I'm getting a new laptop and I want to move my iTunes library from the old to the new computer. How can I do this? Of course I want to preserve as much information as possible: metadata such as ratings and play counts, cover art, my purchased content from Apple.

I also own an iPhone which I used to sync with the old computer and now I want to sync with the new one, preserving my apps, contacts, purchased content, etc.

What would be the best way to do this? Is just moving the whole “iTunes” folder from one computer to the other an option?

4 Answers 4


Yes, simply coping your entirely iTunes folder to an other computer will do the trick. This assumes all of your media is consolidated within the iTunes Media and iTunes Music folders. iTunes will assist in copying music to the folder and organizing a library if you would like to ensure all the media is portable when it comes time to transfer.

Do not forget to reauthorize the old computer if you are not going to use it regularly in case it crashes and one of your 5 slots is taken up. You can reset things after a lost computer, but it is somewhat time restricted to prevent abuse of that feature.

  • 1
    Even for my purchased content? Do I have to reauthorize the new computer? Aug 25, 2010 at 11:38
  • 1
    You'll probably have to reauthorize the computer and (if I remember correctly) you can only have up to 5 authorized computers at one time.
    – Dante
    Sep 12, 2011 at 8:34
  • This assumes that you are transferring from a Mac to a Mac with the same version of iTunes (since the .itl file is specific to an iTunes version and OS). Sep 19, 2013 at 16:27

If they both have Firewire you can simply use the Migration Utility.


Yes, moving the whole iTunes folder will work fine, as long as the music is in the same location or a subfolder (that's the default). You can even move from Mac to PC and vice versa. However, I would suggest copying first; just in case anything goes wrong. :-)

If the iTunes Media folder and the Library files are in different locations, it can get more complicated. It's still possible, but if this is the case and you have the disk space, it's easiest to “Consolidate” the library into the folder that contains the iTunes Library file before you make the move.

  1. If you are a Windows user and don't want to go through all of this hacking, you can buy iTunes Transfer software at my partner site. It will help you back up your library – with playlists – and transfer it to your other computer.

  2. If you're trying to transfer music from your iPod to your computer, unfortunately, Apple won't let you do this freely, but you can buy iPod to Computer software for PC (free trial download), or iPod to Computer software for Mac at my partner site that will allow you to do this.

  3. If you just have the hard drive of your old PC, Ben has shared with us how to make the transfer

  4. If you aren't keen on messing with XML files – and play count isn’t important to you - Oden has a simple process, involving smart playlists, for retaining song ratings when you transfer your iTunes library.

  5. Collin has a simple way to find out those duplicate songs that you may end up with when transferring your catalog.

  6. Aaron devised a clever way to transfer while retaining playlists in your collection.

  7. If you are transferring between Macs, pbaron has a method involving FireWire mode.

Source for above.

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