Recently I bought the 13-inch Macbook Air to replace my old iMac computer. It’s really really a lovely laptop. The design, the build quality, the screen, the multitouch trackpad, the fast boot-up time, etc. I simply love it. I’m not going to show you how great the laptop is. There are already tons of in-depth reviews you can find them here, here and here.
What I want to cover here is how you can migrate your iTunes library from the old computer to the new one. It’s a common issue and a crucial step when setting up your new PC or Mac. The iTunes library contains all your favorite musics, apps, books, etc. You don’t want to lose any of your data, right?
So here is the step-by-step guide to walk you through the procedures to copy your iTunes library from the old computer to the new PC or Mac.
Use Same Version of iTunes
First, make sure both computers are installed with the same version of iTunes. Usually a newer version of iTunes can recognize library from an older version of iTunes. But to make the migration process simpler, try to keep the iTunes version the same for both computers.
Consolidate Your Existing iTunes Library
Next, you’ll need to consolidate your library. This is a feature of iTunes that ensures all files in your iTunes library are stored in the same folder. By consolidating all files in the same folder, it should simplify the migration process. To enable the consolidate option,
1. Open iTunes Preferences:
Mac: Choose iTunes -> Preferences.
Windows: Choose Edit -> Preferences.
2. Click “Advanced” tab and tick the “Copy Files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library”.
3. Click “OK” to confirm.
Organize Your iTunes Library
Next, you’ll need to organize your iTunes to put copies of all media files used by iTunes in the iTunes media folder and reorganize files into subfolder.
1. Choose File -> Library -> Organize Library…
2. Select “Consolidate files” option. If you haven’t organized your iTunes media folder into subfolder, please also check the “Reorganize files in the folder iTunes Music”.
3. Click “OK” to confirm.
Once you’ve confirmed, iTunes will consolidate your media files by copying them into the same folder and put the files into subfolders just like the screenshot below.
Copy iTunes Music Folder to New Computer
After consolidation, you can transfer the iTunes Music folder to the new computer. You can backup the music folder to an external hard drive and then copy it back to the new computer.
To back up the iTunes music folder, open Finder (for Mac) or File Explorer (for Windows) and locate the iTunes music folder:
Mac OS X: /Users/
Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\
Windows Vista: \Users\
Windows 7: \Users\
Copy the whole iTunes folder to external hard drive or USB thumb drive. On your new computer, copy the iTunes folder from the backup drive to the iTunes music folder. If the iTunes folder already exists in your new computer, simply remove it and replace with the one from your backup.
That’s it. You can now launch iTunes on your new computer!