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I notice that iTunes 12 automatically writes metadata changes back to the file. Unfortunately, if you are using TimeMachine to backup your music library, this is a huge waste, since it means that every time a file is played (or any other metadata change is made) a new copy of the file is included in the next backup.

I understand that the file metadata is stored in ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library.itl. Even with nearly 10k songs, this file is less than 5MB. If a file is already in the iTunes library, I believe iTunes no longer considers the metadata in the file.

I remember in previous versions of iTunes, it did not automatically write metadata changes to the file, but this had to be triggered manually. Since I am not likely to migrate the files out of my iTunes library any time soon, but am more concerned with avoiding file churn, how do I stop this?

  • Time Machine does incremental backups, it shouldn't be much of a problems if all it changed was the metadata. Check this question: superuser.com/questions/33503/… – Jaime Santa Cruz Sep 7 '16 at 2:59
  • @JaimeSantaCruz No. Incremental means that when a file's contents change, a copy of the new file is saved. The ID3 metadata is saved in the audio file. Audio file metadata and filesystem metadata are not the same thing. – stands2reason Sep 22 '16 at 14:11
  • "An incremental backup is one that provides a backup of files that have changed or are new since the last backup; it is one that backs up only the data that have changed since the last backup — be it a full or incremental backup." Wikipedia – Jaime Santa Cruz Sep 22 '16 at 14:26

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