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MM Answers: how to migrate the iTunes library to an external disk or another computer?

Today we continue with our column MM Answers.

The question of the day:

How do I migrate my iTunes library to another computer or external drive?

The library

Music, movies, TV series, podcasts, apps, ringtones all content managed by iTunes takes up considerable space in your library. In addition, the organization of these contents (for example, their playlists) demand a certain amount of time so that everything is the way you want it.

Once this is done, however, you do not need to redo the work on another computer or external disk as long as you follow the following steps.

Backup, always!

Your information is important. As always, I suggest that you make a complete backup of your computer to an external disk or to an AirPort Time Capsule other than the drive that receives your library.

Backing up via Time Machine

Preparing for migration

To start the migration process, open iTunes and click Archive Library Organize Library.

Consolidating an iTunes library

Check the option "Consolidate files" and click "OK". In this way, all your music, movies, TV series, podcasts, applications and other content that are within your iTunes library will be organized and copied, if they are not already there in the iTunes Media folder, under / Music / iTunes / .

Come now iTunes Preferences, click on "Advanced" and check the option "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding them to library". This way, you will keep the folder you just consolidated always up to date.

Keeping your iTunes library organized

If you have ever moved your iTunes library, it is worth checking that your iTunes folder is in the original / desired location (option ?iTunes Media folder location?, also at iTunes Preferences Advanced). Usually your library's path will be presented as follows:

  • Mac: / Users / (username) / Music / iTunes / iTunes Media /
  • Windows XP: Documents and Settings (username) My Documents My Music
  • Windows Vista: Users (username) My Music
  • Windows 7 or 8: Users (username) Music

Migrating to an external disk / another computer

Quit iTunes, connect your external disk that received the copy and drag the iTunes folder to it. Depending on the size of your library and the speed of your external drive, the procedure may take a few good minutes (or even hours).

Dragging the iTunes folder to an external disk

Obviously, if the idea is to transfer the iTunes folder to another computer, just play it now from the external drive to the new machine.

Opening your new library

After copying is complete, follow these steps to open the new library:

  1. Press the key Option (on Mac) or Shift (on the PC) and click on the iTunes icon.
  2. When the message to choose iTunes library is displayed, click on the ?Choose Library? button.

Choosing an iTunes library

  1. Select the iTunes folder you just moved to the external drive by clicking To choose (OS X) or Open (Windows).
  2. Select the iTunes library file inside the copied folder. This is the file with the extension .itl.
  3. Wait for iTunes to open with your complete library.

More space and iTunes Match

If you migrate your iTunes library from your Mac / PC to an external disk, you will most likely gain considerable space on your computer, remembering that whenever you want to open iTunes and have access to its contents, you will need to plug in the external disk (or connect it, in the case of a wireless) so that the library is recognized by the computer.

If your concern is just about backup music and nothing else, iTunes Match (which costs $ 25 a year) does the job of copying all of your music to the cloud. He doesn't actually copy them all; as its name implies, it analyzes your music and combines it with those in the service catalog; this way, all the music you have in your library that are also in the iTunes Store catalog will become available for you to download / download streaming any time.

If any music you have is not in the store's catalog, it is uploaded so that you have it available in the cloud, like all the others.

iTunes Match

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