How To: Rebuild Your iTunes Library

Update: Since iTunes 12.2, iTunes no longer creates the iTunes Library.xml file, which I mention below, by default. It’s a good idea to tell iTunes to do this, so you can recover your library from that file if necessary. To do this, go to iTunes > Preferences > Advanced, and check Share iTunes Library XML with other applications.

Every now and then, an iTunes Library shows problems. You may have tracks or songs that disappear in the library, but that are still in your iTunes Media folder. Or playlists may change or disappear. Or there may be other, inexplicable problems.

One way to try and fix these issues is to rebuild your iTunes library. I’ve done it from time to time, and, once, it even fixed some issues creating Genius playlists.

It’s a simple process, but one that may take a while if you have a lot of content in your library. Here’s how you do it. (You may not need this page now, but bookmark it for when you do.)

1. Back up your iTunes Media folder. While rebuilding the library doesn’t affect your media files, it’s best to be safe.

2. Quit iTunes, and find your iTunes folder. If you’re on a Mac, it’ll be in the Music folder in your home folder (that’s the one with the house icon and your user name. On Windows, it can be in different locations according to the version of Windows you use:

  • Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\[your username]\My Documents\My Music\
  • Windows Vista: \Users\[your username]\Music\
  • Windows 7 or later: \Users\[your username]\My Music\

The two files you’ll be using are iTunes Library.itl (or, perhaps, just iTunes Library) and iTunes Library.xml.)

Itunes library

3. Make copies of all these files; again, just in case.

4. Move the iTunes Library.xml or iTunes Music Library.xml file to your Desktop or to another folder. You’ll be using this file to rebuild the library.

5. Delete the iTunes Library or iTunes Library.itl file by moving it to the Trash or Recycle Bin.

6. Launch iTunes, and choose File > Library > Import Playlist. Navigate to the iTunes Library.xml file you moved earlier, and click Choose (Mac) or Open (Windows).

iTunes will now examine the XML file, finding all your tracks and playlists, and add them to your library. This will create a new iTunes Library.itl file. If you have a lot of content in your iTunes library, this will take a while. The last time I did it with a library of about 70,000 tracks, it took well over an hour, so be patient.

If for any reason it doesn’t, you can always quit iTunes, delete the newly-created iTunes Library.itl file, and replace it with the one you backed up.

One thing you’ll notice is that all the view settings you applied have changed. You’ll have to go back and reset them the way you want for each playlist. (Choose View > Show View Options to tweak these settings.) But the new library should contain all your media, and all your playlists. Also, the Date Added for all your iTunes content will be the date on which you rebuild the library.


Learn how to get the most out of iTunes with my ebook, Take Control of iTunes 12:



Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

97 thoughts on “How To: Rebuild Your iTunes Library

  1. Hey Kirk, super timely article as the Genius Bar had to do a fresh reinstall of Yosemite on my Mac Mini media server – long story. So I’ll be doing just what you said above. A couple of question, though … I have a Time Machine backup of my Mac Mini but I don’t want to reinstall everything – just the iTunes files you mentioned above, because all of my tracks are on a separate hard drive

    Is there a way to get at those two files on the Time Machine .sparsebundle from a different Mac? I’d like to know I have them saved elsewhere before I begin. When I attempt to explore Time Machine from my other Mac, it only allows me to explore the sparsebundle for that Mac – not my Mac Mini sparsebundle.

    Thanks for any assistance you can offer & for posting this when you did.

  2. “Every now and then, an iTunes Library shows problems. You may have tracks or songs that disappear in the iTunes Media folder, but that are still in your library.”

    _This_ is the real problem. The discussion in https://discussions.apple.com/thread/1902641?start=555&tstart=0 shows that a lot of people are affected, that nobody has a clue, and that Apple does not even seem to take note. This is the real scandal: iTunes randomly deleting your files.

