Restoring iTunes to an external hard drive
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 previously had iTunes installed on a work laptop, and now I have DVD backups of this. The laptop is no more and I want to know if I can install iTunes on an external hard drive and then transfer the backups on the DVDs to the install? We have 3 iPods (touch, classic and nano) in the family that need to be synched to the iTunes install. If I can run the whole of iTunes from the external drive can I then attach this to other computers as and when required? I don’t want to install iTunes to the internal drive of the home computer due to storage issues.
A: There are a couple of ways you can handle this. If it’s your intent to run iTunes from a single family computer, then the simplest solution is to just store the content on the external drive. In this configuration, the iTunes library database remains on your internal drive, but your actual media files are stored and maintained on the external hard drive. Moving the iTunes database is a separate process, and realistically the database itself takes up minimal space as compared to your media content.
In this case, you would simply start off the new library with a media folder pointing to the external hard drive. You can specific your iTunes Media folder location under iTunes Advanced Preferences:
Once you’ve set the media folder to live on the external hard drive, any new content you add to your iTunes library will be copied to that location and stored there. So, as you restore or import your DVD backup, the files should be copied straight from the DVDs to the external hard drive.
Alternatively, you are looking to have an iTunes library on the external hard drive that’s shared between more than one computer, then you will want to move the iTunes database to the external hard drive as well. If you’re starting a new iTunes library, you can place the database wherever you want initially by holding down the SHIFT key (Windows) or OPT key (Mac) while starting iTunes. iTunes will prompt you to either create a new library or choose a library from another location.
If you’re starting fresh, simply choose “Create Library” and point iTunes to a folder on the external hard drive where you would like your library to be created. If you already have an existing iTunes library, then you will need to manually move it to the new location, and then use the “Choose Library” option in this dialog box to point iTunes to the library database in the new location.
You can read more information about how all of this fits together in our iPod 201 article on Transferring your iTunes 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?
- Notes from Apple’s Q3 2016 earnings call
- Apple Q3 results: $42.4B revenue, 40M iPhones, 10M iPads sold
- Researchers expose security flaw in Osram smart bulbs
- Cops bust ‘criminal enterprise’ using stolen credit cards at Chicago-area Apple stores
- Update in iOS 10 allows for autoplay of silent videos in Safari
- WSJ: Apple brings in trusted executive Mansfield to head Apple Car project
- CarPlay to be available in all 2017 Ford models
- Rumors claim new iPhone will be released Sept. 16, could have ‘iPhone 6 SE’ name
- Photos claim to show alleged ‘iPad Pro 2’
- Apple to sell limited-edition Olympic Apple Watch bands exclusively in Brazil
- Moe Bull Stand for iPad Air 2 + 9.7” iPad Pro
- Netatmo Tags for Welcome Smart Home Camera
- iDevices Socket HomeKit-enabled Light Adapter
- Koogeek Wi-Fi SmartPlug for Apple HomeKit
- Marbotic Smart Letters for iPad
- Ecoxgear Sol Jam Bluetooth Speaker
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case + Hand Strap for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Braven BRV-1M Bluetooth Speaker
- Braven BRV-Blade Bluetooth Speaker
- Invoxia Voice Bridge
- 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
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app