If you have a large iTunes library, you may want to consider moving it to an external drive. You can also have some of your media on an external drive without having to move the library. Take a look at three methods of handing an iTunes library on an external drive.
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today’s episode let’s look at ways to move your iTunes library. So this is a very common request. Say you have a very large iTunes library and you want to move it say to an external drive, to save space on your internal drive. But you can do this one of many different ways, lets look at three of them. So first lets take a look at your music library now by default its stored in your user folder, MacMost in this case, under music. And then you’ll a folder called iTunes, this is your iTunes library. Now inside of it you have a whole bunch of different folders, iTunes media is where all the good stuff is. All your mp3 files, videos, everything. If I look in there I can see that its been organized into downloads, music podcasts etc. I look under music and I can find all my music organized by artist. Now if I go back here I see there’s also a file for album artwork. And I can see there are several supporting including your iTunes library database and a few others.
So the very easiest way to move your iTunes library is to grab this folder this iTunes folder under your music folder and copy it your external hard drive then once you’ve copied it, you take this copy and throw it in the trash. And once you’ve done that you’ve basically moved it over to the new external drive. That’s step one. So Step two is to launch iTunes but with the option key held down and when you do that you will get this dialog, choose your iTunes library. And you want to select choose library and that will open up a file dialog and you can go in and find that iTunes folder here its showing me the one I have in my internal drive. but you would go and browse to your external drive select that iTunes library click choose and now its looking at that new copy of your iTunes library, you don’t have to do this again it will automatically look in the same location next time you run iTunes.
So the advantages of this method is its fast its easy and it takes everything into account including your podcasts, your podcast subscription. But its not the only way to go. SO lets take a look inside of iTunes. In iTunes preferences under advanced you’ll see two checkboxes here one is the keep the iTunes media folder organized which means it will rename folders and files depending upon what the music is keeping everything well organized inside the iTunes library. and the other one is this one copy files to iTunes media folder when adding to library. This means when you drag and drop things into iTunes it actually makes a copy and its that copy inside the iTunes folder that its actually referring to in iTunes. However, you can turn this off, and when you turn this off what will happen is that you can have you music stored in another folder and yet referenced in the iTunes library so using this you can actually put some music files on your external drive. Say about a huge collection of music files there. Drag and drop them into iTunes and those files will remain on the external drive even though your iTunes library shows them as if they were on your internal drive this way you can split your media you can have a large collection of albums on your external drive and yet your iTunes folder on your internal drive with all your podcasts along with other music and videos.
The advantage of this method is that you can split things up.So if you have a very large library of music you can basically put it all on the external drive. This is useful for backing up purposes lets say you have a thousand albums and you don’t to back those up to Time Machine, you already have them archived somewhere else. You can put them on an external drive have iTunes access all of these and then you can not have to worry about having them backed up again to Time Machine and save that space on your internal drive. It also is great if you have a macbook because you can have say a large music collection on your external drive for when the macbook’s sitting on your desk and plugged into it. And you can have just the basics actually on your macbook when your travelling. And of course you won’t be able to play those songs, it will show you an error when you try to access music that on the external drive when its not plugged but as long as your remember that, it won’t be an issue.
A third method is to recreate your entire iTunes library from scratch this is so easy to do I can’t believe people don’t do this more often. Its a great way to get rid of errors especially if you’ve got files that you’ve deleted from your hard drive but iTunes thinks they’re still there. You simply create a new iTunes library by holding down the option key and starting iTunes. And then just drag and drop all of your media, all your music all your videos everything you can just put it in one big folder and drag it on to iTunes and it will copy it into the new library and organize it for you. Now then your going to have to resubscribe to your podcasts, and also your going to have to get album artwork and things like that again and if you have customizations in there like you’ve been specific to change the information in some songs. Then you may lose it but if you don’t this is a great way to move you iTunes library around and get a fresh start at the same time. So one word of caution make sure if you move your iTunes library to an external drive that’s also getting backed via Time Machine just like your internal drive I would just check a day or two later just to make sure that the stuff is there in time machine, it should be there automatically. I hope you found this useful, till next time this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.