  3. I cancelled the rebuild, having left it alone while I returned to the second half of my work day. When I got home again, a dialog was present informing me of what I already knew: The is insufficient space on my boot drive for all my media. Of course, that’s why I moved the iTunes Media folder to an external drive. The kicker: The dialog advised that it would copy as many of the files as possible to my boot drive. That’s why I cancelled the process. I Trashed the two files it had created and replaced them with the old files I had backed-up. All is well. Is there an alternate process to rebuild those files with the iTunes Media folder on an external drive? (Mac OS X 10.10.2) TIA! :)

    • If your media is on an external drive, what you have to do is, after you watch iTunes, go to the Advanced preferences, and select your iTunes Media folder. Import the XML file after doing that.

  4. Hi Kirk, thanks for this article. I have a quick question: does rebuilding the iTunes library reset play counts and/or change which tracks are checked/ unchecked?

    • It retains play counts and last played dates, but changes the date added. As for checked tracks, I never looked at that. You can try it, keeping your old files, and if it doesn’t work, then quit iTunes and put the old files back.

      • Hmm … not too sure about “but changes the date added”. I just rebuilt my Library, after I read your helpful article, and thankfully the Date Added metadata remained the same. I use this field quite a bit for sorting.

        • Every time I’ve done it iTunes changes the Date Added to the date I rebuilt the library. If that didn’t happen to you, I’d be very curious to know what you did.

          • Well, I pretty much followed your instructions … or at least I thought I did, until I just now reread your instructions. And now I realize I did not completely follow your instructions.

            Here’s what I did instead:

            1. Because of my circumstances, I copied my critical files from my Time Machine Backup:

            iTunes Library.itl
            iTunes Music Library.xml
            iTunes Library Extras.itdb
            iTunes Library Genius.itdb

            2. Since my Mac Mini media server had to have a totally fresh install of Yosemite, I launched iTunes, and made sure iTunes was in a virgin state – no music, no nothing.

            3. I quit iTunes, went to the Music folder and dragged out the files above.

            4. (I think this is the critical difference between what you recommend and what ended up doing). I replaced each of the files above with the original files from my Time Machine backup.

            5. I made sure that the path name to my external USB music drive was ‘exactly’ the same – this is critical.

            6. I launched iTunes … and low and behold, everything was exactly how it had been prior to my Mac Mini’s operating system meltdown – including the precious Date Added metadata.

            I was one happy camper …

            In short, I did not do your item #6:

            “Launch iTunes, and choose File > Library > Import Playlist. Navigate to the iTunes Library.xml file you moved earlier, and click Choose (Mac) or Open (Windows)'”

            But simply replaced each of my critical iTunes files with my previous ones – making sure the path to my media was identical to what it had been prior to my system rebuild.

            Hope this helps.

  5. Right, that’s not the same. You simply restored the library from a backup, you didn’t rebuild it. Rebuilding is more a troubleshooting thing. And, you did the right thing for your specific problem.

      • As I explain in the article, rebuilding the library is for troubleshooting: when iTunes isn’t working correctly. In your case, you wanted to simply go back to an earlier snapshot of your library, and that’s what Time Machine backups are for.

    • Ok, that makes sense. Thanks. And thanks also for the article which got me setup to rebuild my iTunes media library – it’s scary seeing 10,000 tracks disappear!

  6. I got a new drive, so I have to reinstall it. I’ve been using this method for a while, but when doing these steps using iTunes 12, I find my Podcasts are get moved to Music.

  7. Well described. I somehow crashed my itl-file and had to rebuild with the xml. Worked fine, but I really like to have my “date added” like before. I have lots of playlists based on that date. Isn’t there an option to tell itunes to use the xml data or edit the itl file or anything else.

  8. Thank you so much! I could not get my iTunes Match to sync. I kept getting a 4010 error regarding Genius. After weeks of sifting through different community postings, I found yours today. It was the only one that worked!

