My iTunes library has disappeared and looking in the Music/iTunes folder, I see an 'iTunes Library (Damaged)' file. All of the music appears to still be there, so I am guessing it is just the database that is damaged. Is there a way to recover the library, like from the xml file? There is also a folder with Previous iTunes Libraries that are a couple months old. Can I just copy and rename one of those files?

  • what specific information do you want to recover ? playcounts and ratings ?
    – kraymer
    Aug 10, 2011 at 20:36
  • Yes... playlists, ratings, playcounts.
    – g .
    Aug 10, 2011 at 22:06
  • 1
    ok, once the recovery is done I suggest you to opt for a more robust way to store ratings, see tunecrux.com/resilient-id3-embedded-ratings (blog post of mine). For playcounts, Lastfm has the advantage to work with many music players.
    – kraymer
    Aug 11, 2011 at 8:20

2 Answers 2


Apple's documentation on recreating your iTunes library if it is corrupt:

iTunes: How to re-create your iTunes library and playlists

Last Modified: April 07, 2011

  • 1
    This mentions that the xml file doesn't contain all the data in the database. What information is missing? Would it be better to use one of the Previous iTunes Libraries even though it is a bit out of date?
    – g .
    Aug 10, 2011 at 22:04
  • I don't have specifics but I believe you might lose your custom playlists, for instance, and might need to manually recreate them. All the ID3 tags are stored in the individual sound files themselves, so those should be preserved. And I would also guess that after a rebuild you would need to log into the iTunes Store and run the menu command to look for album artwork and download some of the artwork all over again.
    – user9290
    Aug 10, 2011 at 22:17
  • Unfortunately this link is now dead.
    – David
    Jun 27, 2020 at 11:39
  • Here's the archive of this link, for posterity: web.archive.org/web/20141024180525/http://support.apple.com/kb/…
    – Ivan X
    Mar 22, 2021 at 14:07

I just copied one of the backup files from the 'Previous iTunes Libraries' folders and renamed it to iTunes Library which was quick and easy. I imagine the effectiveness of this solution depends on how old these files are as they are meant to be a backup for upgrading iTunes rather than a timely backup. It worked well for me though and I didn't have to re-create playlists or download album artwork.

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