Your iTunes library is made up of all the music and other media you've added to iTunes. iTunes uses two iTunes library files and your iTunes Media folder to organize and store your music and other media.
The iTunes library is a database iTunes uses to organize your music. The iTunes Media Folder is the place where all of your media, including songs and movies, is stored.
If you think you've lost some or all of your iTunes music or media, use these steps to find your lost media and downloads.
About your iTunes library files
Your iTunes library files track the media you add to iTunes, how you've organized it, and other information such as playlists. By default, these two files are in your iTunes folder. Find your folder:
Mac: In the Finder, choose Go > Home > Music > iTunes.
- Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\
- Windows Vista:
- Windows 7:
- Windows 8:
About your iTunes Media folder
By default, your iTunes Media folder is in your iTunes folder, and it contains all of your media files, including:
- Items you imported from CDs.
- Items you purchased from the iTunes Store.
- Any other items you added to iTunes, if you turned on "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" in iTunes Preferences.
Some customers might have an iTunes Music folder instead of an iTunes Media folder. Learn more about how iTunes is organized.
Options and preferences
You can choose several options and preferences for where you store and how you organize your iTunes media.
Find and change the iTunes Media folder location
You can change the iTunes Media folder location to share music between accounts on the same computer.
- Mac OS X: Choose iTunes > Preferences.
Windows: Choose Edit > Preferences.
- Click the Advanced pane.
In the Advance pane, you can also:
- Make sure that you back up your media to your media folder. Click the check box next to "Copy files to itunes Media folder when adding to library."
- Reset your media folder to the default location (the iTunes folder). Click the Reset button next to the location box.
- Move your iTunes Media folder to a new location. Click the Change button next to the location box. After you change the location of the folder:
- If you make a new or alternate iTunes library, the library will use the new location.
- Existing files won't be moved unless you choose File > Library > Organize library and choose the option to "Consolidate files."
If you want to move your music to a new computer, see How to move your music to a new computer.
You can select these options on the Advanced pane of iTunes preferences:
- "Keep iTunes Media folder organized." Learn more about how iTunes 9 and later organizes your media.
- "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library." Select this option to store all of your media files in the iTunes Media folder. Since they're all in one location, you can easily transfer or back up your media.
When you import media into iTunes from a CD, it's automatically added to your iTunes Media folder. If you add media to iTunes another way (choosing "Add to library" from the File menu or by dragging an MP3 file into iTunes), it might not be added to your iTunes Media folder.
Locating the file for an item you see in iTunes
If you're not sure where iTunes stores your content, iTunes will show you what it knows about your media in the Get Info window. To access the Get Info window, select a file in iTunes and then choose File > Get Info.
You can also right-click on the content and choose Show in Finder (Mac) or Show in Windows Explorer (Windows).
A remote file, such as one from iTunes in the Cloud, won't show a path, but will show information such as the name of the remote path.
- It's important to back up your media, either to an external hard drive or to CDs/DVDs.
- If you're unable to find content you've downloaded or imported into iTunes, follow these steps.
A note about copyright
iTunes software may be used to reproduce materials. It's licensed to you only for reproduction of non-copyrighted materials, materials in which you own the copyright, or materials you're authorized or legally permitted to reproduce. If you're uncertain about your right to copy any material, you should contact your legal advisor. See the iTunes Store Terms of Service for additional information.