If your internal drive is getting full and you want to move your iTunes music to an external drive, you can do so by using functions built right into iTunes. Keep your iTunes Library on your internal drive, but move your music to an external drive. That way you move the bulk of your files to your external drive, but keep all of the primary functionality of your iTunes Library on your internal one.
Hi, this is Gary with ‘MacMost Now.’ On today’s episode let me show you how to move your iTunes music library to an external drive.
So if you have a large music library and your internal drive is getting pretty full, then you may want to consider moving your music to an external drive.
Now the key is not to move your iTunes library there. Your iTunes library is your catalogue of all the things you have in iTunes including apps, videos, all sorts of stuff. And you want to keep your iTunes library on your internal drive.
But the music files, the things that actually take up a lot of space, you can move those to an external drive and have the best of both worlds. Have your library on your internal drive while the media itself sits on an external drive and frees up lots of space on your hard drive.
You can do this all on iTunes using some functions in there that will allow you to keep all the settings for all the songs. Let me show you.
So here in iTunes I have a small music library but I want to move it onto an external drive. I’ve even got some specific things like a Rating Setting for some songs. Like this song here has a Rating. It has even some options of volume adjustment. There’s the Rating, I’ve got some lyrics.
So you can see this is all going to remain intact as I move things.
Now if I look on my hard drive in my User folder which in this case my user name is MacMost, I can see that I have a music library. In Music Library I’ve got iTunes and that’s my iTunes library.
And there’s a bunch of stuff in it. There’s album artwork, there’s all these special database files and there’s an iTunes Media folder.
Now the Media folder is where the actual media files are like say the mp3 or AAC files for my music. And this is the one that’s taking up a lot of space.
As a matter of fact if I looked in the music folder I see there’s a bunch of subfolders in there. There’s all the different albums. And there’s all the files taking up the space.
So I’m going to move only this folder. Not the whole iTunes folder which is the library but the iTunes Media folder.
But I’m not going to do it here in the Finder. I’m going to use iTunes to do it. What I’m going to move it to is I’ve got an external drive and I’ve already initialized the external drive, it’s completely blank and I’ve named it External Music.
Now in iTunes I can go to iTunes Preferences. And in Preferences, under Advanced, I can see here’s my iTunes Media Folder Location. Notice this doesn’t say iTunes Library. It’s the iTunes Media Folder Location. And there it is. It shows in iTunes there’s the iTunes Media Folder.
Now I also have checked off Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized. That means iTunes can control the folder name and where the songs are. If I move a song from one album to another or change the name of a song in iTunes, it’s going to reflect that in the folders which is what I want.
I also have Copy Files to iTunes Media Folder When Adding them To my Library. That means I drag and drop a file into iTunes and it will then move that file into my iTunes Media Folder. That’s all set up great. It’s just that the Media Folder is in the wrong location.
I can change that. Click on that and I’m going to select that External Drive and I’m going to create a folder for it otherwise it’s just going to put all the stuff at the main level of the external drive.
I want to name it iTunes Media. Now I can name it anything I want, but I like the fact that I’m naming it what it really is. It makes it very simple to see what’s going on in the future. Now I’m going to Open after I create it and now you can see it’s set to External Music/iTunes Media.
So now anything I add in the future is going to go over to that folder. But I still have to take care of the stuff that’s already still on my internal drive.
So I’m going to dismiss that. It’s going to ask me to make sure I want to do this. I’m basically giving permission for iTunes to control the contents of that folder. So I say, ‘Yes,’ and it’s now time for me to move my library.
I go to File, Library and Organize Library. And now I click Consolidate Files. And what it’s going to do is it’s going to copy all the files from my old library on my internal drive to my new library. You can see the progress.
And it may take awhile if you have a large library.
Now while it’s doing that if I look on that external drive I can see there’s my iTunes Media folder I created and you can see it’s added some folders to it.
Remember iTunes has control of this iTunes Media Folder now, I gave it permission.
Under Music you can see it adding each artist as it goes through my library. And what I’m going to end up with is a complete copy of everything in this iTunes Media Folder. You can see there’s all the same music there and it’s going to add each one there.
And to complete the transition, what I would need to do is delete the stuff on my internal drive because I’m no longer going to use it.
After it’s all finished copying. You can see it’s still in progress there, I can delete material.
Now it’s important not to delete your iTunes folder. That’s your iTunes library. You want to delete your iTunes Media Folder, throw it in the trash.
As a matter of fact a good thing to do to confirm is you quit iTunes of course. Throw the iTunes Media Folder from your internal drive, the old one, in the trash re-launch iTunes and everything should work fine.
And then you can know that you’ve done the right thing and empty the Trash later on. I’m going to do that. I’m going to throw that away.
In iTunes now I’m going to take a look and I can see that I’ve still got the Rating set for the song , I’ve still got the lyrics there, I’ve still got options set, number of plays. Everything is still in place because the library hasn’t changed.
I can even Control, Click on the song and say show in Finder, and it will correctly find it there in that External Music hard drive.
So I know that I’ve done everything correct and now I’ve cleared off that space in my hard drive and I have all my music on my external drive and I haven’t lost any data and it’s been a smooth transition.
Now while you can only pick one folder where iTunes organizes everything, if you want to store your files in different places. Like say have some stuff in your internal drive, say in your MacBook and have some stuff on your external drive that you don’t take with you when you travel, you can still do that.
You have to turn off the options that I showed at the beginning where iTunes is going to control everything and put everything in that folder.
And then you can put your music files in one location or another. When you drag them to iTunes, it won’t try to consolidate them it will just take those files from wherever they are and leave them there and you’ll have them all in your library.
So, there is a way through a little more manual management to have some music on your internal hard drive and some on your external.
Hope you found this look at moving your music to an external drive useful.
Till next time, this is Gary with, ‘MacMost Now.’