  9. “4. Move the iTunes Library.xml *or* iTunes Music Library.xml file…” I have BOTH of these files. So which one do I move? (The “Music” one is not mentioned anywhere else.)

  10. My itunes folder is over 100 gigs. I want to rebuild the library. I have itunes match. Can I remove all the files (how?) then rebuild my library and then re-download all the music files? Thanks!

  11. Hi, I’m also curious to know if doing this will impact iTunes Match and involve needing to re-upload all my (unmatched) tracks – 15,000 and counting!

    I’d be grateful if you could let us know.

    • I don’t think it should be a problem. iTunes should be able to spot that the tracks in your library match what’s been uploaded. But, hey, with iTunes, you never know… :-)

  12. Thank you, Kirk! This helped enormously. For years I’ve had a problem free library that’s very large (22k items and counting). Since, they launched Apple Music, I have had big problems, resulting in a corrupt library. This was the fix after visiting many other threads. Thanks again.

  13. I followed the instructions (I think) and when I added the XML file back into iTunes, it added all my iPhone apps, books and movies and listed a lot of the tracks as separate albums. Not sure what I did wrong or how to correct this. The apps section of iTunes is empty. I can re-download them via the App store but still. What a mess. Any ideas?

    Thanks.

  14. Thanks for the article. After I complete this process, should I restore the XML file to its original location?

  15. Kirk, I tried this and it duplicated all my playlist and looks like all my songs. I did notice that iCloud was “running” in the background. Any ideas before I give it another whirl?

    • If you have iCloud Music Library active, then that will add everything to your library that’s in the cloud. I’m not sure that rebuilding a library with iCloud Music Library is a good idea. You’d need to delete everything from the library (after making a backup, of course), update iCloud Music Library, then rebuild the library.

  16. I tried this as well and all has worked except it rebuilds information only for the albums I have purchased via itunes and not the albums that I’ve ripped. Anyone know what went wrong?

  17. Thanks for this helpful, informative post! Took me a second to find the Import Playlist option as the menu bar is hidden by default (at least in 12.3.2). Worked like a charm. I also moved my music library at the same time, so ran a find/replace on the xml file to clarify locations. Really appreciated your post — took a lot of the guesswork out of it for me.

  18. Hey Kirk, I was hoping that rebuilding would help me. It did not. Do know if iTunes has a limit on video files? I have (on an external Drobo) 16.2 TB of music, movies and TV shows. That is 35,326 songs in music, 2,390 Movies and 19,568 in TV shows. I have been trying to add TV shows but a couple enter in (or appear to) and then iTunes locks up and locks up the Drobo. I need to shut down the Drobo an then restart it and then restart iTunes. I have re-installed iTunes and then re built it as you proposed but nothing works! Any ideas? Or is it just too much for iTunes??

    • I don’t think iTunes has a problem with that number of items. It’s not the size that iTunes cares about, so that’s not the issue. However, it could be either your network or the Drobo itself that’s choking.

      • Dear Kirk, Thought it might be my Drobo so I loaded 3TB outside the iTunes folder and was able to use and access it fine and iTunes worked that same way. The Drobo is connected via firewire 800 so I don’t understand how the network would do anything? Any other ideas?

        • Sorry, most people who have a Drobo or similar device access it over a network. FireWire 800 is pretty slow, still. I’d look for the problem being with the Drobo; have you tried Drobo forums or support?

  19. Kirk, I did the rebuild and it solved the problem of getting an endless “preparing to copy” msg whenever I tried to consolidate my iTunes to my library in an external drive (connected via USB 3). So that is good and thanks. However, a number of my saved podcasts have been moved to the Music section, and in the Podcast section there many many extra listings for the same podcast show on the left column – for example there are around 7 for the Best Soccer Show, 6 for On The Media and 40 (!!!) for TEDtalks where there had been only one each before i did the rebuild. And I can’t delete these “phantom” podcast listings, which seem to contain one episode each, although I can’t listen to them or trash them. what can I do? Im on a 2012 Macbook Pro Retina running El Capitan.

