How to Transfer an iTunes Library to Another Location

Running out of space? Here's how to move your iTunes library to a new folder

external hard drive

 Inna Dodor/Getty Images

You can move your iTunes library to a new folder for any reason, and as many times as you like. It's really easy to relocate your iTunes library, and all the steps are clearly explained below.

One reason for copying or exporting your iTunes library is if you want all your songs, audiobooks, ringtones, etc., to be on a hard drive with more free space, like an external hard drive. Or maybe you want to put them in your Dropbox folder or a folder that gets backed up online.

No matter the reason or where you want to put your collection, iTunes makes it dead simple to move your library folder. You can move all your files and even your song ratings and playlists, without dealing with any complex copying or tech-specific jargon.

There are two sets of instructions you must take to complete this whole process. The first is to change the location of your iTunes media folder, and the second is to copy your existing music files to the new location.

Choose a New Folder For Your iTunes Files

  1. With iTunes open, navigate to the Edit > Preferences... menu to open the General Preferences window.

  2. Go into the Advanced tab.

  3. Enable the Keep iTunes Media folder organized option by putting a checkmark in that box. If it's already checked, then skip down to the next step.

  4. Click or tap the Change... button to change the iTunes media folder location. The folder that opens is where iTunes songs are currently being stored (which is probably in the \Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\ folder), but you can change it to any location you like.

    To put your future iTunes songs in a new folder that doesn't yet exist, just use the New folder button in that window to make a new folder there, and then open that folder to continue.

  5. Use the Select Folder button to choose that folder for the new media folder location.

    Back at the Advanced Preferences window, make sure the iTunes Media folder location text changes to the folder you chose.

  6. Save the changes and exit the iTunes settings with the OK button.

    Copy Your Existing Music to the New Location

  7. To start consolidating your iTunes library (to copy your files to the new location), open the File > Library > Organize Library... option.

    Some older versions of iTunes call the "Organize Library" option Consolidate Library instead. If that's not there, go to the Advanced menu first.

  8. Put a check in the box next to Consolidate files and then choose OK, or for older versions of iTunes, click/tap the Consolidate button.

    If you see a message asking if you want iTunes to move and organize your songs, just choose Yes.

  9. Once any prompts and windows have disappeared, it's safe to assume that the files have finished copying to the new location. To be sure, open the folder you chose in Step 4 above to double-check that they're there.

    You should see a Music folder and possibly some others, like Automatically Add to iTunes and Audiobooks. Feel free to open those folders and look for your files.

  10. After all your songs have been copied to the new folder, it's safe to delete the original files. The default location for Windows users is C:\Users\[username]\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\.

It might be best to keep any XML or ITL files, just in case you need them in the future.