Transferring iTunes library to a new Mac
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 am planning to get a new computer, and will be copying my iTunes Library to an external hard drive. I use the checkboxes in the song list to turn off songs I don’t want to listen to. How can I keep the unchecked songs that way when I get my new computer?
A: The simple answer in this case is to ensure that you also copy the iTunes library database to the external hard drive as well, and then transfer this back to your own computer.
By default, the iTunes library database is found in your My Music\iTunes folder on a PC, or your Music/iTunes folder on a Mac.
Within this folder several files and sub-folders may appear, but the key component is the iTunes Library.itl file. This file contains all of your metadata that is not stored within the tracks themselves, such as rating, play count, last played time and checkbox state. This file also includes all of your playlists, as well as other information, such as tracking the iPods that are associated to a particular library, and the synchronization status of those iPods.
If this will be a one-time transfer to a new computer, the simplest solution is to shut down iTunes on your old computer and then copy the entire content of the “iTunes” folder to the external hard drive. You can then connect the external hard drive to your new computer, and copy the “iTunes” folder back to your My Music folder on the new computer. Once you start iTunes, it will read this database file from this default location, and everything should work in much the same way as it did on the original computer.
If you want to keep your iTunes library database on the external hard drive along with your music, then you can tell iTunes to use a different path for this file by holding down the SHIFT key (Windows) or OPT key (Mac) when starting iTunes. Keep holding it until you see a dialog box similar to the following:
You can then select the “Choose Library” option and browse to the path of the “iTunes” folder on your external hard drive. Once this has been changed, iTunes will default to this path each time it is launched unless you change it again by following the same procedure.
- 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 TV App Store now removes installed apps from Top Charts
- Apple to push ‘new’ iPhone cycle from two to three years?
- Apple sued by Caltech over Wi-Fi patents
- Report: Developers losing interest in making watchOS apps
- Source: New AI set to give Siri a massive improvement
- India officially rejects Apple’s bid to sell used iPhones
- 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
- Spigen Rugged Armor, Style Armor + Wallet S for iPhone SE
- 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
- 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)