    • Well, you can change them back to podcasts. Select them, press Command-I, then on the Options tab, change the Media Kind to Podcast. That should fix things, though the feeds themselves might still be messed up.

      • Thanks, Kirk. Well, while not solving the problem, that does make things clearer. Apparently all the podcasts that got switched to Music were the ones that came from the empty phantom duplicate feeds. Choosing “podcast” media type as you suggested looks like it puts them back under those feeds. But I still have many many duplicate feeds instead of all the episodes from the same podcast under a single listing. And here is the crux – when the iTunes rebuild moved all these podcast files to music, it also left the emptied out feed subscriptions LOCKED on “off.” Apparently I can’t delete these feeds (or turn them on) when locked. Ive been scouring the internet but can’t find way to get rid of the little padlock icon. Others have reported this issue as well. Any suggestions?

        • I’ve never encountered this, nor heard of it. If you can, post a question in my forum (there’s a link in the sidebar at the left) with screenshots, showing exactly how the podcast feeds display. Maybe someone will have an idea.

  20. To be clearer, when I say “listing” I guess the actual term is podcast “feed.” I did find that I can delete the phantom episodes contained in each of these feeds by scrolling over and getting the little circle with three dots, but then it says “There are no episodes in this podcast feed” while the feed listing itself remains. Clicking “delete” on the three dots on the feed itself does nothing.

  21. Kirk – Have you checked to see if rebuilding the library helps address the iCloud Music Library issues with metadata corruption. If removing all the cruft from an old library improves the iCML experience?

  22. I moved my library to a new external drive. I made a clone of the original iTunes music we had on one external drive to another using Carbon Copy Cloner. I turned on iTunes and pointed it to the new drive. It updated the library and then it organized all of the files.
    When I tried to consolidate the files the first time it said preparing copy for over 35 hours before I hit stop.
    All of the songs have exclamation points. I tried the above suggestions and it starts iTunes as if it was brand new and there are no songs showing at all. I click on library add playlist click on the Library XML folder on the desktop and I get Error -50.
    Any suggestion on how to make iTunes see all the songs on the new drive? There are about 400K songs and 4TB worth of music. Having to tell iTunes where to find each and every song is not doable.
    Thanks!

    • It broke because you didn’t let it consolidate. So you need to start over. I assume you have a backup, right??? If it says that it’s going to take 35 hours, that’s just an early estimate; for 400K tracks it might take a few hours, but not as long as that. (I seem to recall the last time I did it on my 70K-track library it was at least 30-45 minutes).

      • It did not give us an estimate of how long it was going to take to consolidate. After 35 hours of preparing copy we hit stop.
        We have back-ups of everything and will try again this morning.

        • Oh, the way you said it, I understood that it gave an estimate of over 35 hours. That is a long time; however, it may take a long time for that many files.

  23. The reason I need to rebuild my library is because iTunes keeps cutting off the ends of newly imported songs (I have confirmed the songs are fine, it is iTunes that is the issue since they play fine in iOS). My biggest worry is that after the rebuild I will lose all of my metadata (stars, play count etc) I have been building this metadata for over 10+ years and I don’t want to lose it. Can anyone confirm that with this rebuild I won’t lose that metadata?

    • You won’t lose anything. But it’s not a library issue that’s cutting off tracks. Does this happen to all newly imported tracks?

      • Thanks Kirk, no it doesn’t. I have a couple of albums I got from another download services and they are 320 mp3 and with like 3 of the albums almost all of the songs get cut off with about 60 sec left. I can actually see the playhead skip to the end and then it ends abruptly. What is interesting is that if I skip to halfway through the song the song ends like it should in iTunes, so it seems to only happen when they are played from the beginning.

