You've got a new PC or Mac and wish to transfer your iTunes library to the new computer without losing songs, apps or any other kind of data?
Basically there are four ways to transfer your entire iTunes library from one computer to another:
* Use iTunes transfer software to move the entire iTunes library
* Transfer iTunes manually to a new PC
* Backup iTunes on CDs/DVDs to restore it on the new PC
* Use your iPod as temporary storage device to move iTunes
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Step 1: Using Software to Move the ITunes Library
By the end of 2010 a program called TuneSwift has been published. This software allows you to transfer the entire iTunes library including apps, music, videos, books, playlists, tags, iPhone backups and many more.
It is easy to use and enables you to backup, transfer and restore the iTunes library to a new PC or Mac. You can load the software from http://www.copytrans.net/copytranstuneswift.php .
To install the program just follow the on screen instructions. After the installation open TuneSwift.
You’ll now find three buttons/options:
1 Transfer 2 Backup and 3 Restore iTunes
1) To move your iTunes library to a new computer hit the “Transfer” button.
2) Now you can decide whether you want to copy iTunes to a PC or a Mac.
3) When you made your choice you’ll find a window to select the external hard drive or flash drive where you want to temporarily store the iTunes library. Give a name to the iTunes transfer archive and confirm.
4) Now click “Start Transfer”.
5) After the successful transfer of the iTunes library to the external hard drive, eject the drive and connect it to the new PC.
6) Install TuneSwift on the new PC and choose “Restore”.
7) Select the “Transfer File” from the external drive. Normally this file ends with “*.tsw” and hit the “Start Restore” button.
8) After the successful restore of your iTunes library, TuneSwift will notify you.
9) Close TuneSwift and open iTunes. You’ll find your complete iTunes library on your new computer.
Pro : TuneSwift is an easy to use app that transfers the entire iTunes library including the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch backups. It also allows you to keep backups of your library on external drives.
Contra : Mac users can only use the restore function of TuneSwift.
Step 2: Transferring ITunes Manually
If you transfer iTunes manually , you will soon recognize that everything needs to be organized in the iTunes predefined structure and consolidated, otherwise you risk losing data and a lot of time.
If you made sure that everything is stored in the iTunes folder and iTunes keeps your media folder organized automatically, you can try to transfer iTunes manually.
1) Go to “My Documents” > “My Music” and copy the entire “iTunes” folder to an external drive.
2) Connect the external drive to the new PC and copy the iTunes folder to the exact same location it was on the old PC.
Note: If there’s already an iTunes folder in this location, make sure it’s empty and replace it.
3) When opening iTunes on the new PC hold down the “Shift” key.
4) A window will appear asking you to choose an iTunes library. Now, click on “Choose Library”.
5) Go to the iTunes folder and select the file “iTunes Library.itl” and confirm with “Open”.
6) Now you should find your “old” iTunes library on your new PC. That’s it!
Note : This way you will lose the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch backups that have been made by iTunes. If you don’t copy the iTunes folder back to the exact same location, iTunes won’t be able to find the media files. You can try to correct this and change the “iTunes media folder location”. You’ll find the possibility to change the location in iTunes –“Edit“– “Preferences” – “Advanced”.
Pro : It’s free and all you need is an external hard drive.
Contra : You will lose the iPhone backups and run the risk of losing some media files or the connection from your iTunes library to the iTunes media files.
Step 3: Copying the ITunes Library on CD/DVD
This is the iTunes way on how to backup and transfer your iTunes library. It's easy to do, but you may need – depending on the size of your iTunes library – lots of CDs/DVDs to transfer your entire library.
1) Open iTunes.
2) Go to “File” – “Library” – “Backup to Disc”.
3) Choose “Backup entire Library and Playlists”.
4) Insert the DVD/CD and hit the “Backup Up” Button.
iTunes will start the backup and ask you from time to time to change the DVD/CD. The backup of my iTunes library (18 GB) took me about 5 DVDs and 2 hours to finish. iTunes asked me every 20 minutes to insert a new DVD and therefore I had to stay close to the computer. Nevertheless it worked out fine and I was able to restore my library on my new laptop.
Pro : It’s the iTunes version of transferring your library and seems to be complete.
Contra : You need to back up your library to DVDs/CDs. You may need a lot of DVDs and it takes a lot of time.
Step 4: Using IPod, IPhone or IPad to Transfer the ITunes Library
Copy your songs, playlists, apps etc. from iTunes to your iPod, iPhone or iPad and transfer them back to your new iTunes library using a 3rd party app. To transfer purchases like apps, books etc. you can use the “Transfer Purchases” function in iTunes.
1) Connect your iPod, iPhone or iPad to the old PC and sync your library contents to the device.
2) Install one of the 3rd party apps to copy iPod contents back to iTunes on your new PC. Some of them can be found here: http://en.kioskea.net/faq/9463-comparison-of-ipod-iphone-ipad-backup-software .
3) Run the software and connect your iPod to the PC. Transfer your music, videos, playlists, etc. back to iTunes.
3) To recover your apps open iTunes on your new PC and connect your iDevice to it.
Note: make sure that iTunes won’t sync your iPod automatically – you risk wiping the iPod contents!
4) Connect with your iTunes Store Account.
5) Click on the iPod/iPhone (using the right mouse button) and choose “Transfer Purchases”.
6) Now iTunes will sync all your iTunes Store purchases back to the new library.
7) Most of your media can be transferred this way and iPod/iPhone transfer software is normally low priced (about $ 19).
Pro : Most of these apps are easy to use and low priced.
Contra : You will, depending on the software, loose some media files and certainly some tag information as well as the iPhone backup files.