2/27/209:00 am How To Store Your Music On an External Drive In macOS Catalina if you are not using Apple Music you can choose to store your music files on an external drive. There are a number of methods you can use. Also learn how to clear out your Music app library to start from scratch. Check out How To Store Your Music On an External Drive at YouTube for closed captioning and more options. Video Transcript: Hi this is Gary with MacMost.com. Today let me show you how to setup the Music app on your Mac to have your music stored on an external hard drive. MacMost is supported thanks to more than 500 viewers just like you. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you could read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. If you're not using Apple Music and your storing all of your music as files on your drive you may want to put those files on an external hard drive especially if your internal hard drive has limited space and it's easy for you to hook up an external drive to store your large music library. There are several different ways to setup the Music app on your Mac to do this. Let's look at three different methods. So the first method we're going to use is to keep all of your music exactly where you have it. Here I have a My Music folder on an external drive and in there I've got folders that I've created myself and I've place MP3's in there myself. Maybe I've downloaded them from different sites, purchased them from different services and I've arranged them all as files. They're exactly like I want them. So I don't want the Music app to change any of that. I want to keep them on the external drive. In the Music app here I've got a completely blank library starting from scratch. I'll show you later on how to get back to this blank clean music library if you need to. Now go to Music, Preferences and under Files I'm going to uncheck Copy files to Music Media folder. If that is checked every time I add something to my music library it's going to put a copy of that file into the Media folder on my internal drive. I don't want that. I just want one copy of my music and I want it on the external drive where I already have it. I don't want the Music app to mess with that. So I've turned that off. Now I'll hit OK. Now I'll drag just one of these albums in here to test. So I'll drag this first one in. It adds it to the library. Now if I look in the Finder under my Home folder under Music, there's a Music folder and there there is a Music Library folder. That's a really small file and there's a Media folder. If I look in that it's empty. This folder is for special scripting use. The rest of it is empty. It didn't add that album into the Media folder. So it didn't make a copy of it which is exactly what I want. If I look in the app here and I click on the three dots next to the song there and do Get Info I can go to File and see that the location of that file is, indeed, that file here on my external hard drive. So it's referencing the file on my external hard drive and hasn't duplicated the song and hasn't added it to my internal hard drive or anything. Now I can go ahead and select the rest of these albums, drag them in and it will do the same thing for those. It's not going to add anything new to the Media folder there and the music library folder on my internal drive is only going to increase by a tiny little bit. So this is a great way to do it to keep your library on your internal drive and simply reference the songs on your external drive without moving them or copying them or anything. If you purchased music from the iTunes Store or you rip CD's into the Music app then it will appear there in the Media folder. So you end up having purchased music from iTunes in the Media folder on your internal drive. Then anything else that you put on your external drive and arranged like you want will stay where it is as it is as you add it to your library. As you can see it is really simple to set things up this way. Now here's method #2. This time we're going to set the Media folder to be on an external drive and keep the library folder on the internal drive. So we're going to go to Music, Preferences and we're going to go to Files and leave on Copy files to Music Media folder because we're going to use the Media folder. But we're going to change the location. Right now it's set to my internal drive. I'm going to hit Change. So here I've created a folder called Media and it's sitting on my external drive. You can see it here on the drive called Archive. It's just a blank empty folder that I've setup ready to be the Media folder for the Music app. I'm going to hit Open to select it. You can see now it's set to Archive/Media. I'm going to leave on both these checked boxes to keep things organized and to Copy Files there. Then I'll hit OK. Now I'm going to copy this first album in here just like before. Add it there. The difference is that now if I go to the Finder and I look in the Media folder you can see I've got a Music folder in the Media folder and under that I've got the Artist Name and then a folder for that album and then all the files under that. If I go in and add more, I'll add all of this, then it's going to add all of those. You can see it builds it here inside that same media folder. So this is all on my external hard drive. It's a nicely organized Music app media folder. In my internal hard drive the Media folder is still empty and I've just got that music library