Beyond Broken

28th April 2015

I’ve been a huge fan of keeping local copies of my content and home sharing them to my AppleTVs and kids iPads and occasionally even my iPhone. However when I started using it about four years ago (it debuted in iTunes 9 in 2009 but wasn’t really useful for me until iOS4.3 in 2011 ).

Since then the system has becoming patchier and patchier with each subsequent release becoming somewhat of a crapshoot as to whether it’s actually going to work. I’ve cut my library into pieces to improve library load times (Music is now a separate library on a separate Mac), cleaned out mis-categorised entries and even changed iTunes accounts the home sharing was active on and power cycled and restarted everything in the chain to try and get it to work and I’m at the end of my tether.

Here’s what I’ve done over the last hour tonight as I’ve tried (in vain) to get home sharing to "just work": (Step 0: iTunes Shared library doesn’t load on my sons iPad 2. It reaches about 1/10th of the circle and stops there indefinitely)

  • Force-quit and restart Movies app on iPad 2 (Failed)
  • Power-cycle iPad 2 and restart Movies app on iPad 2 (Failed)
  • Close and re-open iTunes on the Mac Mini (Failed)
  • Force-quit and restart Movies app on iPad 2 (Failed)
  • Power-cycle iPad 2 and restart Movies app on iPad 2 (Failed)
  • Power-cycle Mac Mini and restart iTunes (Failed)
  • Force-quit and restart Movies app on iPad 2 (Failed)
  • Power-cycle iPad 2 and restart Movies app on iPad 2 (Failed)
  • Try Movies on iPhone 6+ (Failed)
  • Force-quit and restart Movies app on iPhone 6+ (Failed)
  • Power-cycle iPhone 6+ and restart Movies app on iPhone 6+ (Failed)
  • Try Movies on Retina iPad Mini [aka iPad Mini 2] (Failed)
  • Force-quit and restart Movies app on Retina iPad Mini [aka iPad Mini 2] (Failed)
  • Power-cycle iPad Mini 2 and restart Movies app on iPad Mini 2 (Failed)
  • Hard power-cycle Time Capsule [Ethernet switch and central WiFi router] (Failed)
  • Power-cycle Mac Mini and restart iTunes (Failed)
  • Force-quit and restart Movies app on iPad Mini 2 (SUCCESS!!!)
  • Power-cycle iPhone 6+ and restart Movies app on iPhone 6+ (Failed)
  • Power-cycle iPad 2 and restart Movies app on iPad 2 (Failed)
  • Power-cycle iPad Mini 2 and restart Movies app on iPad Mini 2 to check it still works (Failed)
  • Give up

I’m beyond over this. It worked ever so briefly and then died again. I know that the "it just works" is a marketing tagline that is broad-reaching and can’t possibly be true for everything but honestly, I’m sick of Apple breaking, partly fixing and then re-breaking what was once solid functionality. Regression testing is a thing, you know? Lots of other companies manage to do it.

Every update I now hold my breath to see what will break. This time I guess I got screwed. Oh goodie. Time to switch? Thinking about it.

[Update]: Yes I have also tried logging in and out of home sharing on each device including iTunes and even tried multiple AppleIDs. None of it worked. I’m also running the latest version of iOS/Yosemite/iTunes/AppleTV OS on all the tested devices and none of them are Beta versions, public or developer versions.