        I checked the songs in QT and they play fine from beginning to end.

        They also play without issue on my iPhone.

        I have read that this is a random problem that can happen, and everything I have read says to do a rebuild and it should fix the issue. But if you have another suggestion I am all ears. This happened to me last year with an album and the only fix I had was to just buy the same album again in iTunes which was frustrating.

        Also for the record I have deleted, and imported from the file menu instead of dragging and dropping on the iTunes icon and it doesn’t fix anything. Also the start and stop times in options are not checked.

  24. Any suggestions for what to do when it’s the XML file that’s corrupt? Mine includes references to files that don’t exist.

    • It still might be better than the .itl file. You might be able to remove those files in iTunes (assuming you can’t now).

  25. I’m currently on iTunes 12.4. Could I rebuild my iTunes library in a lower version of iTunes, say 12.1, without losing all of my ratings, plays etc.?

  26. The problem I have is that I don’t have the .xml files. I am migrating to a new Windows machine (7 Pro) and copied my library to external drive then moved it to new PC. I have the .itl file but not the .xml files. And don’t know how to make a new one/find old one.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks!

    • Go to iTunes > Preferences > Advanced, and check Share iTunes XML with other applications. If that’s not checked, then it doesn’t create the XML file.

      Oh, sorry, Windows; I think it’s Tools > Options > Advanced…

      • So late last night I got the XML file back, but I still can’t get my media files to show up in iTunes. iTunes wouldn’t let me point to the regular path, so I had to rename my “My Music” folder to “Music”. Even with the XML and .itl library files where I have iTunes pointing, nothing populates.

  27. Hello Kirk! Thanks so much for your article. My issue is that my itunes itl file is from 2008 and I receive this message The file “iTunes Library.itl” cannot be imported because it does not appear to be a valid exported file”. When I open itunes, my music is missing. Can you help?

    • It’s certainly not the .itl file you’re currently using. That file gets updated every time you play something. You need to find the current library file. Search for other .itl files on your computer.

  28. I also have no .xml file. (Running El Capitan, iTunes 12.5) Went to Advanced preferences and checked “Share iTunes XML with other applications” and restarted. Sure enough, there’s a .xml file now . . . but it’s a DreamWeaver file! Tried it twice and it keeps coming up that way. A glance at the contents appears to show coding for iTunes songs, but I have no way of knowing if it’s complete.

    Should I try your procedure, moving the DW file to the desktop?

    • It’s not a Dreamweaver file; it’s just that it shows a Dreamweaver icon, because you have that app installed, and it’s seeing an XML file as part of a web project. Follow the instructions regardless of the file’s icon.

  29. Also, iTunes now displays only those songs & albums purchased from the iTunes Store. I know my uploaded CD files are still in the system, because I can call up titles I know. But how do I get them back into my iTunes window?

  30. Thanks for the help. All the songs are back. No playlists, unfortunately, but I can gradually rebuild those.

  31. Hi, I followed the instructions for getting rid of shuffle in iTunes 12.5, but after I imported the new xml/itl file, my playlists doubled-up (2 of every playlist). I followed the instructions to the letter, what went wrong? I really want to get rid of this shuffle business1

  32. I am running itunes 12.1.1.21 on a Macbook with Mavericks OS.
    I want to load some new music from Itunes Store but I can’t for the life of me find how I can Add a Playlist!!!!! Its not down the bottom like it used to be.
    Anyone help out?

  33. After doing this rebuild with iTunes 12.4.0.119, the star ratings for thousands of tracks are gray and can’t be changed.
    Only about a hundred tracks out of nearly 20,000 have black stars.
    This is unacceptable and there’s no way I’m going to lose years of ratings.
    I’ll now have to replace the old file and find another way to squash the bug in my library.

    That file BTW, is now just named “iTunes Library” with no extension, not “iTunes Library.itl” as shown above.

