How to Transfer Your iTunes Library in Mac

For many individuals, their iTunes libraries are their prize and gold. It is a testament to years of purchasing songs and supporting their favorite artists. Over the years, I am sure there are instances where you need to transfer a song or even the whole library to another place. Today, we will show you how to transfer your iTunes library to anywhere you want.

Option 1: The Hard Drive Route


This is the most obvious and easiest route. You just copy your library and paste it into your hard drive. But before you unplug the hard drive and start transferring the music to another PC, due to how our iTunes music is ran and attached to a specific .xml folder, you will have to copy a bit more than just the music, you’re also sending off album information and ratings done in iTunes.


First off, go to your iTunes’ settings. This is found by launching the program iTunes and going to “iTunes -> Preferences” in the menu bar. To ensure that you have a sturdy back up in the event of a mishap, ensure that you check “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to your library”.

Then take a note of your “iTunes Media folder location”. You can now exit out of settings, but not iTunes. You’ll still need to consolidate. This is simple, just click “File” in the menu bar, then “Library”, and finally “Organize Library”. You should see a “Consolidate Files” option now. Click it and press “Consolidate”.


Now, you are at the point where you can physically move the music folder to external hard drive.

Once you are done, ensure that the computer has the latest version of iTunes (or at least the same version as the previous computer). Connect your hard drive and replace the iTunes folder of your new computer with the old in your external hard drive. That’s it! You’re now finished, just launch iTunes to apply the additions.

Option 2: The Cloud Route


There are three options that I like to call the “cloud” route – iTunes Match, Home Sharing, or using cloud storage. These routes all just require your Mac and an Internet connection. These routes are the easiest, especially when compared to the hard drive version, however the whole process will depend on how large your iTunes library is and the speed of your Internet connection.

Home Sharing

Home Sharing is meant to allow for easier sharing between family computers, but it works for just about any situation that requires you moving music between two Macs.


To begin, ensure that your iTunes and WiFi settings are all in order. This means, make sure you have the latest iTunes version and that it has a connected Apple ID that you know the login for. Next, ensure that both the old and new Mac is connected under a strong WiFi connection. From there, go to the “Advanced” tab in the menu bar of your Mac, then click “Turn on Home Sharing”. You’ll be prompted to sign in with the Apple ID you’d like to use. Then, click “Create Home Share”.


To prevent unauthorized downloads and access, Apple created a way to authorize a Mac a few months back. This means that you’ll have to do the same on your new Mac. To do so, go to the “Store” option in the menu bar. From there, click “Authorize computer”. You’ll have to enter the Apple credentials to ensure that they are authorized under the same account. Then, go and turn on Home Sharing on the new computer. Now, with both computers on with Home Sharing enabled, load both of them up to iTunes and go to the section that displays all of the music (or lack thereof on the new computer).


From there, click “Home Sharing” on the left menu within iTunes, not the menu bar. On the old Mac, go to “Edit” then “Select All” to select all of the music shown. At the bottom right, click “Import”. This should take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours. All depending on your iTunes library size and WiFi connection speed.


The second option is by using iTunes Match. Check out the instructions here. 

Cloud Storage

The third option is cloud storage. You have many options, but one that I prefer is Dropbox. This is recommended for small libraries, due to the free limit of 2GB. You can also use SkyDrive, if you are one of the lucky few to snap the 25GB storage space. For the cloud storage transfer option, the method is similar to the external hard drive method. You just have to treat the Dropbox (or Skydrive) folder as the external hard drive and move your music library to the folder. The files will be synced over the cloud to your new Mac.

Option 3: Transfer Between Users on Same Mac


I was presented with this situation two nights ago. It’s rather easy to execute.¬†First off, after quitting iTunes, go to your User folder and find the iTunes folder.


Drag (or copy) that folder to the “Public” folder found on your account’s folder.


Go to the Advanced preferences of your iTunes. Click “Change”. From there, find the iTunes folder you dragged to the “Public” folder. Then select it. You’ll then do this on the other User accounts you want to have this done on.


That’s it.

Ari Simon
Ari Simon

Ari Simon has been a writer with Make Tech Easier since August 2011. Ari loves anything related to technology and social media. When Ari isn't working, he enjoys traveling and trying out the latest tech gadget.

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