Itunes Media Folder Location

tim shared this question 10 years ago

Pico I am moving my itunes library from an old mac-pro to a new imac.

On the mac-pro my 'Itunes Media Folder Location' is set to /volumes/Itunes Home/Jasper itunes media (ie a hard drive volume in the mac-pro). 'Copy files is Itunes media folder' is currently ticked. Also 'keep itunes media folder organised' is ticked.

Obviously a lot of my itunes movies etc are already spanned to various locations.

1) What is the best way to migrate itunes (and tunespan) to the new imac. initially I will plug the existing 'itunes home' hard drive as an external hard drive (to satisfy other crashplan migration requirements). I will still have access to the various span locations.

2) Then Eventually I will want to move any remaining data on the itunes home volume to a drobo. How do I do this and how is the 'Itunes Media folder location' affected? Do I change it to the new drobo location, or does tunespan handle this migration? Or should the 'itunes media folder location' be a location on the physical imac. (ie perhaps the default location).

Does this make sense?


Tim Jasper

Replies (11)


Well, first off when you plug all your drives into the new iMac, you should be able to simply hold down the Option key when launching iTunes to point iTunes to your existing library on the external drive. Since all the paths are still the same, it should all work fine from that point.

If you want to know what has been spanned and restored in TuneSpan, you will need to migrate the TuneSpan database and preferences as well. They are both located in "~/Library/Containers/com.randomapplications.TuneSpan/", you should be able to move that whole folder. This will probably apply to a lot of other apps too if you want your old preferences back etc, all that stuff will be somewhere in your user library folder (~/Library).

But about moving your library to a drobo or something later, I'm not quite sure. I think you could run into some issues. I wrote TuneSpan to avoid needing to move my iTunes Library files and to be able to move the media files independently of where the library is, so I don't have much experience with that, sorry. I prefer to keep my iTunes Library files on my internal drive so the library and whatever media is on my internal drive can always be accessed no matter what drives are mounted.

Get back to me when you get to that point after setting up the new iMac and we can try to figure something out.


Actually Pico, I already copied over all my itunes library files ie Itunes Library.xml .itb etc etc (from the mac-pro default location) and placed them in the default location on my new imac. I then used the option key when launching Itunes to point to the new location. This seems to have worked fine. I then mounted my old 'Itunes home' volume (ie where media is stored) and thus I haven't had to change my ' Itunes media Folder location'. However I'm not sure what to do now, because I want to retire the old media volume. ie. do I change the 'Itunes Media Folder Location' to a location on the new imac. Will this consolidate apps, podcasts etc to the new location without messing up the tunespan spanned locations of my movies etc?


Ah, I'm sorry I misunderstood your first post a bit. I thought you were saying that your library files were on the external, my bad.

But, it sounds like you've done the right thing copying your library files from the default location on your Mac Pro to the default location on the iMac.

If you change your default media location and consolidate through iTunes, TuneSpan will not be "messed up" by it, by your movies, etc will no longer be spanned. iTunes will have copied them to the default location and TuneSpan will follow that path.

Changing your default media location alone doesn't consolidate files though, consolidating files in iTunes is a different option in the File > Library > Organize Library... menu.

BUT, when iTunes consolidates your library, it leaves stray files behind. It only copies files and doesn't clean anything up like TuneSpan does.

So, if you want EVERYTHING on your iMac, you could change your default media location "~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media" (the default location) and first span everything to this location. In TuneSpan, you can right-click the Spanning Queue and choose "Select All Tracks to Consolidate Files..." and set your Span Location to be this new default iTunes Media location. That would copy everything and clean up all the left over files on your other drives.

But, since TuneSpan can't span Apps, and some other stuff, you will still have stuff left in your previous default iTunes Media folder.

After the TuneSpan consolidate is done, you could then do the consolidate through iTunes and the only place files SHOULD be left behind would be in your previous iTunes Media folder. So, after the TuneSpan consolidate and then the iTunes consolidate are both complete, you could trash your previous iTunes Media folder and everything should be on your iMac. Assuming you are confident the consolidates caught everything and worked properly.

That's assuming you have enough space for everything on the iMac.

From that point you could then use TuneSpan to move whatever you want to wherever you want but your new default media location would be set.

Does that all make sense? Is that something you're interested in doing? Or do you not want to lose your current span locations for all your spanned stuff?


Pico, Yes I'd rather keep my spanned files where they are, but just need to relocate the other stuff such as apps, podcasts and unspanned movies etc. Just not sure how to do this.


Honestly, I'm not quite sure how to do that either. I think the cleanest approach would be to get everything consolidated first.

I'll continue to think about it and maybe do some experimenting if I find the time, but no guarantee.

I'm sorry this isn't simple, but it's just not really a situation TuneSpan nor iTunes was made to handle.


I was just poking around in iTunes, and I noticed you can consolidate selections of files, you don't have to do the whole library like I thought. I hadn't seen this before, maybes it's new in iTunes 11, not sure.

You can right click and choose "Consolidate Files..." for any selection of media, music, movies, podcasts, etc. But it appears to not be an option for Apps, though.

So, at least, if you can narrow down your non-spanned tracks in iTunes, you can consolidate most of your stuff, but your apps will still be left behind.

Honestly, I would consider if you really need the Mobile Apps on your computer at all. I have 25GB of Mobile Applications on my computer, and I'm wondering if I need them myself. They are all available to re-download from Apple on my devices at anytime, and I haven't looked at touched them or synced them from my computer in forever. I'm gonna think about trashing them.

I think I may actually know good way to easily narrow down and consolidate all your non-spanned files, lemme get back to you.


