Storing iTunes content on two hard drives
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 now have so much music that I am about to start my second external hard drive on my laptop. Can songs from both discs be added to the library and will iTunes automatically select the appropriate drive when playing a selection from both drives?
A: The simplest way to do this is to ensure that you have the “Copy files to iTunes Music Folder when adding to library” option turned OFF in your iTunes advanced preferences:
This will ensure that any tracks that you add to your iTunes library via drag-and-drop or the File, Add to Library menu are simply referenced from their original locations (ie, on whichever external drive they’re located on), rather than being copied into the iTunes Music Folder location. iTunes simply stores the full path to the original location of the file, referencing it from that location, regardless of which hard drive or other device that it is located on.
Keep in mind that when importing tracks in this manner, you will not be able to allow iTunes to manage your music folder structure for you, as it normally expects that all of your music files live in its normal iTunes Music Folder location, and will not manage any tracks outside of this folder path.
Therefore, since iTunes cannot manage the track file/folder organization, you will want to ensure that you have the tracks located in whatever organized directory structure you prefer before importing them into your iTunes library. iTunes stores the absolute path to each file, and it is much more complicated to move files around after they have been imported into iTunes, as it will lose track of their locations (resulting in broken links in your iTunes library).
Further, when deleting tracks from your iTunes library, if they are located outside of the iTunes Music Folder, then iTunes itself will not offer to delete the underlying physical file for you—you will have to find the file and remove it from your hard drive manually. Again, iTunes considers any tracks located outside of its own “iTunes Music Folder” to be outside of its control, and therefore does not manage these files in any way, other than simply referencing them.
If you prefer to use the automatic folder organization and management features of iTunes, you may want to consider purchasing a large enough external hard drive to store your entire music collection, and then simply changing your iTunes Music Folder location to the external drive and storing all of your content on there. This will allow you to take advantage of iTunes’ automatic file/folder management features, where it will keep the music files organized into a proper subdirectory structure, and also handle cleaning up any tracks as you delete them from your library.
If you do plan on changing your music folder path to another drive, the iTunes Consolidate Library function (found under the “Advanced” menu) can be used to migrate all of your music files to the new iTunes Music Folder path.
- 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 provide more unified TV experience with new ‘TV’ app for Apple TV
- Elgato announces HomeKit-enabled Eve Light Switch
- Apple delays AirPods release
- Report: iPhone 8 likely to come in three glass-backed sizes
- Report: New Apple TV app to provide show recommendations
- Apple’s German website adds Apple Pay support page, but still no launch
- Notes from Apple’s Q4 2016 earnings call
- Apple Q4 2016: $46.9B revenue, 45.5M iPhones + 9.2M iPads sold
- Apple reportedly hiring engineers from BlackBerry, developing car operating system in Canada
- Apple releases PowerBeats3 Wireless earphones
- Creative iRoar Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- 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
- 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