Storing artwork on 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 have all of my iTunes files on an external hard drive connected to my laptop. However, all of my album artwork is being stored on my actual laptop hard drive. How do I change this? How can I transfer all of my artwork from my laptop hard drive to my external hard drive without confusing all the files? How can I make the default place for my artwork to be stored be on my external hard drive?
A: Although iTunes does create an “album artwork” folder in the same location as your iTunes library database, this is not necessarily the only place where album artwork is stored. Rather, this functions as a cache for any artwork you manually add, as well as the location for album artwork that is automatically downloaded through iTunes’ “Get Artwork” function.
Artwork that you manually add to the tracks themselves is actually placed in a tag within each track file. This means that no matter where you copy the song file, the artwork itself will always be available within the track. Even if you were to import these tracks into a brand new iTunes library, the artwork will be included.
For manually added artwork, iTunes does cache the artwork within the “album artwork” folder, in a subdirectory called “local.” This cache is intended to improve performance for artwork-intensive features like the new iTunes 7 “Coverflow” feature.
Note that this also applies to artwork that you download through third-party applications such as iArt. These applications use the same functions that you would if you were adding the artwork manually, and therefore the artwork will be stored within the tracks.
On the other hand, artwork that you download automatically through iTunes 7’s new “Get Artwork” feature is not embedded in the tracks themselves, but rather only stored in the “album artwork” folder, under the “download” sub-folder. Tracks with automatically downloaded artwork will not maintain this artwork if moved to a different iTunes library, since the artwork isn’t in the MP3/M4A file itself. However, since the artwork was downloaded automatically, iTunes can easily re-retrieve the artwork as required, which at least partially eliminates the need to store the artwork within the track.
Embedding the artwork is the best way to preserve it for backup purposes, but if you do want to move the artwork directory to conserve disk space or maintain your iTunes data completely on the external hard drive, this is done by moving the entire iTunes library folder. Unfortunately there’s no way to move just the album artwork folder—you need to move the entire “iTunes” folder and all other associated files to the external hard drive in the process.
To do this, simply shut down iTunes and copy your “iTunes” folder (from directly under your “My Music” folder in Windows or your “Music” folder on a Mac) to a location on the external hard drive. Once you’ve done this, hold down the SHIFT key (Windows) or OPT key (Mac) while starting iTunes. You should be prompted with a dialog box similar to the following:
Simply select “Choose Library…” and then browse to the location that you copied the “iTunes” folder to on the external hard drive. From this point on, iTunes will continue to use this new path for it’s library database and other related data such as album artwork unless you manually change it to another location by using the same procedure again.
- 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 files lawsuit accusing Qualcomm of withholding patent royalties
- Apple releases updated iOS Developer Design Resources
- Apple’s exclusive audiobook deal with Audible ends in Europe following EU antitrust scrutiny
- Nintendo officially announces Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS, coming Feb. 2
- Rumor: Apple working on second-generation Apple Pencil
- GarageBand 2.2 adds Logic Pro X integration, Alchemy synth, Multi-Take Recording
- FTC files complaint against Qualcomm citing royalty deal with Apple
- India mulling manufacturing regulation changes which could woo Apple
- Apple Music creative team discusses the service’s exclusives, future
- Apple raising UK App Store prices by more than 25 percent
- Revogi Smart Lightbulb, Smart Lightstrip, Smart Candle + Smart Meter Plug
- Audeze iSine10 In-Ear Headphones
- MOCACARE MOCACuff Connected Blood Pressure Monitor
- Apple AirPods
- Elgato Eve Motion
- Olloclip Core Lens Set for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack
- Elgato Eve Light Switch
- iHome iPLWBT5 Docking Clock Radio for iPhone and Apple Watch
- Brydge 12.9 iPad Pro Keyboard
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- 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