iTunes Home Sharing (it doesn’t just work)

The other day I decided for the first time to turn on iTunes Home Sharing, imagine my surprise to discover I could watch everything in my iTunes library with out syncing it to my iPad (at least when I am at home).  Since I only have a 16GB iPad this saves me a lot of trips to the computer to sync.

Seemed like it should be easy enough, enable home sharing, and sign in to iTunes and the iPad with the same Apple ID.  Of course it wasn’t that easy.

The first problem was when I would start iTunes the iPad would see the shared library for about a minute then it would disappear until iTunes was restarted, when it would show up again for a minute.

I solved this problem by adding two rules to the Windows Firewall (Windows 7 Home Premium)

Allow Incoming on TCP port 3689

Allow Incoming on UDP port 5353

Not really sure I should have had to do this manually, but since I added these rules, the shared library shows up consistently and plays back videos just fine.

Now that I was able to see my shared library, I found a second problem.  The videos was all displaying the wrong names and wrong artwork, so you never knew exactly what video you were selecting.  A quick search revealed that this is apparently a very common problem.  I followed the steps in this thread in the Apple discussion forums, which fixed my movies, but TV shows are still all wrong (both the Show/Season name and the artwork).

I am continuing to search for a fix, any suggestions are welcome.  I am not impressed with iTunes Home Sharing so far, it does not “just work”.


Well known TCP and UDP ports used by Apple Software products

Videos showing wrong thumbnail

Understanding Home Sharing

10 Responses to iTunes Home Sharing (it doesn’t just work)
  1. Rob McDonagh
    December 30, 2011 | 2:20 pm

    Hm. It “just works” perfectly in my house, along with all of the other “just working” Apple products like the iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Mini Server, Apple TV2, iPads, iPhones, iTouch, iPods, etc.

    Oh, wait, I’ve spotted your problem: “Windows 7 Home Premium.”


    • Mitch Cohen
      December 30, 2011 | 2:36 pm

      I knew I was going to get the “it just works on my Mac comment” for the record the forum posts would indicate the artwork issue is not at all limited to Windows

  2. Rob McDonagh
    December 30, 2011 | 2:48 pm

    I know, I just couldn’t resist the excessively obvious snark opportunity.

    I think the real reason I don’t have the issue is that I don’t let Apple (or MS or anybody else) update my software unless I actually need a specific feature or security fix. I don’t trust any of those bastiches. I’ve seen several people tie the database corruption (well, they don’t call it that, but I do) to one or more iTunes updates.

  3. Chris Reckling
    December 31, 2011 | 6:10 pm

    I just started using this with our new AppleTV but haven’t noticed any issues. (Also going to a Mac as the main sharing machine.) And I did figure it was probably because of Windows. 😉

  4. John Lindsay
    January 1, 2012 | 3:41 pm

    Very timely Mitch – I was just about to try this out myself. Think I’ll wait a little longer. Meantime many thanks for your postings over the last year or so I’ve been following you. I wish you (and your wife – regular reader of her Blog as well) have a healthy and successful New Year.

    • Mitch Cohen
      January 2, 2012 | 10:06 am

      Thanks John, Happy and Healthy new year to you too

  5. Rose West
    January 23, 2012 | 12:46 pm

    Hi Mitch,
    I have the same problem–Home sharing is not setting up at all. I tried allowing the incoming ports that you mentioned, but I cannot find those specific ones. Is there any advice you can offer?

  6. Alex
    May 28, 2012 | 10:18 am

    Took awhile to sort through ESET firewall on my 2pc’s and even though bonjour was allowed in all ports still needed to add port 3689 and port 5353 to rules screen to allow incoming. Now iPhones & xp computers access all iTunes libraries. Thanks Mitch!

  7. LRS
    August 23, 2012 | 3:27 pm

    See my post here:

    There are so many variables that come into play here, it’s absurd, and I’m sure there are tons of other possibliities and options that work, but this is what is working for me. Hope it helps you sort out yours!

  8. Daz
    November 19, 2012 | 2:20 pm

    It definitely does not “just work” on my entirely Apple setup.

    Didn’t show up on the Macbook Pro until the third apparently identical attempt.

    Still won’t show up on my iPhone or my girlfriends iPad.

    Currently can’t use homesharing or Remote having tried everything on the troubleshooting guide, and still searching…

    Just to let you know it’s not necessarily Windows related!