What Is an ITL File?

Keep track of your iTunes library with ITL files

Screenshot of several ITL files in Windows 10 that open with iTunes


A file with the ITL file extension is an iTunes Library file, used by the popular Apple iTunes program. iTunes uses the ITL file to keep track of song ratings, the files you've added to your library, playlists, how many times you've played each song, how you've organized the media, and more.

ITDB files, as well as an XML file, are normally seen alongside this ITL file in the default iTunes directory.

Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CallManager) uses ITL files too, but they're Initial Trust List files and have nothing at all to do with iTunes or music data.

Open an ITL File

Double-clicking an ITL file opens iTunes, but won't display any information other than the media files in your library. Instead, the file resides in a specific folder so that iTunes can read from it and write to it when necessary.

If you're familiar with CTL files, Cisco has in-depth information on ITL files and how they are similar and different from CTL fils, as well as how they are used with their CallManager tool.

Convert an ITL File

There is no way to convert an iTunes Library file to any other format because the ITL file carries information in binary, and iTunes is the only program that makes use of the information it stores,.

The data that the ITL file stores might be helpful to extract, which might be why you might want to "convert" it, but that's also not possible directly from the ITL file. See the XML discussion below for more on a possible solution to that problem.

More Information on the ITL File

The current version of iTunes uses the iTunes Library.itl filename while older versions used iTunes Music Library.itl (although the latter is retained even after updates to iTunes).

iTunes stores this file in C:\Users\<username>\Music\iTunes\ in Windows 10/8/7, and the following folder for macOS: /Users/<username>/Music/iTunes/.

Newer versions of iTunes sometimes update the way the iTunes Library file works, in which case the existing ITL file is updated and the old one is copied to a backup folder.

iTunes also keeps an XML file (iTunes Library.xml or iTunes Music Library.xml) in the same default folder as the ITL file and uses it to store much of the same information so that non-Apple programs can understand how your music library is structured so they, too, can use your files.

Some errors shown in iTunes may indicate the ITL file is corrupt or can't be read for whatever reason. Deleting an ITL file normally fixes such problems because reopening iTunes will force it to create a new file. Deleting the ITL file is completely safe (it won't remove the actual media files), but you'll lose any information iTunes stored in the file, like ratings, playlists, etc.