How do I bring part of my iTunes library in from its external drive onto MacBook hard drive?

David Aukland shared this question 8 years ago

TuneSpan tells me "Cannot span directly to “Pro HD”, it's not readable and writable."

Setup: MacBook Pro, with an SSD as the OS X drive, and a 500 gb hard drive ("Pro HD") in what was the DVD slot; my 1.5 tb iTunes is on a 2 tb external drive.

Most of the iTunes library on the external drive is movies and books. I want to move just the music - around 75 gb - to the MacBook so I can carry it with me. I did the same thing with pics, and the iPhoto library now sits happily on Pro HD (not the SSD) - but when I ask TuneSpan to span to the hard drive, it gives me the above message.

How can I make Pro HD work for spanning?

The second part of the TuneSpan message says "But, you may be able to manually create a writable folder within this location." If that is the right next step, how do I create such a folder?


Replies (4)


You should be able to use your Pro HD drive for spanning, you just need to manually create a folder at the root of the drive, and use that for spanning.

I suggest something like "Spanned Media" but the folder can be named whatever you choose.

When you go to create a folder on the drive, you'll probably be prompted for your Admin password. But the folder should be created to be readable and writable be a normal user, therefore usable by TuneSpan. TuneSpan can never attempt or prompt for Admin access under Apple's Sandboxing security requirements.

Once the folder is created, you can drag it onto the Span Location area in TuneSpan to select it, or click that area and choose "Choose New Location" from the menu and select the folder with the Open dialog that will come up.

Please let me know how that goes, or if things still don't work after creating the folder.


Ok, thanks - some progress.

Now I have a test set of iTunes material on Pro HD, in the "Spanned Media" file. Two questions...

-- When I browse the file, I see no smart folder info - is that spanned?

-- How do I make iTunes use the material on Pro HD?

On this second question, I launch iTunes with the option key, ask to choose a library, highlight various files on Pro HD (I tried them all), and always get "An iTunes library file could not be found on the folder 'Spanned Media [or whatever].' Please choose a different folder."

I assume there is some simple answer, so I don't want to fiddle - can you help again with simple steps?



It sounds like you've jumped into using TuneSpan with some incorrect assumptions about how it works, but I can clear that all up for you.

TuneSpan is made to move media files around that are already in your iTunes Library. After TuneSpan moves the media files, you access them just as you did before through your same iTunes Library. You never need to load a separate library in iTunes.

So, if you used TuneSpan to move media your files in your iTunes Library to the

"Spanned Media" folder on "Pro HD", then that's all you need to do. The folder and file structure will be plain old normal folders and media files. Smart Folders are not used.

You're media should look exactly as it did before in iTunes and you should be able to play it just the same as long as the external (or in this case internal) drive is available. You can open the Get Info window for your spanned tracks in iTunes to see that the location now points to the Pro HD drive.

Let me know if that all makes sense, or if you have any more questions.


Yes, that does make sense - and maybe I did have wrong expectations from TuneSpan. Seems it gives flexibility in locating tracks, which is good if space is limited - but that's not my issue.

My aim is to split my iTunes library so I can carry the music around on my MacBook, and leave the bigger files - movies and books - on the external drive for when I am back at base. I assume that would mean choosing how I open iTunes, depending which library I want to use, or maybe I could have the full one on the external drive and a usable subset on Pro HD.

Is there a way I can use TuneSpan to make that work? Next question - and not really one for you to answer! - If TuneSpan can't do that, is there another approach I might try?

Either way, would I be doing myself a favor to revert the tracks I did move from the external library, so I have everything together?

(I do appreciate your clear explanations, and your bearing with my searching.)

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