iTunes: How to backup and restore playlists

Learn how to back up and restore your playlists.
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Backing up playlists

Follow these steps:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Select one of your playlists from the Source list.
  3. From the File menu, choose Export Song List. A Save dialog appears.
  4. From the Format pop-up menu, choose XML.
  5. From the Where pop-up menu, choose Desktop.
  6. Click Save.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 for each of the playlists that you have created in iTunes.

Note: These smart playlists are created automatically by iTunes, so you do not need to back them up:

  • 60's Music
  • My Top Rated
  • Recently Played
  • Top 25 Most Played.

Restoring playlists

Follow these steps:

  1. From the File menu, choose Import.
  2. Navigate to and select one of the exported playlist files on your Desktop.
  3. Click Choose.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for each of the playlist files that you have exported to the Desktop.

Important: Some playlist information, such as Play Count and Last Played date, is not preserved.

For steps to recreate the iTunes library file see "iTunes: How to recreate your iTunes Library."

Published Date: Feb 18, 2012