Move your iTunes library to an external drive
3:16

Move your iTunes library to an external drive

Computing
Is your iTunes Media Library hogging up too much space on your computer? I'm Donald Bell, and I'm here to show you how to run your iTunes Library from an external hard drive. If you have a massive iTunes Library filled with music, movies, and podcasts, it's not a bad idea to offload that content onto a separate external or internal hard drive. But, transferring that library isn't as obvious as dragging, dropping your iTunes folder onto a new drive. It's not hard, but to do it right, you've got to let iTunes do the work for you. To get started, open iTunes and make sure the drive you want to move your library too is connected to your computer and ready to go. Next, go into your iTunes Preferences. On a PC, you'll find this under the edit menu. And for a Mac, it's under the iTunes menu. Click under the "advanced tab", and where it says "iTunes Music Folder location", change the location to a folder on your external drive. Next, make sure the copy files to Music Folder option is checked. This ensures that any new content you download or rip into iTunes gets transferred to the new location. After that, hit the "OK" button. Now, you're not done yet. There's one more big step to take before iTunes really starts moving your library to the new location, but before we commit your computer to what could be a few hours of transfer time, let's take a moment to do some general iTunes housekeeping. Delete any old podcasts you're not listening to or maybe some movies or TV shows you never plan on watching again. There's probably a lot of clutter in your Library that you don't need to waste time copying. A couple of minutes here could save you hours of transfer time. When you're ready to make the transfer, click the iTunes file menu, then go to "library" and select "organize library". You'll see a window with options here for consolidating and organizing your library. It can't hurt to check them both but the critical one here is the first option for consolidating files. This is gonna take all the files referenced by iTunes on your computer, your movies, your music, your audio books, podcasts, TV shows, and it's gonna copy it over to the new location on your external drive. It will take some time, and remember, it's not deleting the old files, it's just copying them to the new location. If you're feeling confident later on, you can move your old iTunes Music folder on your local drive to the trash can after the transfer is complete and check again to make sure everything is still working and then permanently delete the old files. Once the dust is settled, and all your precious iTunes content is running smoothly from the external drive, you can finally pat yourself on the back. Unless the drive is powered off or disconnected, iTunes will remember to load your music library from the external drive every time it launches. Without the drive connected, iTunes will temporarily revert back to the internal drive and function for things like streaming podcasts or Internet radio or downloading stuff from the iTunes Store, but you won't be able to play your Library content without connecting it back up to the external drive. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell helping you to give your iTunes Library some extra breathing room.

Up Next

How to Clean Your Keyboard's Sticky Keys
3keyboards

Up Next

How to Clean Your Keyboard's Sticky Keys

How to Play Games from PlayStation Plus on PC
psstill

How to Play Games from PlayStation Plus on PC

How to Delete or Disable Your Instagram Account
phoneonorange

How to Delete or Disable Your Instagram Account

Fix Your iPhone Screen With Apple's Self-Service Repair Kit
dsc00641

Fix Your iPhone Screen With Apple's Self-Service Repair Kit

How to Buy a Budget Laptop in 2022
budgetlaptops-00-08-35-15-still001

How to Buy a Budget Laptop in 2022

Google Pay: How to Set Up and Use
googlepay-inhand

Google Pay: How to Set Up and Use

Clean Your AirPods and EarPods Without Damaging Them
yt-howto-clean-airpods-v3

Clean Your AirPods and EarPods Without Damaging Them

How to Control Your Computer With Your Feet
yt-learn-guitar-foot-controls-v2

How to Control Your Computer With Your Feet

How to Download YouTube Videos
yt-howto-download-yt-videos-v3

How to Download YouTube Videos

Tech Shows

The Apple Core
apple-core-w

The Apple Core

Alphabet City
alphabet-city-w

Alphabet City

CNET Top 5
cnet-top-5-w

CNET Top 5

The Daily Charge
dc-site-1color-logo.png

The Daily Charge

What the Future
what-the-future-w

What the Future

Tech Today
tech-today-w

Tech Today

Latest News All latest news

Comparing iPhone 14 Pro and 13 Pro Max cameras
iphone14vsiphone13camcompare-00-00-36-21-still002

