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How To Transfer iTunes Library to New Computer

macbook airRecently 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”.

iTunes Consolidate Library Option

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…

iTunes 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”.

iTunes Put Library into Subfolder

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.

iTunes music folder

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//Music
Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\\My Documents\My Music\
Windows Vista: \Users\\Music\iTunes
Windows 7: \Users\\My Music\iTunes

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.

iTunes Music Folder 2

That’s it. You can now launch iTunes on your new computer!

About Simon Ng

Founder, developer and chief blogger of simonblog.com

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4 Responses to How To Transfer iTunes Library to New Computer

  1. Saqib Imran October 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Nicely Explained Good Work Simon….!!! :)

  2. marios October 22, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    Hi.
    I recently got a new PC. My old one is dead.
    I have a backup of my iPhone 4 on my old PC by like I said…it’s dead.
    How can I transfer everything from my iPhone 4 to my new PC ( iTunes library )

    Thanx
    Marios

  3. marios October 22, 2011 at 1:00 am #

    For Purchases go to FILE –> transfer purchases from iPhone

    One thing I found is for the APPS. That worked for the APPS.

    Marios

  4. Anne December 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    It was a very nice idea to transfer itunes movie to new computer! Just wanna say thank you for the selective information you have distributed.

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