11 Replies Latest reply: Feb 3, 2012 9:47 PM by Chris CA
enchantedman Level 1 (0 points)
I would like to keep my music library off of my internal drive to free up space. How do I access music for iTunes from an external hard drive so that I get normal function (cover flow, genres, playlists, etc.)?


iMac11,3 Intel Core i5 2.18, Mac OS X (10.6.4), 12 GB memory Photoshop CS 4 v.11.01 Aperture 3.01
  • Niel Level 10 (298,516 points)
    Drag the library from the Music item of the Finder's sidebar to the external drive, launch iTunes with the Option key held down, click on Choose Library, and point it there. Verify it works before deleting the library on the internal drive.

  • enchantedman Level 1 (0 points)
    WOW...that was easy. Thanks so much for the help.

  • cowgalranch Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi, New with forum.. I too am having a hitch with accessing the external iTunes Library. The new computer is another Mac Mini, but on 10.5.8 Leopard, with 9.1 iTunes. The external hold 8.6 iTunes, transferred from the old one, 10.4 Tiger. So - the versions are different in the program, and the OS's are different. I don't know if that matters. The large library is on the external, but so far, I cannot "name a library" in the Advanced mode to get the whole shebang to just PLAY and work from and to the external.

    Like several of other's questions, I can only "import," and just one at a time, but I don't want to import, I want the external to be Home Base for all of it. Downloads, imports, play, etc.

    Any helps appreciated,
  • TelaMoon Level 1 (5 points)
    Once I've transferred the iTunes Media Folder, what exactly do I delete from my internal hard drive? I want to make sure I don't mess this up.

  • Chris CA Level 9 (78,695 points)
    Once I've transferred the iTunes Media Folder

    You don't transfer the _iTunes media folder_ yourself because that will mess everything up.

    Do this...
    1 - iTunes prefs > Advanced.
    2 - Set the *iTunes media folder location* to where you want.
    3 - Tick *Copy files to iTunes media folder when adding to library*.
    4 - Tick *Keep iTunes media folder organized*.
    5 - iTunes menu File > Library > Organize library - Consolidate.
    This will copy everything in iTunes to the new location.

    You can then delete the /Music/iTunes/iTunes media/ folder on the internal.
  • Dr.Grix Level 1 (0 points)
    Hello did you manage to solve your problem as i seem to be having a similar outcome?
  • prahfr Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey Peggy -


    Had the same issue as you. It seems iTunes on my local hard drive had upgraded while the version on the external was old enough that file types had changed. As such, I ran into the same issue where I couldn't select the file that I knew contained the library info (iTunes Library).


    So I looked at the two sets of files side by side and realized the "iTunes Library" file had a new file extension listed in the newer version (.itl). So I just went into the iTunes folder on the external drive and added the extension ".itl" to the iTunes Library file (the iTunes Library file should be less than 10mb and under "kind" should read "iTunes Document").


    I have absolutely NO idea if this is the right thing to do but it worked for me.

  • Chris CA Level 9 (78,695 points)

    prahfr wrote:


    Hey Peggy -

    FYI: Peggy hasn't posted here in 17 months.

  • Keifer411 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks!!!  This was a breeze.

  • Keifer411 Level 1 (0 points)

    I copied my Itunes folder to the external hard drive (users/*me*/music/Itunes) and then opened Itunes while holding the option button.  It asked me to either create or choose a library.  I deleted the original folder (as described in the above parenthesis) and I haven't seen an issue.  Am I going to start experiencing glitches with the way I did it?  I still have the original folder in my trash if I need to restore it but it seems to be working ok.


    FYI, when I tried just changing the origin folder under the advance tab, even though I had the "copy files to I tunes media folder when adding to library" it didn't make an exact replica of the orginal folder.  After a reboot, it pointed my Itunes folder back to the original. 

  • Chris CA Level 9 (78,695 points)

    If iTunes is on the external drive, it must be mounted and ready before you launch iTunes else it will default back to /Music/iTunes/.

    If so, quit iTunes, mount the drive then hold Option and select Choose library.


    FYI, when I tried just changing the origin folder under the advance tab,

    That sets the location for all new files added to iTunes.


    even though I had the "copy files to I tunes media folder when adding to library" it didn't make an exact replica of the orginal folder.

    Its not making a replica of anything. It is creating a completely new folder.