Moving Movies

Some of the most moving movies I can recall include Schindler’s List, Il Postino, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Sophie’s Choice, The Deer Hunter, Doctor Zhivago, Babette’s Feast, The Pianist, Forrest Gump, The Pawnbroker, Children of a Lesser God, Cinema Paradiso, Amadeus, Das Boot, Chariots of Fire, Door to Door, Sweet Land, Rabbit-Proof Fence, and The World’s Fastest Indian.

You might check these out if you haven’t seen some of them, but that’s not my main purpose, which is to talk about stuff at least tangentially related to Apple. If you are familiar with my quirky sense of humor you may have guessed that the title is a double entendre. (Not the usual risqué one, though.) What I really want to talk about is moving a movie rental in iTunes to a different computer, iPad, iPod, or iPhone.

This applies to rented movies only. Movies you have purchased can be simply copied from one device to another, or even re-downloaded if necessary with the Purchased button in the right sidebar on the Movies page in the iTunes store.

 

One of the several restrictive conditions of an iTunes movie rental is that you can only play the movie on a single device. Apple has stated that it is OK to move it to a different device, as long as it is only on one device at a time.

Move to iOS Device

Moving your rental movie from the computer to the iOS device is pretty straightforward. While holding down the Command and Option keys connect your device to the Mac on which you rented the movie via the USB cable. The reason for the Command and Option keys is to makes sure iTunes doesn’t try to sync your device immediately when it is connected. In iTunes click on your device in the left sidebar, then go to Movies and you will see a screen like this.

Just click on Move, then click Apply. This will start to sync the iOS device, and the first thing to be synced will be the movie to be moved.

IMPORTANT! If the Mac with the rented movie is not the one you usually sync with, watch the progress bar and be ready to click the ⊗ to cancel as soon as the rest of the sync starts (striped horizontal “Barber Pole” appears) after the movie move is completed. Otherwise, if this is the Mac you normally sync with let it complete the sync.

Move to another Computer

But suppose you rented it on your desktop machine, and now decide you want it on your laptop for the long plane ride to your dream vacation destination in Saskatoon. You can’t just copy it from one machine to the other. It will copy alright, but a couple of hours later when the copy is done, you’ll find it won’t play on the new machine.

There is a way around this using an iOS device as the transport medium. (Sort of like the old “Sneaker Net” days before computers were linked by WiFi or ethernet. You’d copy data onto a floppy disk, then walk or run it over to another computer, and of course all computer Nerds wore sneakers.)

First move the movie to your iPad or whatever as described above. Now while again holding down the Command and Option keys, connect your device to the target Mac. In iTunes click on your device in the left sidebar, then go to Movies and you will see a screen like this.

Again click on Move, then click Apply. This will start to sync the iOS device and again the first thing to be synced will be the movie to be moved.

IMPORTANT! Most likely this Mac is not the one you usually sync with, so watch the progress bar and be ready to click the ⊗ to cancel as soon as the rest of the sync starts (striped horizontal “Barber Pole” appears) after the movie move is completed. Otherwise, if this is the Mac you normally sync with let it complete the sync.

If you miss the above cancel and let it sync completely, you will have to reconnect your iOS device to the Mac you usually sync with and Restore it from the last backup. Follow the instructions under Restore your iOS Device except click Don’t Back Up in step 6.