Consolidating multiple iTunes libraries
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I have iTunes on several computers in my home and I have purchased music from the iTunes Store on two seperate computers. I would now like to consolidate all this music to one computer. Do you have any suggestions on how I can do this? Transferring the information does not seem so hard but how do I get it properly installed? Should i consider a third party software and if so what would you recommend?
A: If it is simply your goal to consolidate your purchased content in a single location, the easiest solution may be simply to use your iPod as a transfer conduit. iTunes supports reverse-sync of purchased content from your iPod back to any authorized computer, so if you simply load up all of your iTunes purchases onto your iPod in manual mode and then connect it back to your “main” computer (the once you want to consolidate your music onto), you can use the File, Transfer Purchases option to transfer this content from your iPod back onto your primary computer.
If you are looking to consolidate content other than that purchased from the iTunes Store, this may be a bit more complicated, but is certainly possible. The most straightforward method in this case is to simply copy the media files themselves onto the central computer using a network connection or an external hard drive, and then import them into the primary iTunes library as you would for any other content. This will not bring across any data such as play counts, last played times, or ratings, but any other metadata which is stored in the files themselves, such as track name, artist, album, genre, etc, will import into the new iTunes library.
Playlists can be transferred across in a similar manner: Simply export the playlist from the remote iTunes libraries using the File, Export command in iTunes, which will save the playlist to an XML file. You can then copy this XML file onto the central computer and import it into the main iTunes library using the File, Import command.
Alternatively, if all of your music is stored on your iPod, you can use any number of third-party tools to transfer this information back to your main iTunes library. Our article on Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer provides more detail and some suggested applications for this.
Another option you may want to look into is the TuneRanger application (http://www.acertant.com, $30, trial available), which is a software package designed to synchronize multiple iTunes libraries across a network. This software will be especially effective if you have a lot of duplicated music across your multiple iTunes libraries, since it also provides features for cleaning up duplicates as part of this process and otherwise optimizing your iTunes library. If you have a complicated set of iTunes libraries, this is probably the best route to take in getting a single consistent library.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Apple to provide more unified TV experience with new ‘TV’ app for Apple TV
- Elgato announces HomeKit-enabled Eve Light Switch
- Apple delays AirPods release
- Report: iPhone 8 likely to come in three glass-backed sizes
- Report: New Apple TV app to provide show recommendations
- Apple’s German website adds Apple Pay support page, but still no launch
- Notes from Apple’s Q4 2016 earnings call
- Apple Q4 2016: $46.9B revenue, 45.5M iPhones + 9.2M iPads sold
- Apple reportedly hiring engineers from BlackBerry, developing car operating system in Canada
- Apple releases PowerBeats3 Wireless earphones
- Creative iRoar Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2 Headphones
- Incase Icon, Pop, and Textured Snap for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Philips Hue Motion Sensor
- Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature Headphones
- Tech Armor FlexProtect and Shock Flex for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- SwitchEasy Flash and Fleur for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Blue Microphones Raspberry Mobile Microphone
- Incipio Haven for iPhone 7 and Reprieve Sport for iPhone 7 Plus
- Mophie Hold Force Magnetic Case System for iPhone 7
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps