How to: Move your iTunes library on an external drive

How to: Move your iTunes library on an external drive

I used to keep all of my iTunes library onto my iBook, until the poor machine’s 60 GB hard drive (yes, I know it sounds pathetic, but that’s its storage space) started to cough and smoke. Since my music easily took up 20 GB of the disc I made the decision to move a significant amount of it on an external drive. This would free up space on my iBook and leave me with only the tracks I really liked. Having my complete iTunes library saved on an external drive, I could erase music from my Mac any time I wanted and still access my complete library by connecting my external drive to my Mac.

itunes advanced preferences

As simple as this sounds, moving an iTunes library to another drive has to be done carefully. You don’t want to forget files and realize that the library is corrupt after having erased it from your Mac. I once tried moving all of it onto an external drive with iBackup, and after a whole night of transferring (my iBook is really slow), the application decided to freeze up on me with only five minutes left. Everything that had been copied to my external drive was useless. So what’s the safest way to get your iTunes library on an external drive then?

There are two ways. First you need to make sure that both ‘Keep iTunes Music library organized’ and ‘Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library’ in Preferences>Advanced are checked. These options make it much easier for Apple’s media player to keep your library structure and ensures all your tracks are saved in one place. The simplest way to move your iTunes library to an external drive is to select the iTunes folder and copy it onto the drive. But that might not take all the information you have like playlists.

consolidate itunes library

I suggest instead to go for the following method. First create a new iTunes folder in your external drive. Then in iTunes go to Preferences>Advanced and change the folder location to the one you have created. Exit the Preferences menu and from the iTunes menu bar select Advanced>Consolidate Library. For extra precaution, check that all iTunes files have been copied to your external drive. If not go to your Mac’s iTunes folder and manually copy them. No hassle!

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