file there. There are two advantages to doing it this way. One is you can use the Music app's ability to keep things organized. It creates some nice folder names for you. Also any music that you bring in by either ripping CD's or by purchasing in iTunes will be added to this folder also which will be on your external drive. So all of your music will be on your external drive. Now I do end up with two copies of everything because it's copied everything to my Media folder but my original music is still there. So at this point if I was using this method I would want to select all of this and delete it so I'll only have one copy in the Media folder remaining. Now let's look at a 3rd option which is to put the Music Library itself and the Media folder both on an external drive. In order to do that we're going to have to quit the Music app. Here I've created a folder on my external drive called Music Library ready to handle this new responsibility. So it's just on my external drive. A new folder called Music Library and it's empty. When I go to launch Music I'm going to hold the Option key down. Doing so will bring up this choice. I can Choose a Library if I have multiple ones or I can Create a Library. I'm going to hit Create Library. But instead of just having it saved to the default location I'm going to click here to Expand. I'm going to go to the external drive and to that Music Library folder. I'm going to change the name so it's just Music and hit Save. So now I've got a new Music Library. If I look under Music, Preferences I could go to Files and see that the location for the Media Folder is indeed on Archive Music Library under Music and Media. If I look in the Finder in that Music Library folder I've got music for the Music app and underneath that I've got Music Library and a Media folder that's empty and ready for music. So now I can go back to the Music app. I'm going to leave on Keep Music Media folder organized and Copy files to Music Media folder. Hit OK. Now I can drag and drop all this in there. It will make copies of all that and it will appear in my Media folder. So like method #2 I'll now have duplicates. So I can go in and remove all of the original folders with my music because everything is nicely organized under the new Media folder on my external drive. So in this case I've got the Media and the Library both on an external drive. I think for most people who want to store their music on an external drive method 2 is the best. It keeps your Library where it should be in your main user folder but it stores all of the media externally including the music you buy or rip from CD's. So one last thing I want to show you is how to clear out your Music Library. So say you already have your Music Library setup. All the music is in your internal drive under media. You want to move to your external drive. So in that case either you want to make sure you already have all of your music on your external drive like I do here. You want to be 100% sure that that is the case or if it's not the case you want to copy it there. So this My Music folder is on my external drive and it's empty. I'm looking at my internal drive under my Music folder, in the Music app folder, under Media and there I've got all of my folders with all of my music in it. So I'm going to select all of those and copy them to my external drive. So now I've got my entire music library on my external drive as well as still in the Media folder on my internal drive. I want to make very certain that I've got all of my music here because I'm going to delete all the stuff off the internal drive. Once I know that everything is safe on my external drive I can delete here what's on my internal drive and start my Music Library fresh. The first thing I want to do is I want to Quit the Music app. So then in my main music folder here I'm going to select the Music Folder and I'm going to Delete it and drag it to the Trash. So this is where it gets a little dangerous because now if you don't have everything, absolutely everything, on your external drive you're going to be deleting music that you might not be able to get back. So I'm going to now empty the Trash and now I've got no Music Library here. But that's not good enough because I still need to launch the Music app holding the Option key down. When I do that it's going to ask me to Choose Music Library. I need to say Create Library. I need to make sure I'm looking at my Music folder and then I'm going to save it as Music. It might want to try to save it as Music 1. Make sure you change it to Music and hit Save. That will create a completely new music library. So now that you have a fresh new music library and all of your music is on an external drive you can use either method 1 or method 2 to rebuild your music library keeping those files on the external drive.Related Subjects: iTunes (73 videos) Related Video Tutorials: How To Use the New Music App On the Mac Without Subscribing To Apple Music ― How To Get An App Store Refund On Your Mac Or iPhone ― A Look At the New Music App In macOS Catalina ― Correcting Artist, Album and Song Info In the Mac Music App Comments: 20 Responses to “How To Store Your Music On an External Drive” Caroline 9 months ago Am I right in thinking that it’s advisable to keep a separate external drive just for music? I have one external drive for Time Machine backup; a second one for my Photo library; and I assume that I should get a third one if I’m going to adopt Method 2. Thanks for another clear and helpful tutorial, Gary! Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago Caroline: So you mean a separate drive for Music and one for Photos? Not really. No reason they can’t both be on the same drive. Just keep that drive separate from your backup drive which should be used only for backups. Caroline 9 months ago Ah right! Thanks for that, Gary. Good to know that it’s ok to have Music and Photos on the same drive; less clutter on my desk! Russ Winkler 9 months ago HI Gary. Thanks for all that you do. Some of music on my iPhone 6s/plus and on my MacBook Pro aren’t synced. On my iPhone, I have all the Led Zeppelin albums, but on my iPhone they are not all there. All my music is stored on my external drive. Purchased music is on my media folder on the external drive. Help! Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago Russ: How are you syncing them? Through the Finder (iTunes before Catalina), trouble iTunes Match? Apple Music? Joanne Harris 9 months ago Will the same procedures be applicable (under iTunes) with Mojave or High Sierra? Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago Joanne: More or less, yes. Russ Winkler 9 months ago I have Apple Music to keep them “synced”. On my MacBook Pro, I discovered that I wasn’t logged into the same account as my iPhone. Now they are both “synced” up. I can see all the Zeppelin albums on my MacBook. Thanks. Rod Hacking 9 months ago Thanks Gary, but my own music (7000 songs) are stuck in Google Play Music. Is there some way of getting them on to an external drive without spending four years downloading to iTunes and then loading the external drive? I so appreciate what you do. Cheers. Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago Rod: I doubt there is a way to go from Google Music in the cloud straight to iCloud. You’d need to download them if you got rid of your local copies. 7,000 shouldn’t take long over a good connection. Maybe go to a place that has a fast connection to do it? Dennis Czech 9 months ago Thanks, Gary, as always a very helpful, instructional video. One concern is when I grabbed a folder to move from the external drive back into Music on the Mac it disappeared from the external HD, and yet when I check the info it shows it’s on the external drive. Confusing. Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago Dennis: That’s odd. So the music is gone from the original location? You are dragging into the Music APP right, not a folder named Music. In Info did you look at the path and check that exact location? Marco Giacomini 8 months ago I’ve been using method 3 with iTunes, but what is really annoying and frustrating me on Catalina with Music app is that, with method 3, I cannot eject the external drive as, when I want to do that -even without opening the Music app- it tells me that it is in use. I searched in Apple community website and I see that this issue is not that unusual among the users (same thing happens with Photo app). I can’t figure out how Apple hasn’t prevented this to happen. Have you Gary experienced the same? Gary Rosenzweig 8 months ago Marco: Are you sure it is the Music app using the drive? Have you tried quitting each app you are using, and closing each window, to see what is using the external drive? I use Apple Music and don’t store my music on an external drive so I wouldn’t see this. Marco Giacomini 8 months ago Hi Gary, thanks for your reply. Just did another try: based on Activity Monitor, this time it’s the process called “AMPLibraryAgent” which is continuously accessing my external drive also after I quit the Music app. And, surprisingly, that process is accessing the TV library file, which is too on the external drive. The workaround is to log out and log in again. The same happens with Photo Library on the external drive as soon as I designate it as the system library. I cannot find a fix for this Gary Rosenzweig 8 months ago Marco: Are you using iCloud for your Photos? If so, it could be iCloud updates that are slowing things down since they have to go through the connection to an external drive, maybe? Marco Giacomini 8 months ago Hi Gary, for Photos, I am not using iCloud and the library file is on an external SSD plugged in with USB 3.1 gen-2 on a MacBook Pro (version 2018, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports). See my post https://discussions.apple.com/thread/251028554 and, for example, another https://discussions.apple.com/thread/251160424?page=1 Gary Rosenzweig 8 months ago Marco: So if photolibraryd is doing something then it must have something to do. Perhaps when it is done you’ll be able to eject. It could be analyzing faces or objects in the library. Is Photo Stream also turned off? Maybe try setting up a second library on your internal drive. You don’t have to put any photos in it. Then switch to that library so you can eject. Make that empty internal one your “System Library” too. Ella 6 months ago can you do the same thing for the new TV app- have lots of movies purchased and copied from old libraries- new Mac is only 1TB- so want to use an external drive for TV/movies just like the new Music app- used to have an external iTunes folder which worked but seems a problem now the movies music etc are separated – can you do method 2 for movies/ Tv as well?? Gary Rosenzweig 6 months ago Ella: Try it and you’ll see. There are similar options in the TV app, Preferences. Comments Closed.