Apple has always limited users to a certain number of devices for authorization with a specific Apple ID. The rules and terms of multiple device syncing with an Apple ID have always been a little confusing, with the introduction of iCloud posing an even bigger problem for how purchased content can be distributed and synced across multiple devices.
Apparently, the system of Apple ID authorization isn’t as smooth as we all thought it was. You’re actually limited to 10 total devices for one Apple ID…
In addition to that, a device cannot have a reassigned Apple ID take effect for 90 days. Some light has been shed on how Apple manages Apple ID limits, and a post from AppleNApps shares some real-world insight.
“While testing the new TV re-download feature with iCloud, I stumbled upon a new iTunes policy change. Previously, you could associate five computers with a single iTunes store account, and there was no limit on the number of iOS devices. Apple has now changed the policy so that you can only have five devices associated with your iTunes account. I’m not exactly sure when this policy went into place, though just a week or two back I agreed to a new 53 page iTunes store policy that seems to pop-up every now and then.”
Previously, you could add your Apple ID to as many iDevices as you wanted. Now, you’re limited to a total of 10 devices — and that includes desktop machines and the Apple TV.
TUAW points out an Apple Knowledge Base support article that details how you can deauthorize iDevices from a certain Apple ID, but the process is a lengthy one that is still subject to Apple’s 90 day timer.
It’s obvious that Apple needs to reconsider its method for authenticating multiple devices, and with iCloud entering the foray, it’s only bound to get more confusing.
Apple’s limit on devices tied to one Apple ID can pose a problem for family members that share devices, or to whoever needs to share an Apple ID in a group setting.
There’s no doubt that Apple’s current system of handling purchased content is severely affected by rights management and content providers. The legal system will have to play catch-up as well if Apple wants to have a totally seamless cloud experience for its users.
My proposal: An Apple ID can be registered on as many devices as you want, and purchased content can be synced/played on all registered devices once the device has been authenticated. iCloud also syncs all authenticated devices with the same Apple ID.
That doesn’t sound too difficult, does it Apple?