Moving iTunes libraries between computers
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 bought a new computer and plan to give my old computer to my brother-in-law who wants the disk space cleaned off. I want to transfer my library to my new computer and erase it from the old one. I have backed up my iTunes library using the iTunes “Back up to Disc” feature and have also copied my “My Music” folder directly to a folder on an external hard drive. How should I go about transferring this information to the new computer? Can I “Restore” my library to the new computer from the backup disk? Should I just overwrite the “My Music” from the external drive onto the new computer? Do I have to worry about the new computer not seeing my iPod (“home” computer issues)? Should I set the iPod to sync manually before deleting the library off the old computer? Thanks!
A: If you have a copy of your entire “My Music” folder on an external hard drive and all of your music is stored in the default location under the “My Music” folder (normally “My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music”), then the simplest method is to just copy the entire “iTunes” sub-folder structure right back to the corresponding location on the new computer. If you’ve already run iTunes on the new computer, it will have created this folder structure with an empty library, but you can safely overwrite this unless you’ve already manually imported new music into it.
In this case, since you are restoring the entire library exactly “as-is” with the same database and related files, the version of iTunes on the new computer should basically pick up everything as it was on the old computer, including your playlists, ratings, play counts and your iPod sync settings. iTunes stores information on any associated iPods within the library database itself, so it will simply recognize your iPod normally on the new computer without any reconfiguration required.
The only settings that are not stored in your iTunes library database are most of your iTunes preference settings. You can dig up your iTunes preference files and copy them over separately if you really want to (they’ll be hidden down under your home folder’s “Local Settings\Application Data” on the older computer), but it’s generally far simpler to just pull up your iTunes preferences window and quickly go through them again for any settings that you’re concerned about. Most of these preferences will not affect your library organization or your ability to sync your iPod, but are usually concerned with things like importing CDs, using the iTunes Store and playing back your content on your computer.
- 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 releases iOS 10.1, tvOS 10.0.1, watchOS 3.1
- New details about Apple Watch Nike+ exclusives, availability
- Apple’s website hints at possible Apple Pay launch in Germany
- ConnectSense Smart Outlet adds power monitoring, reduces price
- Automatic releases new Automatic Lite version of car monitoring accessory
- Apple releases fourth tvOS 10.0.1 beta
- iOS dev finds unimplemented one-handed keyboard in iOS code
- Apple sends out press invites for ‘Hello Again’ Oct. 27 Mac event
- Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.1 to developers
- Apple partners with builders to include HomeKit-enabled devices in new homes
- 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
- Speck Presidio and Tech21 Evo Tactical 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