I imported my private MP3 collection (basically ripped from the CDs I bought years back) on my Mac into iTunes some years back. On my "Music" directory, I basically see my folder private, where I put my MP3 files with 15 GB, and iTunes, also with 15 GB. I guess that is where iTunes stored all the data after import.

I use the Music app1.0.6.10 on macOS Catalina 10.15.6 now instead of iTunes.

I am about to replace that old Mac book with a new one. My plan is to copy that private folder onto the new machine, and import again but I worry it won't that like "double" all the existing entries.

I saw this very old question, but I am rather looking for a more basic explanation about "option space", and best practices.

How do I get the same MP3s into Apple Music these days?

  • What version of macOS and Music/iTunes do you have on the source? If you could edit that in the question, we surely can show how to consolidate everything to one folder for each copy to an external drive or another Mac.
    – bmike
    Aug 2, 2020 at 17:25
  • OK - I've edited some details - hopefully the answer helps. My only uncertainty is if you have all the MP3 in the old library and they all play without error. If so, consolidating the library should make it self contained.
    – bmike
    Aug 3, 2020 at 12:25

1 Answer 1


By default, iTunes/Music copies audio files to /Music/iTunes. If you've got 15 GB of music in two locations, then you've probably got them duplicated already.

When you get a new Mac, you can use Migration Assistant to copy all your files and settings, and the process will be handled automatically for you.

If you don't want to use Migration Assistant, you can just copy the 'iTunes' folder inside /Music. The new app will update its Library database will all your data.

  • A coworker did use that tool ... as a result, the "company managed" identification information got completely messed up, and he ended up re-installing his new mac from scratch again, and doing a manual "migration". Probably he just got something wrong, but that well: not going to take that risk.
    – GhostCat
    Aug 2, 2020 at 13:43
  • 1
    If you're using a Mac that's got MDM device management on it, then you wouldn't use Migration Assistant: you'd use the management tools to set it up. Millions of people use Migration Assistant without issue. At worst, you can just wipe the disk and do it again. You can manually copy the entire iTunes folder over: as it has the library database and the music, it will load perfectly, with the newer version of the app updating the database file as necessary.
    – benwiggy
    Aug 2, 2020 at 14:17
  • Copying the itunes folder ... sounds good. Going to try that tomorrow! And well, our MDM layer sets up our apps and stuff. And then they suggest you manually migrate data ;-) ... that is what I have been doing for the last 2 days. Thus I am not eager to "wipe the disk and do that again" ;-)
    – GhostCat
    Aug 2, 2020 at 14:18
  • 1
    You can configure Migration Assistant just to migrate the user account, and not touch system settings or apps.
    – benwiggy
    Aug 2, 2020 at 14:49

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