If you love music, movies, TV shows, and podcasts, there’s a good chance that your iTunes Media folder will have swollen to the point where it’s pushing up against the bounds of your hard drive’s capacity. In such cases you’ll need to move your media to a more expansive drive. Thankfully, as we look at here, iTunes makes it fairly easy to do so.
1. Add a new hard drive
The whole point of this exercise is to make more room for your iTunes media. Depending on the type of Mac you have, you can add either an internal or external hard drive. When choosing its capacity, you’ll need to consider both the current size of your iTunes Media folder and how big it’s likely to get in the next few years. If you purchase music from the iTunes Store, you should bear in mind that Apple has increased the bit rate of the music it sells from 128kbps AAC to 256kbps AAC. When the bit rate doubles, so too does the size of the files. And if you rip your own CDs and want the best quality, Apple Lossless files are even larger. Also, the file sizes of the iTunes Store’s TV shows and movies can be huge – especially if you purchase the HD versions.
2. Configure iTunes’ Preferences
Launch iTunes and choose Preferences (Cmd, [Comma]). Click the Advanced button, and in the resulting window enable the Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized. In that same window, click the Change button next to the iTunes Media Folder Location entry.
In the new window, navigate to the hard drive you’ve added for your media. Click the New Folder button. In the window that appears, enter a name for your new media folder (‘My Media,’ for example) and click Create. Next, click the Choose button in the Change iTunes Media Folder Location window. Click OK to dismiss the Advanced window.
3. Consolidate your content
Choose File > Library > Organize Library. In the resulting Organize Library window, enable the Consolidate Files option, and click OK.
iTunes will now set about copying the content from your original iTunes Media folder to the folder you’ve created on the new drive, as well as start using it for all new content.
4. Test it
You’ll now need to quit iTunes. In the Finder, navigate to the location of your original iTunes Media folder – typically found at youruserfolder/Music/iTunes – and move the iTunes Media folder to the desktop.
It’s important that you don’t move anything else from the iTunes folder. The program keeps its database files in this folder – the files that, among other things, keep track of your playlists, play counts, and ratings.
Launch iTunes, select an item, and click the Play button. If the track plays as it should, you’ve successfully moved the library. To double-check, you can select a track or video, (press C-I to bring up the Info window) and, in the Summary tab, find the location of the file listed next to the Where entry. The path should point to the new drive.
If everything is working okay, you can trash your old iTunes Media folder. If you prefer to move your entire iTunes folder, you can copy it to a new location, hold down Option while you launch iTunes, and select the new location.