Mac OS X Tip: Use an external hard drive for your iTunes Library

In this week’s Mac OS X Tip, I’m going to show you how to move your iTunes library to an external hard drive.  If your iTunes library is like mine you know that your iMac or MacBook Pro’s hard drive will fill up quickly.  An external hard drive will be your best friend to help you let your library grow.  Two weeks ago I explained how to backup your library to an external hard drive.  In this week’s tip I’m going to expand on this method.

The first step is very important.  You will want to choose an external hard drive that will grow with your library.  I recommend getting a 1TB to 2TB hard drive.  I am currently using a 1TB hard drive for my library. I would recommend using the Western Digital My Book. I have been using the My Book
drives, and they have been the most reliable. With this step out of the way, let’s now delve into moving your library, and pointing iTunes to the new hard drive. Let’s begin.

  • Open up two Finder windows.
  • Navigate to your iTunes folder. It is located under your Home Directory in the Music folder.
  • Now that you are in the correct location right click on the iTunes folder and select Copy “iTunes”.
  • Now navigate to your external hard drive.  Once there select Paste Item.
  • This process can take some time depending on how large your library is.
  • Now that the copying process has completed you can now open iTunes to start the process of pointing iTunes to your new library
  • Click on the iTunes drop down menu and select Preferences
  • Click on Advanced.  In here you will see the current location of your iTunes Library.
  • Click on Change.  You will see your Media Folder Location window.  In here you will select your external hard drive.  Now you will click on the iTunes folder, and finally you will click on the iTunes Music folder and click Choose.
  • Now Click Ok.

You have now successfully set up iTunes to use an external hard drive for your library.  When your current external hard drive fills up, just repeat the steps listed above to move your library to an even larger hard drive.  Now sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, and your iTunes library too.

Photo Credit: external hard drive

I'm a husband, dad of two great kids, and I have a passion for Apple products. I got my first Mac in 2005, and I haven't looked back. I like the simplicity of the Mac, and how does the motto… Full Bio