Backing up your music files in iTunes 4

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Learn how to back up songs that are in your iTunes library. If you have iTunes 5 or iTunes 6, click here.

Be sure to make regular backups of your music files (in your iTunes Music folder) by copying them to an external hard disk or other media. Otherwise, if your hard disk becomes damaged or you lose any of the music you've purchased, you'll have to buy any purchased music again to rebuild your library.

Backing up your music to a CD or DVD

You can burn a data CD or DVD with any of the songs and spoken word content in your iTunes library. You might want to do this to make a backup copy (or archive) of all your audio files, or to transfer them to another computer.

To burn a DVD, your computer should have an internal SuperDrive and Mac OS 10.2.4 or later. Some third-party DVD burners may also work. You can store about 650 MB of files on a CD, and about 4.7 GB on a DVD.

To create a playlist of your entire library

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Click Library in the Source list.
  3. Click the Browse button or choose Show Browser from the Edit menu.
  4. Make sure "All" is selected for Genre, Artist, and Album.

  5. Click any single song, then choose Select All from the Edit menu.

  6. From the File menu, choose New Playlist From Selection.
  7. Type a name for the new playlist.

Note: If you don't mind re-importing your other music from your CD collection, you can just back up yout iTunes Store and Audible content by creating a smart Playlist that contains all songs and audiobooks with Kind set to Protected AAC audio file or Audible file as shown here:

To burn a data CD or DVD

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. From the iTunes menu, choose Preferences (Windows: From the Edit menu, choose Preferences).
  3. Click the Burning button.
  4. Choose Data CD or DVD as the Disc Format.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Create a playlist that includes all the items in your library (see steps above), or all the items you want to back up to the CD or DVD.
  7. Select the playlist you want to burn to the CD or DVD, then click the Burn Disc button.
  8. Insert a blank CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, or DVD-RW disc, and click Burn Disc again.

Any audio files in the playlist (MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV, Audible) are copied to the CD or DVD.

Tip: You can only burn a CD or DVD from the songs in a playlist. If the playlist contains more songs than will fit on a single disc, iTunes will notify you and will give you the option to use multiple discs. You can see the size of the selected playlist at the bottom of the iTunes window.

Data CDs or DVDs will work on your computer, but will not work in most CD/DVD players.

You can make regular, incremental backups of your music (that means only backing up what has changed).

Restoring music files from backup:

To add music files back into your iTunes library from your backup discs:
  1. Insert the disc into your computer. The disc shows up in iTunes.
  2. Click the disc in the Source list.
  3. Click the Browse button in the upper right to make browsing the disc easier.
  4. Locate the songs, albums, artists or entire genres you are missing.
  5. Drag the missing files to Library in the Source list.

A note about copyright iTunes software may be used to reproduce materials. It is licensed to you only for reproduction of non-copyrighted materials, materials in which you own the copyright, or materials you are authorized or legally permitted to reproduce. If you are uncertain about your right to copy any material, you should contact your legal advisor. See the iTunes Store Terms of Service for additional information.
Related Documents
93041 iTunes: How to Locate Downloaded Files
93358 iTunes for Windows: About Where iTunes Audio Files Are Stored

Published Date: Feb 18, 2012