Oh man, I don't know why I didn't think of this 40 minutes ago, but seeing that you could consolidate selections of files got me thinking about how to easily narrow the set in iTunes, and I realized the perfect solution... I think.

I just did a small test and it worked fine.

So, the trick is to have all your other drives with spanned media, unmounted, disconnected so iTunes just can't access that stuff during the consolidation process, so they're skipped.

I have a bunch of stuff spanned to one drive, and a few other things spanned to another. I unmounted the drive with lots of stuff and then used "File > Library > Organize Library... > Consolidate file". Just my few files on the smaller mounted drive were consolidated into my default iTunes Media folder.

After remounting my bigger drive all of those files are still available from their same locations in iTunes.

But, as I said, iTunes leaved behind stray files after consolidating, I had to go into my smaller drive and trash those files myself after they were consolidated by iTunes. I launched up TuneSpan and used the Locations browser on the right to confirm that nothing was pointing to any drives on my smaller external drive anymore.

I didn't involve changing my iTunes Media folder in this test, but that should work fine, and I imagine it should consolidate your Mobile Apps too. But, I'm not positive on that.

So, if you want to try this, the steps would be:

1. Unmount all drives containing spanned media, make sure they are unavailable by iTunes. If you have anything on Network drive, I think iTunes may try to auto-mount those drives, maybe disconnect from the Internet during the consolidation to make sure that they will not be available.

2. Change your default iTunes Media folder. In the Advanced iTunes Preferences, set your new iTunes Media folder location to wherever you want. Nothing will be copied at that point, that is just where iTunes will put new media files.

3. Consolidate files. In the "File" menu, open the "Library" submenu, then choose "Organize Library...". Check the "Consolidate files" option and click OK after you are sure that all your drives with spanned media are unavailable and your new iTunes Media folder is set to the right location.

That may take a while, but iTunes should show a progress window.

Duplicates will be left behind, make sure everything is available from your new iTunes Media folder before trashing the old files. Like I said, you can use TuneSpan to help confirm the new locations. For Mobile Apps, use the iTunes Get Info window to check the locations.

Let me know how that goes or if you have any questions.


Interestingly I did something similar to your suggestion.

1) I had already moved my itunes library files (itl xml etc) to the imac (as previously discussed). Somehow (I'm not sure how), the default itunes media folder location (within itunes preference) had changed to the new imac itunes location. (I must have done this accidentally in my sleepless state! Maybe?!).

2) Anyway, I created a partition on my imac fusion drive and gave it the same name as my old volume. Copied across my media

3) With all tunespan locations disconnected (by chance) , I changed the itunes media folder location to the new media location (ie the new partition ). Itunes then asked me if I wanted to rename the file locations, which I did with some hesitation.

4) The result. All non tune spanned file locations (podcasts, apps etc) have been changed as desired and are accessible. All tune spanned files have retained their file locations, and work fine when I reconnect the network drives.

ie I did as you suggested, but I didn't have to consolidate in itunes, because itunes automatically renamed files from the old itunes media folder location to the new location and left the file locations for the spanned files as they were.

Not sure what would have happened if the tunespanned network drives had been attached. I'm guessing either way itunes only renames the files that showed the default itunes media location.

Anyway I think everything is good. Not sure that step 2 above was necessary. I'll let you know when I move everything to the new drobo!!

Regards Tim


Interesting. I haven't messed around with changing my iTunes Media folder much so I didn't know this behavior, but its good to know now.

So, when changing the default iTunes Media folder iTunes will check the contents and update paths for files found in the new location. That's great!

Yea, I don't think iTunes would have tried to consolidate on top of doing that path update, so I don't think it would have messed it up if your network drive had been mounted since they wouldn't be in the new iTunes Media folder, or any of your other spanned media for that matter. An advantage over my idea.

So, when you move to the drobo, I think either one should work, just depends on if you want to do the copy yourself in the Finder, or let iTunes copy the files. But with your method, you wouldn't need to unmount anything, I don't think.

But that's awesome, I'm glad you figured it out on your own after my lack of knowledge :-) Sometimes the best help can be not helping at all!

Let me know how it goes with the Drobo.

As always, don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any other questions!

Thanks Tim, for using TuneSpan and for your support back in the beta days!


PS. Looking back on this thread, I wasn't on point at all, I'm sorry for that. Been working on TuneSpan a lot lately, it can be hard to shift back into thinking about these kinds of situations after having my head in this or that other part of the inner workings TuneSpan. This next update is gonna be a nice one, hope to have it out early next year.

But, I'm real happy to have learned your trick with just copying the media and changing the location, simple. I dunno why I didn't think iTunes could just handle that outright, I guess I'm too used to helping it deal with moving media around :-)


Pico. Actually I don't think it checks the actual contents of the new location, but rather simply renames the list of files in the the itl file that have the old location name.?

I hadn't noticed the new consolidation feature, so that could come in handy too.

Thank you for a great product. It's certainly been godsend for my multi terabyte collection!!


Not 100% sure, I was assuming it would confirm the files existed at the new location. I believe when you change your default media location without moving any media files first, the files are simply left in place and just any new files are added to the new iTunes Media location.

...yep, after a quick test, I changed my default iTunes Media to a new folder on the desktop. I saw a quick updating database progress bar, and then iTunes asked me if I wanted to reorganize the media in the new location to match my settings. I said yes (even though I had nothing in there). I think that's when it would have examined the contents and found any files that match tracks in the library.

After that, nothing changed, my default iTunes Media folder is different but all my spanned media, and media in my previous iTunes Media folder are still in the same place and playable.

Pretty nice behavior on iTunes part.

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