Deauthorize iTunes Before Reformatting

I added this to my Reinstall Windows Todo List, but felt I should devote one blog on it because of its importance.

To put it simply, iTunes allows you to play or “authorize” your music on up to 5 computers. If you reformat your machine before “deauthorizing” it, you waste one of those licenses.

As a developer that wipes his two machines every 6 – 15 months, you can eat up licenses quick. On this last install, I happened to stumble on this while looking at my account in iTunes and seeing that I had 5 computers authorized. Being as I should only have two I knew something was up. I sent apple a support request at 11 AM on a Saturday stating:

In my account it shows that I have 5 computers authorized on my account, however I only use two.

I am a developer, so I am wiping my machines every six months, so I am thinking that your software is counting each of my machines multiple times.

I have tried deauthorizing each machine multiple times, but it shows only one license per machine.

How can I fix this? Also, is there a way to just wipe all of my authorizations and start over?

In an act of fantastic customer service, at 1:45 PM they replied with:

For security reasons we generally do not perform this service. However, in this case we have made an exception. If you plan to sell or stop using a computer, be sure to deauthorize it before you no longer have access to it.

You may authorize five computers to play music purchased using your iTunes Music Store Account.

For specific instructions on how to authorize and deauthorize a computer to play your iTunes purchases please visit

You may also find help under the Help menu in iTunes.

Please be sure to deauthorize your computer before you sell it, give it to someone else, reformat it, or have it serviced. If you do not deauthorize the computer, it will continue to have one of your five authorizations attached to it.


DavidiTunes Music Store Support

So consider yourself warned!

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