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How to Use iTunes on an External Hard Drive

A large iTunes music collection can require a lot of storage space. While upgrading your current hard drive to a larger one seems like a great solution, many users prefer to buy an external hard drive that brings additional advantages. It’s the superior option if you’re concerned about portability. You can grab your entire music library in your travels more comfortably so it makes more sense in many situations to rely on an external hard drive than on an internal unit.

Using iTunes on your newly bought external hard drive to solve storage space limitations can feel a little daunting but it’s not a difficult process. Here’s what you need to do:

1. After connecting the external hard drive to the computer, backup the iTunes library

The backup process is quite simple. Just find the iTunes folder and copy it to the hard drive. It may take some time depending on how much content you have to transfer. Authentication is often required when you’re doing backups.

2. Make iTunes use your new backed-up library

After the backup to the external hard drive is finished, you will need to restart iTunes to select the different location of your music library. Hold down the Option key for Mac systems or Shift if you’re using a Windows PC during iTunes launching. A window will pop up prompting you to either create or choose a library.

3. Select “Choose Library”

Find the folder (for Mac) or iTunes library.itl (for Windows) on the external hard drive that represents your newly created backup

iTunes will automatically use that folder by default from now on. It’s essentially linked to the external hard drive so you can enjoy your music library just as if you were using your main computer drive. Keep in mind that you should have the external drive connected when you want to sync other devices with iTunes such as iPhones. If you frequently keep the external drive unattached, it’s recommended to disable the auto-sync feature in iTunes.

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