I have been trying to Move my music library from a 2020 iMac running Sonoma to a 2015 MB Pro running Catalina. I looked online and found these instructions for doing so but when I followed the last step, i.e., launching the Music.app on the MB Pro while holding down the Option key and navigating to the consolidated library I moved to that MB Pro, the moved library is not recognized.

Can anyone offer any suggestions as to what I might be doing wrong? Here are the instructions I found.

Yes, you can move your music library from a Mac running Sonoma to a Mac running Catalina. Here are the general steps to do so:

Consolidate Your Music Files: In the Music app on your Mac, choose File > Library > Organize Library, then select Consolidate files. This will ensure that all your music files are in one location 2 4.

Copy the iTunes/Music Folder: The iTunes/Music folder contains all your music files. You can find it in the Music folder of your user account. Copy this folder to an external drive or the new Mac 5.

Transfer to the New Mac: Once you have copied the iTunes/Music folder to the new Mac, place it in the Music folder of the new user account. Open the Music app, and it should recognize the library.

1 Moving music library to Catalina
2 Change where your music files are stored on Mac
3 Moving library between computers in Apple Music
4 How To Back Up Your Music Library In macOS Catalina
5 How can I copy Music library from one Mac to another

  • If this helps at all, here is the path from one of my Songs. /Users/rgirou/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music/Perlman, Zukerman, Mehta/Mozart - Sinfonia Concertante K.364, Concertone K 190
    – Penny11
    Dec 26, 2023 at 22:09
  • 2
    You can't go backwards in versions. If the library is coming from Sonoma, Music in Catalina isn't going to open it. Dec 26, 2023 at 22:46
  • Well, damn! I was hoping that would not be the case. If you can't move the whole library, is there a way to navigate to the folders in the Finder, copy those folders to a USB drive, then move them to the MBP running Catalina?
    – Penny11
    Dec 27, 2023 at 2:14
  • 1
    Sure, you music tracks are in a subfolder of ~/Music, accessible via Finder. Basically, the path in your first comment (without the Album part) should work.
    – nohillside
    Dec 27, 2023 at 12:56
  • It's gonna be a major PITA re-creating all my many playlists. Sigh. Thanks for weighing in!
    – Penny11
    Dec 28, 2023 at 1:55

1 Answer 1


Yes. You can.
This help was offered on the Apple Support Community:

  1. See Move your iTunes library to a new computer for general advice. Since you're downgrading from Sonoma to Catalina the .musiclibrary created by Sonoma cannot be opened by the older version of Music. You will need to export the library as an XML file (File > Library > Export Library) on the Sonoma iMac, then with a new empty library on the Catalina MB Pro use File > Library > Import Playlist to import the XML file. The paths in the XML must match the locations during import, which they should do if the data is on an external drive when the XML is created, and the drive is moved between the two systems. A copy of the folder to a new location is less likely to work. Date Added will be reset as part of this method of migration. If that matters a temporary subscription to Apple Music would be an alternative way to clone the library which may preserve it.

  2. I was able to open that Library.xml folder with TextEdit, and found the line to which the above advice pointed:

<key>Music Folder</key>  

I saw that my home folder on the MBP is /rfg, not /rgirou and so I made that change.

<key>Music Folder</key>  

After editing it, I launched Music and went to File > Library > Import Playlist, navigated to the edited Library.xml document, clicked on Open, and got [some of the songs in the file Library.xml were not imported because they could not be found]... but then when I opened Music on the MBP, the Playlists were there in the Music sidebar.

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