Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Previously in this chapter I talked about how to expand your iTunes library across multiple hard drives, which can be useful when you're running out of space on your main hard drive where your iTunes library is stored. But there may come a time when you want to completely move your iTunes library to another drive, instead of having it spread across multiple drives. So in this movie I would like to show you how to move your library to a completely separate drive. Now, I want to address two slightly different scenarios for moving your library. First, you might want to move it to a larger drive because your current drive is running out of space, but I'm also going to show you an optional step here if you're interested in making your iTunes library portable.
And what I mean by portable is that you can copy over some additional files to your external drive, so that you can then connect that drive to any computer running iTunes and be able to access your entire library without having to move or transfer files to that computer. Again, this will be an optional step, so you can skip it if you only intend to use your iTunes library with the computer it originated on. Also I do want to warn you that this is a slightly more advanced topic, because we will be moving files around using the Finder or Windows Explorer. So be sure you understand what I'm showing you here before you try it yourself and proceed at your own risk.
If you pay attention of what I do here though, it's actually very easy to do. So let's save your internal drive where all my iTunes content is stored on my computer is getting full. I want to move the entire library to the second drive I've connected to my computer. Now, the first thing I suggest to do is to go to iTunes > Preferences or on Windows go to Edit > Preferences and under the Advanced tab, if they aren't already selected, make sure to check Keep iTunes Media folder organized and Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library. We have mention these checkboxes a few times already, but again this makes sure that any files you drag into iTunes get copied into organized folders within your main iTunes library, and the library location is specified here at the top of the window.
And currently it's set to my default location. But I want to change this location, so I'll click Change. And here I'll select the drive I want to move my library to, and you can see it's mostly empty. I just have this folder called backup stuff on it. Now, this is very important. If you plan or even think that you want to be able to connect this hard drive to another copy of iTunes on another computer, don't just choose that external hard drive as the location for your library. You want to make a couple of subfolders here. First I'm going to click New Folder. I'll call this iTunes so I know what it is, and within that iTunes folder I'm going to create a another new folder, and I'm just going to call this Library.
You can call it anything you want as long as you remember what you named it. So I'll click Create. With my Library selected I'll choose that. So you can see now I've changed my library location. Now, if you recall from the earlier movie on expanding your library, if I just left everything as it is right now, any new content I drag into iTunes will get stored in this new location while all of my current songs and videos that are currently in my library will be stored in the old library location. But I want everything to go over to this new location. So I'm going to close my preferences. So you can see it says Updating iTunes library and let me just show you what it's done so far.
If I go and look in my Drive A, there is an iTunes folder I created, there is that Library folder, and here it has just created a folder called Automatically Add to iTunes, which we've looked at before. So now in iTunes, I'm going to go to the File menu and choose Library > Organize Library, and here I'm going to make sure Consolidate files is checked. So when I click OK, that's going to copy all the files now currently stored in my old library location, which is essentially all of them, into the new location we just selected. So I'll click OK and you can see it's now copying my songs over.
Now depending on how large your library is, this could take several minutes to several hours. Just let iTunes do its thing until all the files are copied over. All right, so now iTunes has done copying and at this point all of my media files are now stored on my other hard drive. If I go out in my Finder again and look in Drive A and look in iTunes, there is my Library folder I created. And if I look under Music, you can see it created all these folders. It did in fact copy all of my music over. So now that these files have been copied over, I'm free to delete the files from their original location.
On a Mac, again, that default location is inside the Music folder in your home folder inside iTunes, and on the Windows side of things, you can get to that location by clicking the Start menu, your user folder, and My Music. Now, this is very important. Do not just delete this entire iTunes folder. iTunes is actually still using this folder. If I open it up, notice these files you are seeing here, iTunes Library.itl, iTunes Music Library.xml, and so on. These are database files iTunes uses to keep track of your library's location and to keep it organized.
So even though you moved your content to another drive, iTunes still uses this original location to store the information about your library. Now these files take up virtually no space. What's really eating up your hard drive space is the iTunes Media folder, where all of your stuff was stored. So you really want to do here is to delete the iTunes Media folder, which maybe also labeled iTunes Music, and you can just drag that entire file to your Recycle Bin and then Empty Recycle Bin to delete it. Let's switch back to the Mac. Now, in the Mac the same thing goes. If I look inside the Music folder inside iTunes, we see these exact same files here, iTunes Music Library and iTunes Library.
Those are the two main important ones, and again all of the content is stored inside iTunes Music, which, since we've copied that over, we can actually then just drag to our Trash. And then empty our trash to free up that space. And that's really all there is to it. My media is now safely on my external drive, and I can still play it off through iTunes. (Music playing) Now I mention in optional step if you want to be able to make your iTunes library portable. Now as you just saw, I copied my entire library of content to another drive, but those database files iTunes uses are still on my main drive in my home user folder.
To make my iTunes library portable, I need to copy these database files to the external drive as well. That's why I had you save your library in a subfolder on the new drive, because these database files need to stay on the outside of your iTunes content folder. So I'm just going to quit iTunes for a moment here, and inside the iTunes folder, now again this is in my main user folder, Music > iTunes, I'm just going to select everything in this folder. Now first of all I'm going to open Drive A so I can see what I'm doing here. And then I'm going to open another Finder window, go back to my Music folder, iTunes, and now I select everything in here and I'll copy that over to my other drive, to my Drive A. With those files copied there, my iTunes library is now truly portable.
Everything that has to do with my iTunes library is now on Drive A. Now you might even want to do this, even if you don't intend of making a portable iTunes drive. This is just to make sure that you get everything related to your iTunes library into one location, but if we were on an external drive and I connected to another computer, all I have to do is hold down Option on my Mac or Shift on the Windows as I start up iTunes again. And this is something you're going to have to do after you move these files anyway. So again, on a Mac, hold down Option and on Windows hold down Shift. Startup iTunes. Now I'm prompted to choose a library. So I'll click Choose Library, I'll select Drive A where I've copied everything over to, iTunes, the folder containing my library, and I'll select iTunes Library.
I'll click Choose and I can again see all of my content. And as you can see, I can still play any of my content as well. (Music playing) So at this point, if I wanted to, I really could go into my main home user folder into Music, and then delete this entire iTunes folder, because now everything that has to do with iTunes is copied to Drive A. And that's how you move your iTunes library from your main hard drive to another hard drive.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
73 Video lessons · 14862 Viewers
130 Video lessons · 17256 Viewers
110 Video lessons · 8612 Viewers
80 Video lessons · 11121 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.