Some clarity on how it works

Jon Drinnon shared this question 8 years ago

I just bought TuneSpan and I want to be sure I want to use it. Can you answer these concerns?

1. It says it will take 22 days to span my entire library? Is that right?

2. When I add new music to iTunes does it get put in the span area automatically? I plan to trash my regular library and keep all music on the back up hd to free up space. I don't want to have to fiddle with it each time I add some music.

3. When I delete music in iTunes, will TuneSpan delete the tracks from the backup location?

I just don't want to make things more difficult.


Comments (4)


First off, thank you for asking that more specific questions... So I can clear up each concern more easily, and it also helps me to better know where I need to make things more clear in TuneSpan.

Next, I have some basic information about the flow of using TuneSpan... selecting some tracks, a location, and moving them... in screenshot form on the Mac App Store as well as the TuneSpan website:

I know they're a bit long winded, but for you and others who may have questions, its easiest to start with reading all that info to answer more basic interface usage questions. But, your questions are more in depth, so I will answer each specifically... assuming you understand these basics first.


1. I believe the 22 days you are referring to is the summary for what you've selected in the spanning queue. Those numbers are just the amount you have selected... how many items, how much playing time, and total files size.

TuneSpan does not offer a span time estimation because the speed depends on your system (cpu, ram, etc.), the speed of the connection to your external drive (usb, firewire, thunderbolt, etc), as well as your internal and external hd speed, SSDs read and write very quickly and traditional spinning discs have varying speed. Its just a lot that I can't calculate. But, I do plan to give better overall progress indication in the spanning view. Like time elapsed, percentage complete, etc. Also, TuneSpan does not currently show progress while copying a file, a file copied is one tick and the location updated in iTunes is another tick. So, bigger files will take longer without any progress bar movement. I plan to address these issues in the next minor update, but at this point... once you start a span... you just need to be patient and let it finish. It will not be any faster than if you drag and drop the file in the Finder.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not span too much at once if your system is not very fast! There are some memory optimizations I want to make in the spanning process. But, currently, when you span 100's of GBs at once, a lot of memory and virtual memory (hard drive space used as RAM storage) can be necessary. Some people have spanned TB's at once successfully and others with less system resources have run into issues when spanning huge amounts at once. If you internal hard drive is quite full and you do not have a lot of RAM, I suggest spanning in smaller batched, 20GB - 50GB at a time. At least start smaller... as you clear space on your internal drive with smaller batches, you will free up more hard drive space for virtual memory and should be able to handle bigger batches. It all depends on your setup. If you have a fast computer with loads of ram, it should be fine. If its on the lower end... take it a bit easier on the system instead of doing it all at once. That will insure successful spans and no hassle or headache, if you were to run out of resources but doing too much at once.


2. TuneSpan does not currently feature any automatic spanning capability, that has been another highly requested feature and something that I plan to implement, but am only just in the planning phases of the feature. There are still a few other things I need to work on first and I don't want to rush such an important and useful feature... it needs to be done right and will take some tweaking to the internals of TuneSpan.

But, even though you have to manually select (drag and drop) the tracks you want to span in the TuneSpan interface, TuneSpan takes care of tons of the messy work for you. When you use TuneSpan, you don't need to fiddle with your files... AT ALL!

By default, TuneSpans spanning options are set to trash successfully copied files, as well as empty folders left behind. So, your file system will stay clean with no leftover strays. But, if you want to change that for some specific reason, you can... but for normal uses, I believe that is what most users want and expect.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE: TuneSpan only moves files and folders to the trash, if there is a case that a file needs to be truly deleted (if its on a network drive and cannot be moved to the trash), TuneSpan will prompt you about the situation and get double confirmation before making any irreversible changes. Since TuneSpan only moves your files to the trash, you must manually empty the trash after a span or restore is complete. This is for your security, TuneSpan in fact does not have the capability to empty that trash for you or request the Finder prompt you to empty that trash automatically. This is part of Sandboxing security required be Apple.

So, you should not need to manually trash your regular library, after using TuneSpan you will use your same normal iTunes Library and everything will still be listed, but only available to play when your external drive is plugged in. And, your original files will have been moved to the trash only leaving the files in your new location.

Also, say you span EVERYTHING, your whole library... which is what it sounds like you want to do. Once that is done, new music will not be automatically added to that new span location. It will be added to your default library location as normal. But, that probably won't be tons of space used real quickly. You could open up TuneSpan every month, or couple weeks if you add a ton and just reselect EVERYTHING to span again. To make it really easy for you, TuneSpan will just skip everything that's already spanned and only relocate what needs to be done. It will only take as much time as what needs to be moved.

If you do not span your whole library and just span music, or podcasts or something, the same rule applies. Just reselect that whole media type and it will skip whatever is already spanned.

