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Moving iTunes library to an external drive converting to different format

2915 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Oct 27, 2012 12:14 PM by thomasfromhanover RSS
thomasfromhanover Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Oct 25, 2012 8:25 PM

I want to move entire iTunes library to an external drive. I've found several Mac 101's to help but those helps makes no sense. I should be able to move music to another drive and give iTunes the path to find it but that does not work.


All files are iTunes Plus including everything from Amazon but I want to convert everything to a mp3 or other format so all files are independent of iTunes. Lots of old music from CDs I imported and lots from iTunes as well as Amazon. I guess i could sit and burn everything to a physical cd but that would take months and hundreds and hundreds of cds. Can someone advise how I can convert these files and then move to an external drive?


I'm running mountain lion and version 10.7 of iTunes. Two external drives and 145 gigs of music. Any guidance will be most appreciated.



Mac mini, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (36,585 points)

    Yes, iTunes uses AAC but this is not 100% specific to iTunes - it's your other players that are limited and more and more of them are supporting AAC.


    Converting to a different format is a separate step.  Remember, each time you convert to a lossy format such as AAC or mp3 you lose quality, so I avoid converting unless absolutely necessary.


    iTunes: How to convert a song to a different file format - - including information about different formats and discussion about compression.


    With iTunes you do not move the file, you have to let iTunes do it.  If you do it then iTunes loes track of it 9with one or two notable exceptions).  Now you have to decide, do you want to move teh whole library, or just your media?  Your library is all the files in your itunes folder.  For most this is the best because it is easy.


    iTunes: How to move [or copy] your music [library] to a new computer [or another drive] -


    Quick answer if you use iTunes' default preferences settings:  Copy the entire iTunes folder (and in doing so all its subfolders and files) intact to the other drive.  Open iTunes and immediately hold down the Option (alt) key (shift on Windows), then guide it to the new location of the library.
    Windows users see tip at:


    Moving just media is a bit more complicated and can have negative aspects when it comes to future moves.

  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (36,585 points)

    Moving the library is best done as suggested earlier.


    Yes, there's the whole big issue of electronic legacies in the digital age.  Not just your music but e-mail records of transactions, online accounts, photos, etc.


    Of course one way is to make sure there is a record of your usernames and passwords (plus answers to security questions) in your will.  As far as computers are concerned, anybody typing in the correct information is "you".


    I have no idea as to strict legality or terms of use one way or the other but in practical terms (and I'm with you here) you could pass on your AppleID to one of your kids.  I think the main restriction as to users isn't so much restricting to you in particular but restricting distribution to multiple users.  So if you have purchased a track you can pass it on to one of your kids, but not give them each a copy of your music collection.  In that regard, passing on your AppleID and password to one of your children would be like giving them a giant purchased CD.


    The other thing to remember is any music purchases made in the past couple of years are not DRM protected and the authorization thing really only crops up when transferring content to mobile devices or trying to download from the store (or things such as movies which still have DRM).  If somebody inherits your computer then it will still play there.


    Converting to another format doesn't trash a file, it just results in minor quality loss which you may or may not even notice depending upon the settings you use.  Converting to a lossless format such as AIFF has no quality loss (but none gained back from the  quality loss in the initial conversion) and does result in much larger file size.


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