Moving iTunes to a new computer
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: My old computer has iTunes 9 with a combination of songs and movies purchased from the iTUnes Store and songs I loaded from my own CDs. I recently purchased a new laptop and I want to de-authorize the old laptop but want to transfer all movies and songs to the new one. I tried using my iPod touch to transfer my content, but only music and movies that were purchased from the iTunes Store were transferred to the new laptop. The songs I imported from my CDs did not transfer but remained on the iPod touch. Both computers are named the same, both are using Windows XP and the default file locations for iTunes. I don’t want to have to re-add over 300 songs from CDs. Apple keeps tell me to burn backups, but the instructions aren’t clear. Any suggestions for how I can get my library transferred easily to the new laptop?
A: The simplest and best way to transfer your iTunes library between computers is really just to copy your entire “iTunes” folder from your old computer onto the new one. You can use any of the normal file-transfer methods to accomplish this, including a network file-share between the two computers, an external hard drive or USB memory key, or by burning CDs or DVDs of the iTunes folder content itself.
If all of your iTunes content is stored in its default locations, simply copying the entire “iTunes” folder from under your “My Music” folder should include your iTunes library database and all of your content. As an added bonus, this will ensure that any playlists, ratings, play counts, and iPod sync settings are also copied, since this content is stored in the iTunes database itself.
Your can find more detailed instructions on how to do this in our tutorial on Transferring your iTunes Library.
Note that it is possible to use your iPod touch to transfer your library as well, but this is a more complicated process than simply copying over the entire iTunes folder to the new computer. Transferring data from your iPod back to your computer is best used only as a last resort when you have lost the data on your computer and it only resides on your iPod. As you’ve noticed, iTunes itself will only transfer back purchased content, however a number of third-party tools are available that can be used to transfer any other content on your iPod back to your computer. See our iPod 201 article, Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer for more information.
- 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’s new ‘Echo rival’ may feature a camera
- Apple ‘working rapidly’ to extend Apple Pay to more countries
- Report: Apple’s Siri-based Amazon Echo competitor will be a new Apple TV
- Report: Apple SVP Eddy Cue proposed bid to buy Time Warner
- Beta testing for Pokémon GO begins in the U.S.
- Apple’s plan to open stores in India hits a snag (Update: India’s finance minister ratifies ruling)
- Apple looking into charging stations for electric cars
- Apple hires hint at improvements in encryption, health monitoring
- Hyundai adds CarPlay support to more vehicles
- Plaintiffs file new motion to keep ‘Error 53’ Touch ID lawsuit alive
- OtterBox Symmetry Series Hybrid Case for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Logitech Logi BASE Charging Stand for iPad Pro
- Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)