How many iPhones/iPads can I activate on one account?


Another question for you, dear reader.

This time it’s about iPhones and iPads. Right now I have 5 iPhones and one iPad each syncing beautifully. I plug them into my Mac Pro and sync. Job done, all is fine.

If I buy an application on my iPhone 4, and then try and download it on my iPhone 3GS, I get to ‘re-download’ the app for free. Which makes total sense. I can either sync the app to my Mac Pro so that I can get it on all machines, or I can re-download from the app store if I’m out and about. I enjoy the fact I don’t have to pay for the app again.

But here’s my question: What happens if I buy 100 iPhones? Or 1,000 iPhones? And activate them all on my iTunes account? Does that mean that I only need to buy an application once… and then I can get it free on all my 1,000 iPhones?

Or to put it another way, if you work at a company with 1,000 employees — and you give them each an iPhone — do you, in order to save money (and manage everything through one global account), activate everyone’s iPhone using the same account? That way, for example, you’d avoid paying £20 x 1,000 for LogMeIn Ignition. You’d only have to buy it once and every other iPhone would get to download it free?

This discussion post on Apple Support points out that there is ‘no stated limit’ to the amount of iPhones and iPads I can activate. Is that still the case?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

4 replies on “How many iPhones/iPads can I activate on one account?”

Ewan, do you really want an answer, or is this a way to show off about all your shiny Apple products?

Unfortunately this is where the software producers make their money: in licensing per user/site/device/anything they can think of. So if you have x amount of users for the app, sure enough there'll be an associated bill of equal proportions or risk the wrath of the lawyers during an audit followed by an disproportionate fine. That's if the software has been written to check the license against the user account! A case of “read the small print” very carefully.

Interesting concept though of a single user account for multiple deployments. Does it exist in the corporate world for mobile devices? No worries about who has what as you could have a list of registered devices against the account and all your licensing issues go away. Extending that, you've got yourself a locked down device specifically for company use app-wise without worrying about non-approved apps.

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