Apple's DRM-limits can affect the way you access your digital media. Apple limits the number of authorized computers to five. This sounds like a lot until you consider how, over time, your number of active and "ex-devices" may grow.
You may sell your computer. Your computer may just die. You might leave it on the train on the way to work. Or it might get stolen. Once you reach five devices, you're stuck. You can copy your media to more computers, but you won't be able to authorize them for playback. And you can't directly de-authorize computers that aren't physically in your possession.
Fortunately, Apple has a way around that. Once a year, Apple allows you to do a mass de-authorization of all your purchases. This resets your number of authorized computers back to zero, and allows you to start fresh. Re-authorize the computers you actually own and have around you and regain access to all your media. Visit your Account Information in iTunes, where a Deauthorize All button will appear when you have reached the level of five authorized computers.
According to the UK's Independent newspaper, insurers are starting to "get in tune with the iPod generation". It's no longer just about adding your iPod hardware to your home-owners insurance. Insurers like Nationwide understand that your intangible assets, like iTunes purchases, ringtones, and games can be lost, too. New coverage adds entertainment downloads to the existing kinds of insured belongings.
Don't, of course, assume that you're covered. Check with your insurance carrier first. Make sure that they offer this coverage and check whether you need to add a special rider to your policy. Typically coverage includes "fire, theft, or flood," but not hard-drive failure or accidentally reformatting your disk. If you own a substantial collection, it may be worth your money to add this coverage to your policy.
Knowledge is power. All the "ounce of prevention/pound of cure" sayings in the world won't help unless you know what you need to be doing. Hopefully this article has helped you figure out which ounces of prevention are worth your while to investigate. And also, hopefully they'll inspire you to avoid the worst of the pound-of-cure scenarios. Whether your solution involves regular backups, syncing to your iPod, purchasing intangibles insurance, or knowing when to throw yourself at the mercy of Apple is up to you. As you've read, there are any number of ways to protect your iTunes purchases. Now it's up to you to pick the ones you think will work best for you and to put them into practice.
Further Useful Links, Courtesy of Apple:
- Possible iTunes Store errors: Mac and Windows
- How to resume interrupted iTunes Store downloads
- How to find missing iTunes Store downloads
- How to resend iTunes Music Gifts
Erica Sadun has written, co-written, and contributed to almost two dozen books about technology, particularly in the areas of programming, digital video, and digital photography.
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