Best way to transfer iTunes music files to external drive?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by dictoresno, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. dictoresno macrumors 601


    Apr 30, 2012
    I have an internal 1TB spinner in my 2015 iMac. If I were to get a smaller 250GB internal SSD and chose to store my actual MP3 files (115GB worth) on an external 2TB spinner in a dock station, what would be the best way as to not screw it up?

    I have self made folder on my desktop called "Music" which is the location/source for the files in iTunes. I assume if I drag/drop this source folder to my external, iTunes on my Mac will be unable to locate the correct files. Is it as simple as that? Just point iTunes to the new drive location but using the same folder name and structure? I won't move files inside this folder around at all. Just wanna drag and drop it.

    So again, won't be messing with iTunes or the library itself, just moving the MP3 file source folder from an internal drive to external.

    I've read a few tutorials but most want you to copy iTunes library folder and install iTunes on new drive. I'm not doing all that and not trying to clone anything.
  2. Gjwilly, Jan 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017

    Gjwilly macrumors 68030

    May 1, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Move your music, open iTunes and go to Preferences.
    In Advanced, change the iTunes media folder location to the Music folder on your external drive.
    iTunes will scan the external drive to make sure all media is accounted for so depending upon the size of your library this could take a while
    If the file structure for your music isn't already organized, the checkbox to keep library organized will arrange everything by artist and album so that will make the process take even longer.
    If you change the setting in iTunes before moving your music I believe iTunes will offer to move the music for you. That might be the way to go because then you know that the file structure and metadata will all be preserved exactly like iTunes expects it.
    Make sure the external drive is connected every time you start iTunes in the future or it will default back to your internal drive and your music will be unlocatable until you repeat the steps above.
  3. dictoresno thread starter macrumors 601


    Apr 30, 2012
    The songs in the folder are arranged how I want them. Mostly in sub folders by artist, then album(s). 50% of the folder is just hundreds of single MP3 files arranged in no particular order, mostly alphabetically though. I've spent countless hours editing file names to make them correct and then editing their respective info/metadata in iTunes using the get info tab.

    I will have to look tomorrow and see if the box is checked to keep it organized. I remember messing with it years ago and it really screwed my library up and I had to repair it from a backup.

    However your directions sound simple enough. Like I said, I'm simply moving the MP3 files source location, not changing anything else. I have about 12,000 MP3 files, which comes out to be about 115 GB on disk.
  4. steve23094 macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2013
    If that doesn't work out for you have a look at TuneSpan.

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