How to Back up Your iTunes Library to CD

This feature was discontinued with iTunes 10.4

Even though many Macs no longer have optical drives, you can connect a peripheral drive or use one built-in to your computer to back up your iTunes Library if you are using iTunes versions 7 through 10.3. Beginning with iTunes 10.4 and in subsequent versions, the built-in option to back up to optical disc was removed, but you can still transfer your library to another location.

iTunes has been discontinued by Apple.

Additionally, the removal of disc drives from most laptops and the ballooning sizes of music libraries have made this solution largely impractical.

Using the Back up to Disc Option

  1. In iTunes 7.x, select the File tab in the Main Menu at the top of the screen, and select Back Up to Disc from the pop-up menu.

    In iTunes 8.x through 10.3, choose the File tab in the Main Menu, and select Library, followed by Back Up to Disc from the pop-up menu.

  2. Select the type of backup you want in the dialog box that appears. The two options available to you are Backup entire iTunes library and playlists and Backup only iTunes Store purchases.

  3. On the first full backup, do not check the boxes underneath the two backup options that allow you only to archive the items in your library that have been added or modified since the last backup. This is known as an incremental backup and is used to minimize the storage space required. On subsequent backups after the first complete backup, check the options for incremental backups.

  4. Once you have made your selections, press Backup.

  5. Insert a blank CD or DVD into your optical drive.

  6. Wait for the backup process to complete before ejecting the disc.


Depending on how large your music library is, further media discs may be required to complete the backup process. You will be prompted when to enter additional discs.

The information that is backed up onto a disc is stored as data and not in a format that is compatible with CD and DVD players. The archived data discs are only used to restore your library.

For iTunes versions beginning with 10.4, back up your iTunes library to an external hard drive or to iCloud, which requires iTunes 10.5 or later.

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