How to back up your media in iTunes

There are several ways to back up your iTunes library, playlists, and iTunes Store purchases (including Applications purchased from the App Store) for safekeeping.


This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

For iTunes 10.4 or later, the following options are available:


For iTunes 10.3 and earlier, backing up your iTunes library to CD of DVD is also available. Refer to this article you have iTunes 5 or 6. 

Backing up to Disc

The "Back Up to Disc" feature saves your media to a blank disc (CD or DVD). Once backed up, iTunes can use your backup disc (or discs) to automatically restore your iTunes library.

To burn a CD (CD-R or CD-RW), your computer must have a compatible CD burner. To burn a DVD (DVD-R or DVD-RW), your computer must have a compatible DVD burner. Check in iTunes Preferences to see if a drive is compatible. See below for steps.

Note: To reduce the number of discs needed for a backup, iTunes can perform incremental backups (only items added or changed since the last backup).


To create your backup disc

  1. Choose File > Library > Back up to Disc.
  2. Select the option you want from the resulting dialog and click Next.

    The two options you can select from are:
    • Back up entire iTunes library and playlists
    • Back up only iTunes Store purchases

    Whichever of these two options you choose, note that you can also choose "Only back up items added or changed since last backup" to perform an incremental backup. Finally, you'll be able to choose the drive settings (such as which optical drive to use and the speed of the burn process).

  3. Insert a blank disc (CD or DVD) into your computer's optical drive. iTunes will scan the disc and begin burning.

  4. Note: If the disc you insert does not have enough space to hold all of the content you will be backing up, a dialog will appear asking whether you wish to backup to multiple discs.
  5.  Items in file will not fit on one disc dialog

  6. You can click Continue to start the burn process.  iTunes burns the number of items that fit on one disc and then asks you to insert subsequent discs to continue burning the remaining files.
  7. Notes:  

    • If you have a file in your iTunes Library that is too large to fit on a blank CD, iTunes will prompt you to insert a blank DVD instead.
    • Don't eject a disc while a backup is in progress.
    • Spoken programs purchased from the website are not backed up.
    • Discs you create using the iTunes backup feature can be used only to restore; they can't be played in a CD or DVD playe


Restoring from a backup disc

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Insert your backup disc.
  3. iTunes will ask whether you want to restore from this disc. Click Restore.


Learn how to:


The Back Up To Disc feature will back up the following files from your iTunes Library:

  • Applications
  • Audiobooks
  • Games
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Music Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Ringtones
  • TV Shows
Important: Mention of third-party websites and products is for informational purposes only and constitutes neither an endorsement nor a recommendation. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance or use of information or products found at third-party websites. Apple provides this only as a convenience to our users. Apple has not tested the information found on these sites and makes no representations regarding its accuracy or reliability. There are risks inherent in the use of any information or products found on the Internet, and Apple assumes no responsibility in this regard. Please understand that a third-party site is independent from Apple and that Apple has no control over the content on that website. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified:
30% of people found this helpful.

Additional Product Support Information

Start a Discussion

in Apple Support Communities
See all questions on this article See all questions I have asked
United States (English)