If you recently bought a new computer, you may have faced the issue of moving your data from your old computer to your new one. In most cases, it’s pretty easy, simply put your documents (ie. photos, videos, folders, etc…) on an external hard drive and move it to the new computer.

However, it’s a bit more tricky if you want to move your iTunes music library while preserving your ratings, play counts, and playlists. Fortunately, Apple made it pretty easy for us to copy our iTunes library to a new computer.

This article will show you how to move your iTunes music library to a new computer in just a few simple steps. It’s simple, but it does take some time though. Kudos go to Simon for this trick.

This method will work with every item you can get from iTunes. You will be able to backup the following files:

  • Applications
  • Music and Podcasts
  • Movies, Videos and TV Shows
  • Ringtones

In order to copy the iTunes library to a new computer we will use iTunes’ backup feature.

Step 1: In iTunes, go to File > Library > Backup to Disc.

Step 2: Choose Back up entire iTunes library and playlists.

Step 3: Insert a DVD or CD and start the backup process. Depending on the size of your library, this process could take hours, maybe days… If your DVD or CD is not enough to backup all the data, iTunes will offer you the option to backup to several discs.

Step 4: Once the backup process is over, open iTunes on your new computer and insert the first disc.

Step 5: iTunes will be smart enough to recognize the backup and will ask you if you want to restore from this disc. Click restore and let the magic happen.

This works pretty well if you don’t have much data to backup. However, if you have tens of thousands of songs and movies like I do, this will take you days to just copy the data.

  • Puyan101

    But i dont want to waste alot of discs because i have alot of music too. Last time i got a new computer I simply copied across all my music, in the same folder structure, as well as the ‘iTunes Library.itl’ file in my iTunes music folder and it was all back to normal. Thats just for music, mind you.

  • Bill

    You finally acknowledged at very end that backing up using this copy to dvd method is absolutely impractical to most users who have thousands of songs, etc in iTunes. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS POST. IT IS NOT HELPFUL. IT FEELS LIKE PROPAGANDA. How about a real world solution for those of us who just bought new computers and are struggling through this?

  • pn2bade


    If you copy over the entire iTunes folder, you will get eveything back.

  • Fred

    @pn2blade: I was going to say the same, just copy the iTunes folder and that is it 🙂 much easier!!

  • jgr627

    How many DVD’s or CD’s do you think it will take to back my iTunes library if it’s about 200 gigs deep….thanks for the tip but it’s obvious this is for people that’s have about 5 to 6 albums in there library

  • Nasser

    thanks 🙂

    But will this process deletes the saved games (leves..etc) on my iPhone ?

    this is the only thing im hesitate about cus i got a problem im my itunes cant access to the store

    and they told me u have to delete everything related to apple on ur pc and restore it again

    put the story aside and dont forget my main question lol

  • Nasser

    good work simon lol

  • Its been on iTunes for a while, but Apple did make it easy and I am, aswell I’m sure as many others are happy about this.

  • The easiest way is to use a cloud music service like Psonar.

    The Psonar SongShifter will upload an entire iTunes library into the Cloud, from where you can download it to a new PC or any othre place you want your music (iPod, phone, mp3 player etc).

  • T-Mizzle

    Wow! I literally JUST bought a new laptop and was searching through the apple website to find out how to do this. I didn’t get an answer there, and just happened to be scrolling through my twitter account and voila! here’s the answer to my problem!
    You are too awesome! Thanks a million for posting this.
    I think apple should make iTunes where you can log into your account anywhere and the info is there… I wonder if that’s possible…

  • SuryanarYanareddy

    Very fine

  • Centongsakti

    to copy all your iTunes library to your external hard disc just follow this step
    To copy all the items in your iTunes library (including the iTunes Library file that holds all your playlists, playcounts, ratings, and other data) to your external hard drive, follow these steps:

    1. Quit iTunes.
    2. Locate your external hard drive.
    Mac: On the desktop or Finder sidebar.
    Windows: In My Computer
    3. Locate your iTunes folder:
    By default, the iTunes folder is located in:
    Mac OS X: /Users/username/Music
    Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\
    Windows Vista or Windows 7: \Users\username\My Music\
    4. Then copy iTunes Folder to your hard disc
    5. DONE!

  • luvgitar2

    What if your old computer crashed and thats wyh you had to get a new one? Am I just screwed? I cant access my iTunes on my old computer because of this and I have alot on my phone!!!!!!

    • Danielle

      I’m having the same issue! I don’t even have the old computer! Did you ever find out what to do?

  • Gloria

    I bought a dj software and I would like to import all of my itunes music into it. Does anyone know how I would go about doing this?

  • KT

    ok, my pc got a virus a couple of weeks ago and the tech guys talked me through backing my itunes up to the online library facility as the virus wouldn’t let me access itunes ordinarily. Now, how do i get it all back? I’ve done ‘file – library’ but thats not right as thats to import/export from external functions, so where is my library? Can anyone advise how i locate it online?