Transferring or syncing an iTunes library between two computers

Q: We have four different accounts and log-ins on our home desktop. My wife recently bought a laptop and wants to sync her iTunes library and account with her laptop. How can I do this?

– John

A: There are a couple of ways to go about this depending upon whether your wife wants to maintain her library both on her home computer and laptop or transfer it to her laptop to only use it on there.

To simply transfer the library to the laptop, check out our iPod 201 tutorial on Transferring your iTunes Library, which provides detailed instructions on how to copy off your iTunes library and which files you should be looking for.

On the other hand, if she would rather keep her primary iTunes library on the shared home computer and have a copy on the laptop to travel with, you should check out a utility called TuneRanger (, $30, trial available), which is designed to keep the content in sync between two or more iTunes libraries somewhat automatically across a network connection.

Note that TuneRanger does not create an exact copy of your library database, but rather syncs your content between two (or more) distinct library databases.

This is an important distinction when it comes to syncing an iPod, since an iPod in automatic sync mode will still only be able to have content synced onto it from one iTunes library—in this case either the laptop or the desktop. If you want to load content onto the iPod from both places, you will need to set it to manual mode. If you want to maintain the ease of automatic synchronization, your wife will need to choose a single iTunes library as her “primary” library with which she synchronizes her iPod.