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

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It's easy to move your entire iTunes library to a new folder or destination. Copying or exporting an iTunes library is helpful if you want all your songs, videos, podcasts, or audiobooks to exist on an external hard drive or cloud backup service.

With iTunes, you can move all your files and even your song ratings and playlists, without dealing with any complex or tech-heavy instructions.

With macOS Catalina (10.15) Apple replaced iTunes with three separate apps: Music, Podcasts, and TV. These apps serve the same function as iTunes, just separated into different programs for each type of media.

These instructions apply to systems running macOS Catalina (10.15) and later. For earlier versions of iTunes, the instructions are similar but the names and locations of buttons may be slightly different.

There are two sets of instructions to complete this process. The first is to change the location of your 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. Open Music and select Music > Preferences...

    Earlier versions of iTunes will require you to select iTunes > Preferences... or Edit > Preferences...

  2. Select the Files tab.

    On older versions of iTunes, you can select the Advanced tab.

  3. Make sure the Keep Music Media folder organized option is enabled. If it's already checked, then skip to the next step.

  4. Select Change... to change the media folder location. The folder that opens is where your songs (or podcasts, video, etc.) are currently stored. You can change this destination to any location you would like.

    To put your media in a new folder that doesn't yet exist, select New Folder.

  5. Select the Folder for where you'd like to store media, then select OK to exit Preferences.

Copy Your Existing Music to the New Location

Now you can begin consolidating your media library to the new location.

  1. Select File > Library > Organize Library...

    Older versions of iTunes may list the Organize Library option as "Consolidate Library." If not, try looking for it under the Advanced tab in the Preferences window.

  2. Select checkbox next to Consolidate files, then select OK.

    In older versions of iTunes you may need to select Consolidate.

  3. 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 to look for the transferred media. You should see a folder labeled Music.

  4. 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's a good idea keep any XML or ITL files in case you need them in the future.