Transferring iTunes via 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 currently have my iTunes library on an external hard drive attached to a Mac. I am planning to buy a new computer and was wondering how I can move my library. Surely it can’t be as simple as plugging the external hard drive into a new computer. Or can it?
A: It’s actually almost that simple, although you still have to account for transferring the iTunes library database to the new computer.
Even when you store your iTunes Music Folder on an external hard drive, this only includes the actual media content—the iTunes library database itself remains located in your local “Music” folder (under your user profile).
So, to move your iTunes library to a new computer via your external hard drive, you have to transfer the content of the “iTunes” folder from your “Music” folder on your old Mac to your “Music” folder on your new Mac. This can easily be done using the same external hard drive to transport it between the two machine.
Once you have copied the iTunes folder over to your new Mac, you should be able to simply start iTunes on the new Mac and it should pick up the existing iTunes library database (since it will always search for it in the “Music” folder of the current user profile by default), and things should work much the same as they did on the original computer.
You will still need to adjust your iTunes preferences on your new Mac, as these are stored outside of the iTunes library database. Pay particular attention to the iTunes Music Folder setting under Preferences, Advanced, as this defines where new music files that you import will be stored—it should be set to your external hard drive path, in much the same way as it was on your original Mac.
- 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 adds Accessibility section to its online store
- LAPD hacked into iPhone 5s for murder investigation
- More details emerge on Apple Music overhaul
- iPhone tops Time’s list of most influential gadgets
- Kohl’s integrates rewards system with Apple Pay
- Apple hires ex-Nest exec to aid in health initiatives
- Apple loses exclusive ‘iPhone’ trademark in China
- Apple to reveal ‘sweeping changes’ to Apple Music interface at WWDC
- Apple releases fourth developer betas for iOS 9.3.2, tvOS 9.2.1
- Bowers & Wilkins acquired by EVA Automation
- 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
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt with HomeKit support
- ClamCase ClamCase Pro for iPad mini 4
- Brydge BrydgeMini II Keyboard for iPad mini 4
- 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)