How to set up and start using iTunes on Mac

iTunes on the Mac lets you manage all your music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and more. It also lets you buy media from the iTunes Store and even stream songs from Apple Music and Beats 1 radio. Before you can get started, however, you need to sign up or sign in, both to iTunes proper and to any extra services you might want. Here's how!

How to scan for existing media on your Mac

The first time you launch iTunes you're given the option to Scan for Media. That makes it easy to import any music or videos you already have on your Mac, including content you might have transferred over from a Windows PC or purchased from another service like Amazon MP3.

If you've run iTunes in the past but skipped adding some media, or have since acquired additional media, you can still add it at any time.

  1. Go to the File menu and click on Add to Library. (Or simply type Command+O.)
  2. Browse to the folder that contains the music you want to add.
  3. Click on Open to begin the import.

If you have multiple folders, repeat the process until you've added them all.

How to create an iTunes account

If you don't have an Apple ID, you'll want to create one now. An Apple ID is what you'll use to not only buy music, movies, TV shows, and even iOS apps on your Mac, but download stuff you may have bought on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. It ties everything together.

  1. Click on the Account button.
  2. Click on Create Account.

Agree to the Terms of Service and fill in the required information.

How to log in to iTunes

Once you have your Apple ID, or if you already had an Apple ID, login now. Logging into iTunes means you can buy music, movies, TV shows, and even iOS apps right from your Mac, and all of that content will stay associated with your account and be available to any other Apple devices you may own, including iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

  1. Click on the Account button.
  2. Enter your Apple ID username (typically an email address) and password.
  3. Click on Sign In.

How to purchase music from the iTunes Store

Even in the age of Apple Music, the iTunes Store still lets you buy all the music—and movies and TV shows—you want to own.

  1. Click on the Music tab.
  2. Click on the iTunes Store tab.
  3. Browse to the music or other media you want to buy.
  4. Click on the price.
  5. Enter your Apple ID password and choose if you want iTunes to remember it for future purchases.
  6. Click Buy.

The process is the same for iTunes Store content that's free, including podcasts and apps, and that's available for rent like movies.

How to sign up for iTunes Match

iTunes Match is Apple's $24.99 a year music locker service. It lets you upload up to 25,000 songs from your iTunes music library to iCloud—including music you've ripped or purchased elsewhere—have low-quality versions replaced with high-quality versions from the iTunes catalog, and then stream and download them—DRM-free—to up to ten other registered devices in your possession.

How to sign up for Apple Music

Apple Music is Apple's $9.99—or $14.99 for a family plan—a month streaming music service. It lets you listen to all the music you want, when you want, bookmark it to your library, and cache it locally for when you're offline.

If you're not sure whether you want Apple Music or not, there's a free three-month trial available so you can test it and find out.

Apple Music