How to move your iTunes library to a new computer

When you get a new computer, you can move your iTunes library so that you can play your media on and sync with your new computer.

Before you begin

Make a new backup of your iTunes library or update your existing backup before you move it. Even if you already have a backup of your iTunes library, this step makes sure you capture any changes and makes the process easier.

Migration

If you want to move your library to a new Mac, you can migrate your data from another Mac or a PC. If you are replacing your PC, you might be able to use Windows Easy Transfer. This option might be slower than other options, but it's more thorough.

Use an external drive

If you're using this method on a Mac:

  1. From the Finder menu, choose Preferences.
  2. Make sure that the boxes next to "External disks" and "Hard disks" are enabled.

Part 1: Install iTunes

Download and install the latest version of iTunes.

Part 2: Move any new content

If you’ve used iTunes on your new computer, move your media to a new folder. This will keep anything you added to your new computer separate from your old library. These files can be added back to your library in Part 4.

Move your iTunes Media folder (Mac)
Move your iTunes Media folder (Windows)

Part 3: Copy the iTunes backup from your old computer

To copy all of your media files, including the library file that holds all your playlists and other settings, to your new computer:

  1. Locate the following folder on your new computer.
    • Mac: Choose Go > Home from the Finder menu bar. Double click the Music folder.
    • Windows XP: Navigate to \Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\.
    • Windows Vista: Navigate to \Users\username\Music\iTunes.
    • Windows 7 and Windows 8: Navigate to \Users\username\My Music\iTunes.
  2. Drag the iTunes folder in this location onto the desktop.
    Mac: From the Music folder to the Desktop:

    Windows: From the My Music folder to the Desktop:
  3. Locate the external drive on your new computer:
    • Mac: On the desktop.
    • Windows: In My Computer or Computer.
  4. Double-click the external drive icon to open it.
  5. Drag the iTunes folder from your external drive to the Music folder (Mac) or My Music Folder (Windows) on your new computer. The transfer might take a while if you have a lot of content.
    Mac: From the external drive to the Music folder:

    Windows: From the external drive to the Music library:
  6. Open iTunes.

You've now moved all of your music, playlists, and other information—including play counts and ratings—from your old computer to your new one.

Part 4 (optional): Add back new content

Copy the iTunes Media folder you created in Part 2 into the "Automatically Add to iTunes" folder inside the iTunes Media folder you copied in Part 3. iTunes will automatically import the content.

Use iTunes in the Cloud

If you don’t have a backup of your iTunes library and your old computer is unavailable, you can download past purchases made with your Apple ID through iTunes in the Cloud.

If you have multiple Apple IDs, you might find it easier to transfer purchases from a device after authorizing your new computer with your Apple ID.

If you previously subscribed to iTunes Match, you can turn on iTunes Match once your new computer is authorized.

After you transfer your library

  1. If you plan to stop using your old computer, deauthorize it by choosing Store > Deauthorize This Computer from the iTunes menu bar.
  2. If you used iTunes on your old computer to back up your iOS device, back up your devices on your new computer or manually transfer the backups from your old computer. Learn more about creating and deleting iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch backups in iTunes.
  3. If you used iCloud with your old computer for syncing, set up iCloud on your new computer.
  4. If you will continue to use your old computer, recreate your iTunes library. This prevents an iOS device from seeing the old computer as the new one because of the old library files.
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