Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Extending your library, part of Up and Running with iTunes 12.
- If like many people you use iTunes as your primary media management system to organize and play your audio and video files, there's a chance you may reach a point where your content has started to fill up your hard drive to the point where you're getting dangerously close to running out of space. Now as we've seen, you do have the option of going into Preferences. And under Advanced, here, you can uncheck "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding "to library" and that'll let you keep your media file say on an external hard drive while still letting iTunes manage them so you'll see them listed in your library.
But that doesn't solve the problem of files being added to your main iTunes folder when you rip songs off a CD or download content from the iTunes store. That stuff will continue to fill up your main iTunes folder. As we've already discussed, the default location where iTunes stores your content is listed right here. We can change this to a different location. For instance, we can select a second internal or external drive connected to our computer, by clicking Change. I like to refer to this as extending or expanding your library. Now, if you're following along with me, I don't suggest to do this with your own copy of iTunes unless you really are running out of space.
Nothing bad will happen but there's really no need to change your library location unless you have to. So for this example, maybe I want iTunes to start saving my content to this Drive A drive, which is an internal hard drive on my computer. And maybe here, I'll create a new folder, and I'll call it "iTunes Library pt2". I'll click create and choose Open. And now you can see the location of my iTunes Media folder has now been changed. Now at first glance, it really looks like we just redefined iTunes default library location and told iTunes to forget the previous location information, but iTunes will in fact continue to keep track of all the content in your original location as well as in the new one.
By specifying this new location on my second hard drive, which has a lot more room, any new content I add to iTunes whether it's from a CD, the iTunes store, or from just dragging files into iTunes manually, all that content will be added to the new location but only if you keep Copy files to iTunes Media folder checked. This allows me to spread my iTunes files over multiple locations. I'll still have all my original music in its original location but anything I add after this point will be added to this new location. Let me show you what I mean, I'll click OK.
Now, this dialogue box that has appeared is asking me if I want to move and rename files that are currently in the old location. I'm gonna say no in this case because I want to keep those in their original location. For instance, if I open one of these albums and right click on a song and choose "Get info" then go to file, I can see this is still stored in my original iTunes Media location in my home folder. But what I'm gonna do now is take these two albums I have sitting on my desktop and just so you can see, these are complete albums with several mp3s in them, and I'm just gonna drag them both into iTunes.
You can see, it's copying the files over. And now if I go out to my finder and look in Drive A, there's the iTunes Library pt2 file we created. If I look in there, a folder called "Music" has been created in here. And here are the two albums, I just added. So these two albums are nicely organized in their entirety in my new library location. And again, I didn't lose access to any of the other content in my library. Everything else in here is still sitting in my original iTunes folder location and iTunes is still keeping track of them and I can still play them.
It's just that the new albums and any other content I add from now on will reside in the new location. This is a great way to increase the storage capacity of your iTunes library and spread your content across multiple drives instead of having to copy all your old files to a new location.
- Differences between the Mac and Windows versions of iTunes
- Using the playback controls
- Importing music and videos
- Consolidating your library
- Finding duplicate songs
- Playing music, playlists, and radio
- Sharing and streaming content
- Purchasing content from the iTunes Store