Want to move your iTunes library to a new Mac or an external drive? Here's how.

If your iTunes library has grown too big for your Mac's internal storage space, or you want to move it to a new and shiny computer, it's a pretty simple process. Here's how.

Warning: Before you do any of this, we highly suggest you back up your Mac using Time Machine or another method. That way, if anything goes wrong you'll be able to easily recover.

First: Consolidate your library

Before you move anything, you want to make sure that all of the files iTunes is using are actually in the iTunes folder.

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Click the File menu.
  3. Click on the Library menu.
  4. Select Organize Library. A new window will appear.
  5. Check Consolidate Files.
  6. Click the OK button.

Consolidate library

How to move your iTunes library to an external drive

  1. Quit iTunes if it's open.
  2. Connect an external hard disk drive.
  3. Open your Mac hard drive.
  4. Open the Music folder.

    Move iTunes library

  5. Drag the iTunes folder to the external hard drive.
  6. Hold down the Option key on your keyboard
  7. Launch iTunes.
  8. iTunes will ask you to choose the iTunes library. Click the Choose Library... button.
  9. Locate the iTunes folder on your external hard drive. Click Open.

    Locating new library

  10. Once iTunes is done checking the library, it should open.

    Checking new iTunes library

  11. Quit iTunes.

Now that iTunes knows where your new iTunes library is, you can delete the old library. To do that, simply go to your Mac's hard drive, open the Music folder, and drag the iTunes folder into the trash. Blam — you've just saved a huge amount of internal hard disk space.

If you launch iTunes without your external hard drive connected, you'll see this message:

iTunes library is missing

Just quit iTunes, connect your external hard drive, then relaunch iTunes and it should sort itself out.

How to move your iTunes library to a new Mac

  1. Follow steps 1-5 for moving your Mac to an external drive.
  2. Connect your external drive to your new Mac.
  3. Open the Music folder on your new Mac.
  4. Drag the iTunes folder from your external drive to the the Music folder on your new Mac.
  5. After the files copy, hold down the Option key on your keyboard.
  6. Launch iTunes.
  7. iTunes will ask you to choose the iTunes library. Click the Choose Library... button.

    Choose new iTunes library location

  8. Locate the iTunes folder in the Music folder on your new Mac. Click Open.
  9. Once iTunes is done checking the library, it should open.
  10. Quit iTunes.

Questions?

Have any trouble moving your iTunes library to an external drive? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments.