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Import hundreds of backed up iTunes albums/tracks, ext drive to Mac-Catalina?


macrumors 601
Original poster
Sep 25, 2012
Slapfish, North Carolina
Hi all,

Thanks to earlier versions of Catalina (big mistake upgrading to that mess), my iMac's Music app was completely messed up... missing artwork that would never show up on the app, and the OSX creating duplicate of duplicate of duplicate tracks when I synched music from my iPhone to Mac/Catalina.

For clarity, I do not subscribe to Apple Music.

So I do have a back up of all my albums and tracks, on an external USB drive. But the "backup" is literally a drag-and-drop backup. They consist of a over a hundred albums, over a thousand music tracks. It's NOT a single "backup file". It's literally a clone of my older (iTunes) Media folder.

Now that I upgraded to the latest Catalina 10.15.5, and hoping that the Music app issues are mostly resolved. I went and cleared out (deleted) all the Music app contents. Deleted everything from my Library. Emptied trash. Then I hunted down the old album artwork folder, and trashed those artwork too. I even went to the (current) Media folder of Catalina 10.15.5, and emptied everything inside, including the Music Library file. Deleted everything, settings, prefs, etc. It's the closest I can get to a "clean install" of the Music app, yes?

Now I want to import my hundreds of albums/tracks backed up on my external USB drive. The tracks are still neatly tucked inside their originally named "albums", nested beneath their originally named "artists", etc. And the top level is the older Media folder (from the earliest version of Catalina).

What's the least painful way to Import all of this back to the Music app? Do I go to Menu, Import, and then just select the "Media" folder on my external drive? Or do I have to select and import one music album at a time?

Thanks in advance for any clarifications!


macrumors 68020
Sep 2, 2013
Copy that entire iTunes folder onto the iMac and then “hold the option key“ while opening the new music app and it should ask to Locate the folder - and iTunes Library

Once you have manually selected the folder it will import the info and create a new music library different from the iTunes library and should import all the playlists, play counts and other info.

Or if you Want to run off the external media drive “hold the option key“ And browse to the external drive folder with the iTunes library to again import the info and create a new music library
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