Want to allow a friend to use your Apple ID to re-download Books, Music or Videos onto their iDevice? This isn’t a wise choice. While iCloud brings a lot to the table, it includes one limitation Apple did not mention at yesterday’s WWDC keynote. Namely, if you try to share certain media, you’ll be the one hurting.

The official sharing of books hasn’t yet come to iOS. However, that doesn’t mean folks haven’t tried. Prior to yesterday’s release of iCloud folks could share books by logging into the App Store using a friend’s Apple ID. From there, they’d find the already-purchased book via the iBooks app and then download it.

You got the book, your friend wasn’t charged again, and everyone was happy.

Except, apparently Apple and publishers.

The new iCloud system lists previously purchased media, each, which can easily be re-downloaded across iDevices. However, Apple is making sure this convenience comes at a cost.

If a user downloads a book, music, or video using another user’s Apple ID, they cannot download additional items with a second ID on that iDevice for 90 days.

In other words, John may use Jane’s Apple ID to download The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest via iBooks, which Jane already purchased. However, for the next 90 days, he cannot download other books using another Apple ID, even his own.

Instead they’ll receive this error message:

Don't Get This Message

Don't Get This Message

The same goes for music and video purchases.

What this transfer message is all about, we’re not sure yet. It sounds like it will allow you to consolidate Apple IDs, like if you had a separate account for iBooks and music, for example.

No one is encouraging illegal downloading, but this limitation seems especially harsh. Forget friends; many households have more than one Apple ID. This means a wife and husband cannot share media, for example, or a parent with their child.

Perhaps Apple would be wise to keep the limits in place (and let publishers remain happy), but instead of eliminating sharing all together, establish some limit. For example, allowing media sharing between one and a few people.


Note that you can still share the same account. We are talking about using multiple IDs on one iDevice. Plus, you can still purchase new stuff using the existing account. The re-downloaded media is what is locked to 1 Apple ID for 90 days.

What do you think? Leave your comments below.