.

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