Comparing iPhone 14 Pro and 13 Pro Max cameras

We Put a GoPro Against the iPhone 14's Action Mode
iphone14-can-it-replace-gopro-clean

We Put a GoPro Against the iPhone 14's Action Mode

Predicting Microsoft's Next Surface Products
clip0001-00-03-47-11-still008

Predicting Microsoft's Next Surface Products

What We Expect To See in the Pixel 7 and Pixel Watch
pixel7-whattoexpect-2b-00000

What We Expect To See in the Pixel 7 and Pixel Watch

I Don't Own an Electric Car and Here's Why
15851-id-buzzdrivingfootageeuropeanmodel-volkswagen-mp4-00-02-04-02-still002

I Don't Own an Electric Car and Here's Why

What It's Like to Fly in Xwing's Self-Flying Plane
xwing-aircraft-7

What It's Like to Fly in Xwing's Self-Flying Plane

Most Popular All most popular

DART Explained: First Asteroid Crash Images
dart-crash

DART Explained: First Asteroid Crash Images

I Don't Own an Electric Car and Here's Why
15851-id-buzzdrivingfootageeuropeanmodel-volkswagen-mp4-00-02-04-02-still002

I Don't Own an Electric Car and Here's Why

What It's Like to Fly in Xwing's Self-Flying Plane
xwing-aircraft-7

What It's Like to Fly in Xwing's Self-Flying Plane

Elon Musk Wants to Sell You an Optimus Robot for Less Than the Price of a Tesla
optimus-for-cms-1

Elon Musk Wants to Sell You an Optimus Robot for Less Than the Price of a Tesla

How Apple Could Bring Back the iPhone Mini
220922-yt-apple-stuff-ep-13-iphone-mini-isnt-dead-3

How Apple Could Bring Back the iPhone Mini

Watch Elon Musk Unveil Optimus Robot Prototype
teslarobot

Watch Elon Musk Unveil Optimus Robot Prototype

Latest Products All latest products

Fitbit Sense 2 First Look: New Software Makes a Difference
fitbit-aroll-00-00-46-14-still001

Fitbit Sense 2 First Look: New Software Makes a Difference

GoPro Hero 11 Black Hands-on: Super-sized Sensor for All Your Socials
gopro1

GoPro Hero 11 Black Hands-on: Super-sized Sensor for All Your Socials

I Tried Out Sony's Upcoming VR Headset on the PlayStation 5
psvr2

I Tried Out Sony's Upcoming VR Headset on the PlayStation 5

Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE: First Look
watch8-sepic

Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE: First Look

Bose QuietComfort EarBuds 2: Better design, better performance
bose-quietcomforst-ii

Bose QuietComfort EarBuds 2: Better design, better performance

Galaxy Z Flip 4 Review: A Diminutive but Fun Upgrade
flip4

Galaxy Z Flip 4 Review: A Diminutive but Fun Upgrade

Latest How To All how to videos

How to Clean Your Keyboard's Sticky Keys
3keyboards

How to Clean Your Keyboard's Sticky Keys

How to Play Games from PlayStation Plus on PC
psstill

How to Play Games from PlayStation Plus on PC

How to Delete or Disable Your Instagram Account
phoneonorange

How to Delete or Disable Your Instagram Account

Fix Your iPhone Screen With Apple's Self-Service Repair Kit
dsc00641

Fix Your iPhone Screen With Apple's Self-Service Repair Kit

How to Buy a Budget Laptop in 2022
budgetlaptops-00-08-35-15-still001

How to Buy a Budget Laptop in 2022

Google Pay: How to Set Up and Use
googlepay-inhand

Google Pay: How to Set Up and Use