Move Your iTunes Library To Another Hard Drive In Three Simple Steps

Move Your iTunes Library To Another Hard Drive In Three Simple Steps

If your iTunes library has become a little too big for your regular hard drive, it may be time to move it. If you don’t want to lose your playlists, play counts, ratings, and other stuff that iTunes keeps in its databases, here’s the easiest way to move it to a new home.

Title image remixed from Madlen (Shutterstock)

Moving iTunes libraries has historically been a fraught process, but with more recent releases it’s slightly less of a chore. All it takes is a few simple steps, whether you’re looking to move your library to a new folder, a new drive, or even a NAS. Ars Technica runs down the process with a lot of detail, but here’s the gist of it:

  1. Open up iTunes’ Preferences and go to Advanced. Make sure the “Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized” box is checked.
  2. Click the Change button under “iTunes Media Folder Location” and choose your new folder where you want iTunes to reside. Click OK (and if iTunes asks you if you want to continue matching the “Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized” preference, choose Yes).
  3. Go to File > Library > organise Library, check the “Consolidate Files” box, and click OK. This will copy all of your files over to the new location, keeping your library structure completely intact.

When you’re done, you can delete the files in your original iTunes Media folder, but don’t delete the other .itl and itdb files — iTunes will still use those in their original location. Hit the link to see the full process, as well as a few troubleshooting tips if you have any problems.

How to offload your iTunes library to a NAS [Ars Technica]


    • best practice for iTunes is to Partition your Harddrive, have your music on its own partition. Then no matter what you are running it can alaways access the same data,
      HINT: When opening itunes on a new PC hold down shift and select location of music partion then let iTunes do the rest

  • As the article says, it COPIES files. Meaning, if you fail to delete your old copy, you have 2 identical files clogging up your system.
    Which reminds me: “Display duplicates” seems to have vanished from the latest copy of iTunes. As long as you’re moving your music around, how about some advice on cleaning up the collection?
    “Spring Cleaning” indoors is one activity to beat the Aussie summer heat.

  • @sa_penguin
    Display duplicate songs returned in iTunes 11.0.1, which you can find in the menu bar under “View -> Show Duplicate Items”.

    If I’m reading your comment right, you want to move the library to a new computer? You can follow the instructions on this Apple Support page if you have an external hard disk drive.

    You can also do something similar using the HomeGroup file sharing feature in Windows 7 & 8, but this most likely will be slower depending on your local network, but it might be handy if you don’t have a large enough external HDD.

  • -OR- If you don’t want to have to erase-and-sync your iDevices then you should just copy the iTunes folder located in your Music folder on both Windows and Mac

    • Exactly… spot on. That’s all I’ve ever done for a long time. Pickup that one single folder, move it to another computer, drop it into the right spot, fire up iTunes and it’s like nothing happened, everything exactly where it was on the old confuser.

  • IMHO – Apple really messed up the music industry – when they moved the goalposts so that the player and the delivery system was the product, not the music. As a result, digital music collections have no value, whatsoever! My old ipod might as well be a BETAMax. One old Andy Williams record is worth more than an entire ‘iTunes library’. I think this is a good reason to stop dragging ‘worthless’ digital music files from drive to drive, format to format. I can access all that stuff via spotify, grooveshark and torrents anyways. Data is ephemeral!

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!