    All the podcasts were restored in the Music tab, not in Podcasts. I had to select them and change “Options>media kind” back to Podcast.

  34. We’re in the process of switching from a Thunderbolt external drive to a USB external drive (Thunderbolt keeps disconnecting from laptop…are all Thunderbolt cables junk or have we just been unlucky?).

    The directory for the iTunes is probably messed up because of constant ejections of the Thunderbolt drive. The boxes are clicked to keep a copy of files in the Media Folder, but when I move the iTunes folder to the new drive and open iTunes (pointing it to the new location) all of the songs are exclamation points. The library will not consolidate down.

    We are now trying the method above. The first time I started this it worked perfectly, except I forgot to tell iTunes to put the new library on the external drive. After about 35,000 songs it ran out of room on the laptop. I cancelled the process, deleted the new files, quit iTunes and started over. This time I pointed it to the external drive.

    It has been saying “Importing Playlist” for about 2 hours, but there is no change that I can see happening. Should I trust it is doing something in the background or cancel again and restart? There is about 5TB of music, so I don’t expect this to happen quickly. The first time it at least showed a progress bar.

    • 5 TB of music is going to take a very long time. Is this USB 2 or USB 3? The former could take more than 24 hours; the latter, maybe 6- 10 hours.

  35. It is USB 3.0. iTunes said an unknown error occurred (~50) and stopped importing after 1TB. We quit and tried again same thing almost instantly. Any suggestions?

    We could try doing all of this with a rebuild on the Thunderbolt drive and not move the laptop if that will make the import faster and better. We would prefer to use the Thunderbolt drive, but the cables all seem to be incredibly sensitive and only work for a few days. We’re not being rough with them, just moving a laptop from table to lap and back.

    • Hmm, that’s odd. iTunes may have problems reading the disk. Maybe you should run a disk check with Disk Utility.

  36. Hi Kirk; is this procedure still current? I tried it and now iTunes is not showing much album art, no Apps, no Tones, no Audiobooks. I have all that content in folders of those names in the iTunes folder.
    Is there a nuclear option? ie take everything out of the Music > iTunes folder, relaunch iTunes, then drag each folder back in?
    I’m only trying this since I’ve purchased albums in iTunes last few days and they did not properly download, were indicated as corrupt, yet still showed up in iTunes despite right-click delete from Library as well as dragging the music’s folder in Finder to the trash and emptying, quitting app, rebooting mac etc. That and other long term general wonkiness with books also.
    Would not mind a fresh new start.
    Many Thanks, dave

    • Sounds like you do need the nuclear option. Delete everything from iTunes, but don’t move the files to the trash. (And perhaps make a backup of your iTunes Media folder first.) Then drag the iTunes Media folder onto iTunes, and it will load everything. You’ll lose metadata such as play counts and ratings, and you’ll lose your playlists though.

  37. Thanks for the quick reply Kirk; is there any way to preserve and reinstall the playlists? I’ve developed them over many years since first using iTunes when it came out, some have sentimental value, others I wouldn’t be able to recreate from memory…
    Counts and ratings are no big deal for me.

    • The XML file contains that stuff. Maybe try again.

      If it’s only certain types of media that aren’t showing, you can drag their folders onto iTunes to add them.

      • Hi Kirk; Ok, so I went ahead and made backup copies first, then removed all the content folders from the iTunes folder. Updated iTunes. launched and told it to import the .xml playlist file, then added content folders back into the iTunes folder.
        Moved Books folder out, found the iBooks books folder, deleted its contents, opened iBooks and imported all the Books folder contents, and now both iTunes and iBooks seem to better represent my content.
        The only glitch I’ve seen now is that iTunes Music, in Albums view, includes my Podcasts.
        So I’m starting to delete those from the Albums view.
        Might find other glitches going forward, and am still to worried this has actually worked until I reboot, then I may try syncing iPhone and iPad and resuming normal ops.
        Filed an inquiry with Apple about problems with an album download, for the second time. First time they did not respond within 48h as promised.
        Anyway, that’s the update, thanks for the help, content seems to be there and the playlists so far so good!

