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iTunes 11 for Mac: Change where your iTunes files are stored

Change where your iTunes files are stored

By default, the music, TV shows, movies, podcasts, and other files that appear in your iTunes library are stored here:

Home/Music/iTunes

You can change where your iTunes media files are stored.

Change where imported files are stored

  1. Choose iTunes > Preferences and click Advanced.

  2. Click Change and select a new location for your files.

    From now on, new songs and other items you import will be stored in the new location. Songs you’ve already imported stay in their current location.

    To go back to storing imported files in the iTunes folder, choose iTunes > Preferences, click Advanced, and click Reset.

Consolidate your files in the iTunes folder

Depending on how you imported items into iTunes, some items in your library might be stored in different locations (in another folder or on another hard disk, for example).

You can consolidate all the files in your library in the iTunes folder—for example, to make it easier to move your library to a new computer.

  1. Choose File > Library > Organize Library.

  2. Select “Consolidate files.”

    Files remain in their original locations, and copies are placed in the iTunes folder.

  3. To create folders (Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Audiobooks, and so on) inside your iTunes folder, and place all your imported media files in the appropriate folders, select “Reorganize files in the folder ‘iTunes Media.’”

Add files to your library without adding them to your iTunes folder

When you add an item already on your computer to your iTunes library, iTunes places a copy of the file in your iTunes folder. The original file remains in its current location.

You can change this setting so that files are added to your iTunes library without being added to the iTunes folder. You might want to do this, for example, if you prefer to store video files on an external disk but still want to view them in iTunes.

  1. Choose iTunes > Preferences, and click Advanced.

  2. Deselect the checkbox next to “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library”.

From now on, when you drag a file to your library or choose File > Add to Library, the item appears in iTunes, but the actual file isn’t copied or moved.

Tip:   You can temporarily reverse this setting by holding down the Option key while you drag files to the iTunes window.

Locate your iTunes files

Do either of the following:

  • Find out where a file is stored: Select the item in iTunes, and choose File > Get Info. The path to the file is shown at the bottom of the Summary pane (next to Where).

  • Show the file in the Finder: Select the item in iTunes, and choose File > Show in Finder.

If a song doesn’t appear in iTunes anymore

If a song used to appear in iTunes but doesn’t now, it may be because the iTunes Library file was moved from the iTunes folder, or the song was moved from the iTunes folder. To make your songs appear in the iTunes window again:

  • Locate your iTunes folder in the Finder, and drag it to the iTunes window. You will see the songs in your library again. If the iTunes Library file is included, you’ll also see playlists, song ratings, and other information you created.

  • If that doesn’t work, your songs may be elsewhere on your hard disk. In the Finder, choose File > Find and search for a song by title or artist. Or search for “MP4” to find files downloaded from the iTunes Store or “MP3” to find songs encoded in MP3 format. Drag songs (or folders containing songs) to the iTunes window to add the songs to iTunes again.

Important:   For best results, don’t change the location of the iTunes folder or the folders inside it.
Last Modified: Nov 5, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Nov 5, 2013
  • Article: PH12165
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