By Jason Snell

My Apple ID has seen a lot. I’ve used a lot of Macs and iOS devices over the years, and reviewed a whole bunch more. As a result, I’ve gotten some insight into all the lists Apple keeps about your personal constellation of Apple hardware. It’s a bit confusing, since there are multiple lists, with different restrictions, measuring different things! Here are the ways the Apple counts what you’ve got–and what it lets you do with those lists.

iTunes authorizations

When Apple launched the iTunes Music Store in 2003, you could only play iTunes music on three different computers, but an unlimited number of iPods. In short order, that number was increased to five computers. Apple dropped digital-rights management from music sales in 2009, but the restriction still exists for other digital media Apple sells, most notably video.

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