Where does iTunes store playlist files

Back up and restore iTunes library on your PC

Before you transfer your iTunes library or restore it to your PC, merge all of your content and create a backup.

Here's what you should know

The iTunes library is a database that holds all of your music and other media added to iTunes for Windows. It consists of two iTunes library files and an iTunes Media folder.

Before you back up media:

ITunes and iTunes Store availability and features may vary by country or region. Find out what features are available in your country or region.

On a Mac

Under macOS Catalina, the previous iTunes library is now available in the Apple Music app, the Apple TV app, the Apple Podcasts app and the Apple Books app. If the Mac is backed up, the library is automatically backed up in this backup.


Merge iTunes library

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. From the menu bar at the top of your computer screen or at the top of the iTunes window, choose File> Library> Manage Library.
  3. Select "Merge Files".
  4. Click on "OK".

When merging, copies of files outside of the iTunes Media folder are added to it. The best way to save hard drive space is to delete the original files after copying them to the iTunes Media folder.


Find the iTunes Media folder

By default, the iTunes Media folder is located in the iTunes folder. You can find this under "Users"> "Music"> "iTunes"> "iTunes Media".

If you don't see the iTunes Media folder there, do the following:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. In the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window, choose Edit> Preferences.
  3. Click on the "Advanced" tab.
  4. The location of the "iTunes Media" folder is displayed in the field under "Location of 'iTunes Media'".

Back up media library and media files

After you've merged the media files, you can back up the media library and media files to an external drive.

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. Find the iTunes folder.
  3. Right-click the iTunes folder and choose Copy.
  4. Right click on the external hard drive and choose Paste.

Restore the library from a backup

You can restore the iTunes library from the external hard drive to your computer. If you're restoring an iTunes library from another computer, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed on the new computer.

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. Go to This PC and click the external hard drive.
  3. Right-click the iTunes folder and choose Copy.
  4. Right-click where you want to save the iTunes library and choose Paste.
  5. Hold down the Shift key while you open iTunes.
  6. When you see the "Choose iTunes Library" message, click Choose Library.
  7. Choose the location where you copied the iTunes folder.
  8. In it, select the "iTunes Library.itl" file.
  9. Click on "Open".

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