TuneSpan automatically remembers your span locations, when you click the span location area, a list of your location history will come up for convenience. But, if you are always spanning to the same location and don't want to have to select it every time... open up the TuneSpan preferences and in the General pane, there is a checkbox below the "Save span location" option. Uncheck "Clear location after spanning and reset to span mode after restoring". With that checkbox option OFF, you span location will always be selected for you to use again after you complete a span.


3. If you choose to delete track listings from your iTunes Library... which is not required to save space on your drive or anything... but if you want to do it, iTunes will not ever prompt you to trash files that are not in your default media location, that is just a behavior of iTunes. But, TuneSpan tries to help you with this if it happens to be the case that you do want those files trashed after they have been removed from your library. But, since that may not always be what users want, you are prompted with the situation and have multiple options.

So, iTunes will never prompt to trash files not in the default location... but the next time you open TuneSpan... it will be aware of the change and prompt you with a list of spanned tracks deleted from iTunes whose files still exist (it will only be aware of this when your external drive is plugged in). In this list, you will be able to select specific tracks to trash and others to leave alone, as well as an option to leave all files alone, not trashing any of them, and never prompting to trash files again. That is also an option in the Advanced TuneSpan Preferences (command + ,) for you to turn off or on at any time.


Alright, my wrists are getting sore from this typing... I know that was a TON, but I tried to be as specific as possible and cover all the bases. I hope that clears everything up for you. Please let me know if any of this doesn't make sense and you need further clarification (maybe I made some glaring typo or auto-correct mistake, but I tried to proof-read it all). Or, if you happen to think of anymore questions.

I'm here to help with anything you need, as long as I can give my wrists a break for a moment. :-)


Another note that I think you may want to be aware of if you're not...

There are some files that TuneSpan just cannot span, so it may be impossible to move absolutely everything from your internal drive.

This is because of the limitations of what's included in the readable XML iTunes Library file which is created by iTunes. TuneSpan and all other 3rd-party apps rely on this file to know the contents of the iTunes Library.

Here's the info about it that I have in the description on the Mac App Store:



Unfortunately, TuneSpan can't span files that aren't included in the readable XML iTunes Library file. TuneSpan has no access to the following files; they are left untouched and unchanged:

Mobile Apps, Rented Movies, Ring Tones, Text-Based Books, iTunes LPs, and iTunes Extras

Also, for SD and HD versions of a video, only one at a time can be spanned (the one that's currently selected in iTunes).


If you have HD and SD versions of videos in your library, it's not all that hard to get both versions spanned.

For the record... here's some info that I've written about how to do it... pasted from another reply for convenience:


To span the SD versions, you need to change the set version for each video track in iTunes. You can right click each track to switch versions individually, or simply switch the default version for all tracks from within the iTunes Preferences. Whichever version is set in iTunes is the one that will be listed in the XML file, and TuneSpan should handle this change gracefully, updating the location to the SD version, but not losing the HD one when you switch back in iTunes.

To switch the default video version for all videos, open the iTunes Preferences (command+,) and go to the "Playback" pane. There is a "Preferred Video Version" option drop down menu, select the "Standard Definition" option.

Then, quit iTunes to save the updated iTunes Library and reload or relaunch TuneSpan to load the updated library.

Now, the SD versions will be the listed locations in TuneSpan, and TuneSpan should have changed those tracks to being manually Restored.

You will need to reselect those files for spanning, and span them to the same span location as you did the HD versions to get them where they should be with the other version.

Once that is complete, you can switch the default version back to High Definition for viewing, and if you ever choose to span them to a new location, or restore them, you will need switch versions again and do the same thing.

I know this is not ideal, but it is the best that I have found that can be done with the limitations that are imposed by what is listed in the iTunes XML library files and how it handles the two separate versions.


I know that I need to better consolidate all of these answers into new Help information. It's all on my to-do list, but as this is an independent project, there are many things to prioritize... balancing continued work on the app with customer support, other projects, as well as life... it can make it tough to find time to revamp my help information on my own.

So, at this moment, I'm sorry all of this wasn't easy to find information... as it should have been.



First, thanks! So often developers will "answer" a series of specific questions and gloss over two or three of them in the process. You run a quality program with great support.

Second, one more little question. Like most people I use mobile devices and use iTunes to manage my music on them. Will the interface be the same with the music spanned to the new location?

Thanks again!


Yep, syncing to your mobile devices through iTunes will be exactly the same after spanning.

Now, I am using iTunes Match instead of the normal sync, but before when I was syncing normally, the first sync after a span would sometimes take longer as iTunes had considered those spanned tracks "updated". So, it would re-sync all of the tracks that had been spanned. But it's been a while, I'm not sure if that behavior is still the same. Either way, the end result is the same and everything will still sync as you would expect.

Again, it may be good to start with spanning a smaller set of tracks, and then syncing your devices to make sure everything is working as expected and as it should. And then, moving on to do everything you want to span... just so that you know what to expect with no surprises and you can come back to ask me about anything that may come up.

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