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Can I split my iTunes library across two hard drives?

39356 Views 28 Replies Latest reply: Mar 11, 2014 5:09 PM by BarackObama RSS
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miniman Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jun 25, 2012 11:07 PM

I am busy ripping my huge movie collection into an iTunes library, so I can play through my new Apple TV to my HDTV. Trouble is, it looks like I'll probably need at least 4TB's of HD space before I'm all finished. What I would like to do is to buy an external HD unit with two 3TB drives, and split my iTunes library across them, while still being able to view all of the movies on both drives all of the time, and give me lots of extra room for future expansion.


Is this possible? If not, does anyone know of an aftermarket Thunderbolt 4TB external HD? I found a 4TB drive, but not with Thunderbolt.



Mac mini (Mid 2011), Mac OS X (10.7.4), iPod Classic, Macbook, Apple TV2
  • DJ Jenn Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 26, 2012 12:05 AM (in response to miniman)

    I have the same question.


    I would like to be able to do the same thing with all my media. I'm a DJ and certain aspects of Mac Os X Lion or iCloud, and iTunes Match, don't favor folks with tons of media, storage wise. I'm not happy that there's a limit on how much space iCloud will give you. Yet, I feel forced to upgrade to Lion within the next 4 days. I've been hesitant to rip my collection or even upload all those digital copies because where will I put all those files. I agree with needing like 4-8T just to store, but how? I don't have Thunderbolt, only Firewire on late '08 iMac 20" and USB on 08 MacBook 13" Aluminum. Bleh!


    If you can use Time Capsule to back up your entire network with more than one computer, it would seem likely that you should be able to piggy back 2 xTime Capsules. I believe they come with 2-3Ts now and you can get them refurbished? I'm gonna look at Time Capsule Support to find out for myself, I'll let you know what I find, also. One thing I did noticed was that I had uploaded a bunch of Digital Copies from movies I had bought from Blu-Ray Combo Packs like 2 years ago and deleted them from MacBook for more space, only to recently find that they had been saved as purchased items from the iTunes Store. So now I can grab them from iTunes and watch them anytime off my Apple TV.


    Good Luck,


  • Matthew McAlister Level 4 Level 4 (1,025 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 26, 2012 12:19 AM (in response to miniman)

    I believe that as long as the media is not moved after you have created the iTunes Library files (iTunes Library.itl, etc.) you SHOULD be able to disperse the files across multiple drives.


    This, however, will not allow you to use a unified folder to contain ALL of your iTunes media. I suggest being careful to use a particular drive for each media type (music, movies, podcasts...)


    If you do plan to use that method, it is important that you adjust the iTunes media location preferences accordingly. (Not exactly like the photo, but how it best suits your need)

    Screen Shot 2012-06-26 at 2.14.10 AM.png

  • Matthew McAlister Level 4 Level 4 (1,025 points)

    The only method I can think of in order to do that is to take advantage of RAID 0


  • Badunit Level 6 Level 6 (10,760 points)

    I think what Matthew is suggesting is to uncheck the "copy files to iTunes Media Folder" button.  As I understand it, this will leave your media wherever it is and will create pointers from your library to that media.  You will have one library but your media will be dispersed, not contained in the library. So, for example, you could have movies on one drive, music on another, and the library (which will contain no media, just data) on your boot drive. I've not used this option but that's what I think it does. The disadvantage is that it is easier to mess things up when your media is dispersed and easily accessible via Finder.  Be sure to have a plan for organizing your media before you start.


    But if you already have a library and now wish to move media out of it without messing up playlists or losing any "info" you may have added, I don't know how to do that.

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,845 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 27, 2012 12:27 PM (in response to miniman)

    If you can't edit the properties of any iTunes object that usually indicates an issue with permissions, e.g. locked as read-only, or at least read-only for your profile. Also if you try to edit the properties before selecting another piece of media for playback the file may be locked and iTunes won't queue up edits for later.


    As for the main thrust of your thread you can find some useful tools at Doug's Scripts, in particular Relocate Selected might be what you need to organize different sections of your library in different drives. Note however that moving a library split up in this way is much harder than moving a single self-contained entity.



  • Mr Lizard Level 2 Level 2 (250 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 23, 2012 10:54 AM (in response to miniman)

    I have a similar need - I'd like to keep my music on my internal SSD but leave movies/TV shows on an external drive.


    My start point was having all my media on the external drive - so I've moved the music folder back to the SSD and 're-pointed' iTunes to this folder. This works fine.


    I then deleted the movies/TV shows in iTunes (but kept the originals - didn't move them to the trash).


    I then dragged the movies/TV shows from the external drive into the iTunes window whilst holding down the alt (option) key, which added them back to my library but kept them on the external drive.


    This works fine, I now have music on the internal SSD and the storage-hungry movies/TV shows on the external drive.


    My problem now though is that new movie/TV show downloads from the iTunes store are automatically added to the SSD, which is annoying.

  • dmbrooking Calculating status...

    Yeah, I have the same sort of question that Mr Lizard has.  I understand how to have my stuff across multiple drives but how do I deal with new downloads from the iTunes store?


    What I've tried to do for my TV Shows is this:

    1. Setup iTunes library to point to one location

    2. Put TV shows on separte hard drive.

    3. Add link to TV Shows directory within my iTunes library folder.  When I browse this via Finder, it opens up the external hard drive location seamless.

    4. However when I download shows from iTunes store, it will not save them using the link, so it saves the files in the root of the iTunes library folder.


    How do I get it to save to the separate location?

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,845 points)

    iTunes can't/won't follow hard links/symlinks/junctions. Either edit the media folder location before and after import or use scripts as suggested above.



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