iTunes has been around for a long time, in fact its first release was back in January 2001. The program has evolved a lot since then and certain ways of using the program have also changed.

In this article we look at where to download the program, how to install it and more importantly how to back up your large music collection.

Read next: How to change iTunes Library location.

How to download iTunes - Apple

How to download iTunes: Download and install iTunes on your Mac OS X or Windows device

The download and installation process of iTunes is very simple. You'll need to visit Apple's website to download the iTunes installer. Note: You do not have to put an email address nor sign up to any of Apple's newsletters or offers - simply untick the two options and leave the email field blank.

Once you've got the installer, proceed in following the on-screen prompts and select where you would like to install iTunes and if you would like it to be your default player.

How to download iTunes - Install

Once installed, iTunes will automatically open. If it doesn't automatically open, you'll be able to find it in your Launchpad on Mac or programs within your Start menu on Windows.

Read next: How to back up iPhone or iPad.

How to update iTunes: Keep your iTunes up-to-date

How to download iTunes - Update

During your installation, you'll have the option to allow Apple to keep its products up-to-date. If for any reason you are not receiving automatic updates, you can always manually force iTunes to look for an update - you will of course have to be connected to the internet in order to receive the latest updates.

To prompt an update, navigate to the Help option on your iTunes menu bar and look for the Check for Updates option. If you're not on the latest version of iTunes, you'll be prompted to download the latest version to your machine.

You might need to close iTunes before proceeding in the installation process, so make sure you have saved everything on iTunes, such as playlists and music downloads.

The update process doesn't turn your iTunes back to a factory setting, so all your preferences and playlists will be saved.

Read next: How to use Apple Music in the UK.

How to back up iTunes: Always have a backup

No matter what platform you use or device, it's always good to have a backup of your files, especially if they're important to you.

In this case you'll want to back up your music collection and iTunes playlists. To back up your files, you'll first need to know where your media is stored. On the iTunes menu bar, click on Edit and find Preferences.

How to download iTunes - File Location

A new window should appear where you'll see various different tabs and options. Navigate to the Advanced tab on the far right, and you'll see your 'iTunes Media folder location'. In our case we were using a Windows machine, where you'll find the default location in the following places: 

  • Mac: Finder > username > Music
  • Windows Vista or later: \Users\username\Music\
  • Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\

Once you've determined the location, you'll need to consolidate your library to ensure all your files are found within your iTunes Media folder.

Navigate to your iTunes menu bar and select File > Library > Organise Library.

This will present you with a new window, where you'll be to consolidate your files, by checking the checkbox.

How to download iTunes - Consolidate

Once your files have been consolidated (sometimes it takes a while for it to complete), you can go ahead and copy and paste the entire iTunes backup folder to another location, such as an external hard drive. Make sure iTunes is not open when you're saving the folder.

Read next: Best hard drives for Macs 2016 and Best Mac backup software and services

How to restore iTunes: Restore from a backup

If you've previously backed up your iTunes library, you might look to restore it. You'll first want to quit iTunes and then copy the folder from your external drive (or another folder within your machine) and paste it into the default iTunes location. The default location is as mentioned above, you can alternatively store it somewhere else, but you'll have to make sure that once you've got iTunes open again, that it automatically saves new files to your new location.

Once you've completed the transfer, hold down the Option key on Mac or Shift key on Windows and open iTunes. Ideally, it's made easier if you've got iTunes on your desktop - you can always find a shortcut of the program in your Launchpad or programs.

How to download iTunes - Library

You'll now be prompted to choose your iTunes library; click on Choose Library and navigate to your iTunes folder and choose the iTunes Library.itl file inside.

Open iTunes, and you'll now have your previous backup of iTunes working.

Read next: How to get music on and off your iPhone or iPad, without using iTunes.