Storing a large iTunes library in multiple folders
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 keep all my iTunes related libraries on external hard drives, meaning my music files and library index files are on one external drive and movies are on another external drive. These could be combined to a single external hard drive but neither can fit on the system drive. I have no problems with setting iTunes to see the music library but cannot get iTunes to recognize the movies on an external drive. What setting or understanding am I missing here?
A: Storing media content in multiple locations in iTunes can be a bit complicated, since iTunes only allows you to specify a single iTunes Music folder, which is where it expects all of its content to live.
If you want to keep some content elsewhere, the simplest solution is to place that content where you want it to be located, and then turn OFF the option to “Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library” under your iTunes Advanced preferences. When you import content with this option disabled, iTunes will leave this content in its original location, and simply reference it from there, rather than making a copy in its own music folder.
The disadvantage to this process is that iTunes will not organize or manage this content, since it’s outside of its music folder. Therefore, if you change the tags for these tracks, they will not be automatically renamed, and if you delete them from your iTunes library, iTunes will not offer to delete the original files—you’ll have to go and clean those up yourself.
You’ll also need to be cautious about using the “Consolidate Library” option, since this will try to copy all of this external content into your iTunes Music folder location, which will presumably not have enough storage space to hold it all.
Note that if your content is already in your iTunes library and you want to do this, you will have to copy it out to the new location, delete it from your iTunes library, and then reimport it from the new location, with the “Copy Files…” option disabled.
If you’re using a Mac and are a more advanced user, another option is to create Unix-style symbolic links to certain sub-folders, or to create a mount point within your existing iTunes Music folder that connects the external drive within the files system (so for example, the folder /iTunes Music/Movies actually references the second hard drive directly). The mount point option can also be done on Windows with NTFS file systems. In either case, this is generally only recommended for more advanced users who have an understanding of the Unix or NTFS file systems, but it will effectively allow you to span your existing library across multiple drives by creating operating-system level links between those drives while iTunes still believes it’s dealing with a single music folder.
- 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 sell limited-edition Olympic Apple Watch bands exclusively in Brazil
- Report: iPhone 7 will include Lightning adapter instead of Lightning EarPods
- Edward Snowden designing device to prevent iPhone wiretapping
- Report: Apple Car team running into challenges, launch may slip to 2021
- Corning announces Gorilla Glass 5
- Apple under fire for providing refurbished replacements under AppleCare+
- Report: Apple acquires cloud music provider Omnifone? [Update: No]
- Apple releases second iOS 10 public beta
- India clears the way for Apple to open retail stores
- Apple Pay launches in Hong Kong
- 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
- Incase Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2
- 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