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Question: Move iTunes library to external hard drive?

I want to free space on my hard drive by moving my iTunes library to an external harddrive any suggestions? Warnings? I have bought a Lacie 1TB portable for this.

MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)

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Dec 11, 2012 9:44 AM in response to mac4mark In response to mac4mark

There's a difference between moving your iTunes media to a different drive (reference in another post) and moving your whole iTunes library. It's up to you but some prefer to keep it all intact versus media on one drive and library files on another.


iTunes: How to move [or copy] your music [library] to a new computer [or another drive] - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4527 - a somewhat bewildering and not always easily understandable set of options.


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 iTunes Library.itl file in the moved iTunes folder.

For the record there's this reference for iTunes 11 but it really doesn't strike me as having the specifics you need. iTunes 11 for Mac: Move your library to another computer - http://support.apple.com/kb/PH12168

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Dec 11, 2012 9:44 AM in response to mac4mark In response to mac4mark

There's a difference between moving your iTunes media to a different drive (reference in another post) and moving your whole iTunes library. It's up to you but some prefer to keep it all intact versus media on one drive and library files on another.


iTunes: How to move [or copy] your music [library] to a new computer [or another drive] - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4527 - a somewhat bewildering and not always easily understandable set of options.


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 iTunes Library.itl file in the moved iTunes folder.

For the record there's this reference for iTunes 11 but it really doesn't strike me as having the specifics you need. iTunes 11 for Mac: Move your library to another computer - http://support.apple.com/kb/PH12168

Dec 11, 2012 9:44 AM

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Dec 19, 2012 3:38 PM in response to Limnos In response to Limnos

Ding ding ding! We have a winner. Sheesh, wish I woulda read @Limnos answer 30 minutes ago. It's complicated so I won't explain how I ended up as I did, but basically I had my home dir on one drive (iMac), and my 250GB iTunes library on an external drive. None of this business about re-organizing libraries and the like did anything.


All it takes is as Limnos said - hold the Option key down, start iTunes, and point it to the existing "iTunes Media" folder. Voila! Thanks for sharing.

Dec 19, 2012 3:38 PM

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Jun 22, 2013 7:00 AM in response to irishgrad1998 In response to irishgrad1998

The reference to "Alt" was for Mac OS X. The quote was:


"Open iTunes and immediately hold down the Option (alt) key (shift on Windows)"


On many current Apple keyboards, the Option key only has an Option symbol, but no "Option" word printed. Instead, the word "Alt" appears.


On Windows, use the Shift key, as the quote suggested.

Jun 22, 2013 7:00 AM

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Jun 23, 2013 9:28 AM in response to mac4mark In response to mac4mark

similar dilema: got Mac Mini 500GB to load CD collection in AIFF for best qual. Probably gonna go over 500GB I'm about 1/4 way thru and at 90GB. I wanna keep my collection intact on this mini for convienence sake. I do have a 1TB and a 2TB external.


Question: Should I fill up the mini then switch over to external? Or should I change my iTunes destination to an external now, move whats on the mini and keep filling up the mini then when its full go over to one of the externals, have part of library on the mini then the rest on an external?


Do I risk scattering/fragmenting my library by moving it? Should I just do it now since it's early in the process? Thanks for any input

Jun 23, 2013 9:28 AM

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Nov 3, 2013 1:53 AM in response to mac4mark In response to mac4mark

I have more or less the same question. I have a HD connected to my airport extreme and i have my iTunes folder there. The problem is that every time i reset the Mac i have to go to iTunes preferences and set it up again.


I would like not having to do that every single time but it keeps happening.


Any idea?

Nov 3, 2013 1:53 AM

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Nov 17, 2013 11:14 AM in response to X-Tremo In response to X-Tremo

Yes I have the same problem with my library on my Synology NAS.

The Nas goes to sleep, then ITunes says it can't find the library.

I have just changed the NAS settings to stay running for 4 hours before going to Idle mode when not in use, that at least should reduce how often this occurs.

I also have the NAS music folder in my Login Items in System Preferences.

I am even cosidering scheduling the NAS to be Up from 08:00 to 24:00!

Why cant iTunes take account of it being offline and wake it up!


It is definitely a shortcoming, when so many of us now wish to offload music and photos etc., to external drives.

I had the same problem with iPhoto.


Don't forget the comment from Limnos in an earlier post:

"There's a difference between moving your iTunes media to a different drive (reference in another post) and moving your whole iTunes library".

Your 'iTunes\iTunes Media' folder is where all your songs are held - iTunes\iTunes Media\Music.

This is shown as the 'iTunes Media file location' under iTunes Preferences\Advanced.

The iTunes 'Library' is the 'iTunes Library .itl' file in the iTunes Folder, this is what you can change by holding down the Options key when startin iTunes.

By the way does anyone know a way of seeing the library iTunes is currently using just to check?

Nov 17, 2013 11:14 AM

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Question: Move iTunes library to external hard drive?