Previous 1 2 Next 17 Replies Latest reply: Dec 24, 2015 9:02 PM by Jason Weinstein2
iTJ84 Level 1 (5 points)

I need some help merging 2 iTunes libraries. I have a large iTunes library on a WD 2TB external hard drive from a older computer in which iTunes would play items off the external HD and no iTunes item save on the internal HD. The library consists of music, movies, shows, books, apps, etc. I just recently bought a used 1st gen MacBook Air and without thinking transferred purchases from my iPhone and started syncing with the Air before I thought about the older library on the external HD. Now I have a new, small library on the Air's internal HD and the older, larger library on the external drive. What I'd like to do is merge the smaller into the larger one and keep the library on the external HD and iTunes read everything from the external HD.


With merging the 2 libraries, will it transfer my iPhone stuff as well? (backups, apps, info, etc.) Also, now that my iPhone is synced my Air and no longer synced through my older library, will I have to re-sync it again when the 2 are merged or will it automatically recognize it as already synced to newly merged library?


Currently running OS 10.6.8 and iTunes 10.5.2.


Sorry if anything is confusing. If you're confused on something, I'll try my best to clarify it.


Thanks in advance. ;)

MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • iTJ84 Level 1 (5 points)

    Nevermind. I got it all straightened out. :)

    My sure to backup anything before starting just in case something goes wrong.

    [b]Also, please note that this involved 1 computer and 1 external HD.[/b]


    This is what I did:

    1. Option+Click iTunes > Choose Library.. > Chose the one on my Air (the smaller one I'm wanting to merge with the larger one.)

    My library was here: /Users/itj84/Music/iTunes.

    Your's may vary depending which library you're wanting to combine.


    2. File > Library > Export.

    I renamed the .xml file to Air_Library.xml and saved it to my desktop. Rename the exported file(s) so you know which is which if you're merging multiple libraries.


    3. Close iTunes > Option+Click iTunes > Choose Library..  In this step I chose the library on my external HD, so iTunes would open up my larger library I'm wanting to add to.

    My path for the external HD happened to be /Volumes/My_Book/iTunes. Your path will vary.


    4. File > Library > Import Playlist. I navigated to my desktop to pick the .xml I created in Step 2. iTunes imported all the music, movies, shows, books, etc. and kept the metadata intact.


    Now I have just one large iTunes library saved on my external HD which iTunes will read from without taking up valuable space on my Air's HD. :)


    One thing I do want to point out is that my apps DID NOT transfer over. I had to manually move them to the newly combine library, so be careful if your doing this, so you aren't overwriting apps with any older versions.

    Everything works perfectly for me, so if your's does work, I'm not responsible. These are just the steps I took that worked in my particular case.

  • DGFreeman Level 1 (0 points)

    I was trying to fo the route of keeping my itunes library on my external drive, like i did with my Mac Mini. I find though, that I did occasionally need to sync an iOS device while away form my external drive with my new MacBook Pro.

    This was the reason I created two different itunes libraries, one for my MBP HD and my main itunes library on my external. Trouble is my devices were originally synced with my external library so if I sync with my MBP HD Library i lose all my other content. Id rather not move my full library onto my MBP as it is quite large with TV Shows and TONS of music. I would like to be able to sync with ease no matter where I am though. I guess I may have to go back to manually managing music on my iOS devices?

  • OllyKing Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi iTJ84, Did this technique preserve the playlists of both your libraries?


    I'm in a similar position - I've got an external HD with 170GB of music from my old imac, and very treasured playlists, but for 4 months I used a macbook pro as my main computer and now I've got a considerable library on the macbook pro. I want to import the library from the external HD, but ideally would like to retain the playlist structure of BOTH libraries.

  • Dunko27 Level 1 (0 points)

    Just using this process now and it seems to work fine.  iTunes tells me it's copying "1326 of 2191: <song name>" Both numbers are climbing, with number of files about 10000. I also have the destination drive opened to the music folder sorted by date modified. Space available is falling, and number of folders is increasing, so I guess it's working.


    Before I did the merge I exported both libraries (one is on an iMac, the other on an external drive I use with my MBA), imported the resulting .xml files into Excel (converts to Excel text file), then into Filemaker pro. This put all of the "get info" data into Filemaker. I did some Filemaker magic so that duplicated files would be highlighted, then used this as a guide to trim the duplicated files from the external drive via iTunes–a manual process that took a few days, but safer. Using Filemaker and the get info information I could determine which was the better file to delete (eg: kept higher bit rates), and see where songs had been incorrectly named. Once this merge is finished (probably another half hour), I'll have a library of unique songs on one drive.


    Meanwhile, iTunes is not missing a beat as I'm still listening to music while this all happens!


    BTW, thanks for the procedure!

  • mpressley Level 1 (0 points)

    Before you merged the two libraries, did you have ratings for most/all of the songs/tunes?  Did you lose any in the merging process?


    Thanks for your post!!!



  • Dunko27 Level 1 (0 points)



    All of the information in the get info window is replicated in the .xml file, including the ratings. I don't know what format they are in (ie; a number to represent the rating stars, or the star charachters themselves), however the rating column is in the file. I don't rate my songs (generally speaking, If I don't like to hear them I don't keep 'em) so there is no data in the ratings column in my .xml file.


    I'm sure the ratings would come across though, all of the other data I entered into the get info window transferred to the merged library.





  • mpressley Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks KD!



  • Jules0112 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks very much, this was very helpful and very clear. One question. Once the libraries have been merged, did you delete the old copy of the smaller library or do you have to keep that? Thanks in advance.



  • Dunko27 Level 1 (0 points)

    I've kept the smaller library on the external drive. It's kind of stand alone as far as the range of songs on it. I can still link to the library when I have the drive connected to my MBA. As far as the export files go, they aren't much use after the merge; I have still got them but there is no need to keep them. Both libraries are now different to what was contained in the original export files: the library on the external drive has had the duplicates removed (manual process using the .xml file of the library on the external drive loaded into Filemaker pro compared with the .xml file of the iMac library loaded into the same Filemaker database as noted in my first reply). The library on my iMac has had the remaining files on from the hard drive added.


    So, I've kept the libraries and related .mp3 files on the external hard drive, but can delete the .xml files from the library exports (just haven't done it yet).



  • Jules0112 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks very much, it all worked like a charm with the merge, and thanks for the further advice, most helpful.



  • johan-martijn Level 1 (0 points)

    Five stars and and a cheer, iTJ84!


    I had four enormous libraries on four different computers, and they reside all happily together now on my latest. Why Apple could not not add an Import Library in File > Library baffled me to no end as I was loath to get any individual Playlist by hand, with hundreds of them waiting to be imported.


    Silly me



  • Harry172000 Level 1 (0 points)

    I had that exact same thing and it was really helpful thanks so much

  • Rocket_Man51 Level 1 (0 points)

    So when you export do you get all of your music or just purchased music.  Much of my library is composed of ripped CDs.

  • WatsonvilleiTuner Level 1 (0 points)

    This does not seem to work when exporting from a Mac and importing into a Windows box. It imports the playlists but not the songs. Works fine Mac --> Mac...

Previous 1 2 Next