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Backup & Transfer iTunes Media on Mac

Media files that make up your iTunes library may not all be in the same folder.  If you have multiple folders containing media files which are to be added to your iTunes library, there's an option in iTunes to do this -- it's a useful feature that lets you to build up an index of your songs in a more flexible way. However, it complicates the backup procedure because you will have to make sure that all these folders on your computer's hard drive are backed up as well as the iTunes music folder.

To make this process easier, you can use the consolidation feature in iTunes to copy all your media files into one folder. This process doesn't delete the original files that are in other locations, but it ensures all media files are copied.

To consolidate your iTunes library into one folder before backup, make sure iTunes is running and follow these steps:

  1. Go to the configuration menu of iTunes.

-       click the iTunes menu tab and then choose the Preferences option in the list

  1. Click the Advanced tab and enable the option: Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library if not already checked. Click OK to proceed.
  2. To view the consolidation screen, click the File menu tab and choose Library > Organize Library.
  3. Click the Consolidate Files option and then click OK to copy files into one folder.

Copying Your Consolidated iTunes Library to External Storage

Now that all media files are in your iTunes library folder, you can copy it to an external storage device such as a USB portable hard drive. To do this exit iTunes and follow these steps:

  1. If you haven't changed the default location of the main iTunes folder, use one of the following default path to navigate to your iTunes library: /Users/user profile name/Music

  1. Open a separate Window on your desktop for the external drive -- this is so you can easily copy the iTunes folder by dragging and dropping it.  For Mac, use the Finder sidebar or desktop.
  2. Drag and drop or copy and paste the iTunes folder from your computer to your external drive. Wait for the copying process to finish.


Restoring Your iTunes Library Backup

To restore a backed up iTunes Library from your external hard drive to your computer, follow these steps:

  1. Exit iTunes.
  2. Locate the backup folder on you external hard drive. 
  3. Drag the iTunes folder from your external hard drive to whatever location you desire on your internal hard drive. It is recommended that you choose the default location for the iTunes folder, which is: /Users/user profile name/Music
  4. Open iTunes while holding down the Option key
  5. In the pop up window, click the Choose Library button.

  6. Select the iTunes folder you just moved to the internal hard drive.
  7. Click Choose and then choose the iTunes Library file inside.

After following these steps, iTunes will open and your iTunes Library will be restored.