I have an iTunes Library.itl that was used with iTunes Through the sorcery that is Retroactive, I now have iTunes 11.4 once again on my Catalina-based computer. However, none of the Playlists or other data survived because my .itl is newer. (On first run, it noted I had a newer file and asked if I wanted to download iTunes.) Does anyone know of a way that I can allow the iTunes 11.4 to use the data from the later file? (The real question is why iTunes stores this particular data in a closed format, but...Apple.)

1 Answer 1


This is a bit of an experiment I can't really test, so make sure you keep safety copies of everything.

Prior to iTunes 12.3, you could rebuild an .itl file from the associated xml, by just breaking it - this would force a rebuild.

In Terminal, type touch ~/Desktop/iTunes\ Library.itl
This will create an empty file on the desktop with the correct name.

With iTunes quit, move it to your ~/Music/iTunes folder, replacing the original & launch iTunes. It should notice the file is broken & rebuild it.

Using a similar method in the past this would sometimes lose some album artwork & I can't remember whether playlists & play counts carry over this way, but the basic library should be good to go.

  • 1
    THIS. WORKED. I haven't dug in to make sure everything's available, but Playlists I haven't seen for years (like my mother's visitation and my wedding) reformed, it culled through the Album Artwork and it's currently determining the gapless information. I should note - I was able to restore the iTunes folder from my Time Machine, so everything was just as I left it last, which may have helped with the rebuild. Took about 1/2 hour, but I have 180+GB of music. THANK YOU!
    – lonadar
    Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 23:28
  • 1
    I should add - after reviewing further - much of the information has been restored. Album Artwork is only showing up for some discs (and there were discs I had assigned custom artwork), but it appears playlists (auto and manual), play counts, even my personal ratings, all are intact.
    – lonadar
    Commented Dec 17, 2023 at 4:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .