Daily Tip: How to move your iTunes library to another hard drive

Is your hard drive coming dangerously close to being overrun with data? If you have a ton of stuff on your computer and your iTunes library isn't helping the situation out have no fear we are here to help! You can move your iTunes library to a different hard drive and have some precious memory left on your computer!

  1. Open up the iTunes Preferences and select the Advanced tab
  2. Ensure "Keep iTunes media folder organized" is checked
  3. Now on the right of the text box at the top (iTunes Media folder location) you will see a button that says Change... go ahead and click on it
  4. Select the location you want to store your iTunes library
  5. Go to File then Library and finally choose Organize Library...
  6. Make sure you select to consolidate files and click ok
  7. Once the transfer is complete you can delete the files from their original location and have some precious storage space back on your computer

It's that simple to get a good portion of your hard drive back from iTunes. Just be aware that if you do decide to do this and you in fact use an external hard drive that when you use iTunes and want to play music or sync music you will need to have the hard drive plugged into your computer to utilize all of the media.

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There are 15 comments. Add yours.

Crunch says:

Good info. Co-incidentally, I happen to have performed this very procedure, except that I manually moved the entire iTunes folder (over 70GB of it) from my internal drive to my WDC My Studio Edition II network attached storage RAID array. It's always attached via FireWire 800Mbps (and when the iMac's refresh comes, it'll be attached via ThunderBolt's 10Gbps crazy fast connection...woohoo!!! Sorry, I had to go there. :D)
Your iTunes library is located in ~Users\\Music\iTunes if you're on the Mac, and I forget what it's on Windows anymore...I think users\common files\iTunes or something like that.
I wonder how much a 4TB NAS from WDC will cost with ThunderBolt connectivity. More than $500?

Bill says:

Thanks Crunch, for the very useful iTunes location. I'm going to purchase an external hard drive tomorrow.

ranew13 says:

Thanks for the info,BTW have you heard of the DROBO...

9thWonder says:

“Keep iTunes media folder organized”
yeah. never. it just ruins all your file names and organization. better off manually moving everything in my opinion then letting itunes do anything other then play the files.

websyndicate says:

Yea you are doing it the difficult way. Still much easier. I let iTunes organize it. I can worry myself with that stuff and I can move my library to any computer in a second as I have it on external already.

fastlane says:

Yup, never had problems with iTunes organizing it on my external drive. Nothing ruined. I've had a couple of empty 'Unknown Artist' folders get created before, but they're easy to delete.

phillyboych says:

Is there a way to move your iPhone back up to another computer?

HaPi76 says:

Switching to an external storage space is easy enough, but how do you go about it while preserving metadata (stars, playcount, etc.)?

YT says:

Does this move that applications as well?

LanceWebb says:

Is this just moving your media? Apps? iPhone/iPad Backups?
Does this move my 20+ gigs of apps and what about iPhone/iPad backups in AppData?

munchkinsdad says:

it moved my apps. What a great tip for an iPhone newbie!! Thanks!

Jeff says:

@Lance It does move all your media... Music, Apps, Books, Movies, ect... What I didn't know when I tried this last night, all playlist, meta data, and iPad/iPhone back ups are gone. You'll have to re-sync your devices and create new backups. If you really need to move your library, plan on it taking a while.

Joe says:

I did this and now iTunes doesn't show my iPhone any more?. Any ideas?

Crescentb says:

After moving files to the external hard drive how do you delete the files from the original location?

311rtj says:

Is there any way to automaticly add new media to two harddrives ? my library i growing out of my two TB hard drive so i added a three TB and i want back ups