Microsoft’s Windows 10 only lets you install apps and games on a limited number of devices. It has even stricter limits for subscription music and videos purchased from the Windows Store. Here’s how to ensure you stay within those limits.
Think of this like Windows 10’s versions of iTunes computer authorizations. When you hit the limit of devices associated with your Microsoft account, you’ll see a “device limit reached” error message when you go to download apps, music, or videos.
Windows 10’s Device Limits Explained
There are three separate device limit lists, as Microsoft’s app store, music store, and video store are all technically separate.
- Apps and Games: For apps and games purchased (or just downloaded for free) from Windows 10’s Store, you’re limited to 10 devices. For Windows 8.1, you were limited to 81 devices that could download apps and games from the Windows Store. While most people were unlikely to ever run up against that 81 device limit, it’s feasible you could bump up against Windows 10’s device limit for apps.
- Music from a Groove Music Subscription: If you have a subscription to Microsoft’s Groove Music service, formerly known as Xbox Music, you’re limited to four devices that can download and play your music at any given time.
- Music Purchased from the Store: If you instead purchase music from the Store, Microsoft’s website says the music “an be authorized on up to five (5) personal computers and a reasonable number of registered devices.”
- Movies & TV: For movies and TV shows purchased and rented from the Windows Store and played in the Movies & TV app–formerly known as Xbox Video–you’re limited to four devices that can download and play videos at any given time.
Yes, these are three separate lists. You’ll never notice it until you bump up against the limit, as Microsoft automatically adds devices to these lists as you use them.
How Often You Can Remove Devices
You can add devices to these lists at any time by signing in and downloading apps, music, or videos. You can add as many devices as you want at any given time, assuming you don’t hit the limit.
You can remove any number of devices from your authorized “Apps and Games” list at any time, so it’s simple to manage this list if you run into problems.
However, the Music and Movies & TV lists are more restricted. You can only remove one device from each of these lists once every 30 days. If you rely on Microsoft’s media services, you’ll want to keep track of your device limits and remove devices from here immediately when you no longer use them.
How to Manage Your Authorized Devices
To manage your authorized device list, sign into the Microsoft Account website with the account you use on your Windows 10 devices. Click the “Devices” category and select “Apps & games devices,” “Music devices,” or “Movies & TV devices,” depending on which list you want to manage.
The main “Your Devices” list here allows you to view a list of the devices you’ve used and find them on a map if you’ve enabled the Find My Device feature on Windows 10.
If you’ve reached the device limit for installing apps and games, remove one or more devices from the list here. You won’t be able to install apps and games from the Windows Store on devices you remove from this list–unless you re-add them to the list–so only remove devices you don’t use anymore.
Once you’ve done so, you’ll be able to visit the Windows Store on a new, unregistered device and install apps and games. That new device will appear in your list of authorized devices after you do.
You can remove devices at any time, even after you’ve wiped it or sold it. So you don’t need to worry about pre-emptively managing this list like you do with iTunes–just visit this web page if you ever bump into the limit.
If you use Microsoft’s music or video services, visit the associated web pages here to see your list of registered devices. Each list is separate, and you can only remove a device once every thirty days from each list. If you reach the limit, you can remove a device and add another one–as long as you haven’t removed a device in the last 30 days. You may want to remove devices from these lists immediately.
If you’d like to remove more devices from the list–or remove one more often than once every thirty days–your only option is to contact MIcrosoft customer support by opening the “Contact Support” app in Windows 10’s Start menu and asking them to help you with the problem. There’s no guarantee they will.
Microsoft’s device limits are perhaps a bit low–for example, there’s no limit on how many devices you can install Steam games on. Luckily, most people won’t have more than ten devices they want to install Windows 10 apps on. And, if you can’t install Windows 10 apps from the Store on a device, you can always continue to install traditional desktop applications.
Image Credit: DobaKung on Flickr
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