        • Hey Kirk; another follow up. iTunes is really getting wacky. ‘Recently Played’ smartlist was not showing recently played items. iPhone says it is not syncing Music, yet Audio is the largest chunk of storage use. There are unremovable videos, music I don’t recall adding, that is not music I’m interested in, etc. Really lots more goofed up things.
          What I’d like to do is preserve the playlists and recreate them after nuking the library.
          What’s the easiest workflow for that? export individual playlists as xml, or text, then refer to that when creating them in the fresh iTunes? or export the whole library of playlists?
          It’s going to take hours and hours but I’m really frustrated with the mess and realize it needs to be done, a bit each day…

          dave

  38. Hi Kirk;
    That last rebuild didn’t solve issues.
    Today I exported all the playlists I want to keep and took all the files out of Music > iTunes and deleted iTunes folder. Went into my account folder and deleted a bunch of iTunes related files. Tried to delete the iTunes app but got a warning that it’s required by MacOS.
    Launched iTunes again and it created a new iTunes folder and… decided I have 174 albums in my library. Although there are none in the iTunes folder and my Library and itl and xml files are moved to another folder and it should be looking at a brand new fresh and empty itunes folder.
    Wot the hey? I am really sick of this and would like to nuke/delete iTunes and all its associated files, re-download it and manually drag in all the content that I moved out a little while ago and then start bringing in the playlist xmls.
    I have the feeling that is the only way to get it to behave correctly again. Everything else I’ve tried still leaves iTunes with plenty of flaws. Enough that I don’t want to update any iOS apps, buy anything, or even sync my phones/ipad with it. (iCloud sync of those is out of the question).
    aiiieee!

    • Are the 174 albums in the library purchased from the iTunes Store? By default, iTunes shows all your purchases when you create a library.

  39. Many Thanks Kirk! Good thought… but, uh… hm…
    Account > Purchased doesn’t give a count… there is a long list on the left and only a few “Recent” albums. No apparent way to get a count of all. “Recent” Songs, scrolling to bottom, is 250.
    iTunes Library > Albums, View > Only Downloaded Music shows No items in Grid or List view.
    Switching to View > All Music and View as Grid shows the 174, consuming 7.62 GB in Status Bar.
    Switching to View as List shows 981 items in Status Bar.
    It’s possible they are all purchases but at least a dozen I don’t recall purchasing and wouldn’t initially have any interest in based on the artists. Some are full albums, some only a single track, although Albums is selected in the Library source section.
    Which all reminds me, what the hey is “downloaded” music? from where to where? When i connect my iDevices to sync, the music is… downloaded to the device from the Mac. Or do they mean downloaded from iTunes? if so why isn’t it called ‘purchased’ (even though some may have not cost anything).
    Anyway, bottom line is, if you think something is still fouled up or if it is safe to start dragging my music etc back into the iTunes folder?

    • Right. View > All Music is the music in the cloud. So that’s either purchased music, or music in an iCloud Music Library.

  40. PS–I just looked at the iTunes Media > Podcasts folder (the new one generated after moving everything out) and there is one episode of one podcast in there, but it doesn’t show in the Podcasts in iTunes itself. It is one of a few I subscribe to but… I removed everything from iTunes Media folder the other day. How did this one get there? if iTunes put it there why wouldn’t it show in iTunes itself?
    Arg arg arg. I just want to purge this thing.
    Maybe I need to go through this whole process again but first sign out of my account in itunes and disconnect from the internet…

  41. Can iTunes 12 build a consolidated Media Folder after the fact?
    Hello, this question is a little different than it sounds. I am current on iTunes 12.6, and have just moved all my Music & iTunes DB’s onto a Synology NAS drive. However when I did this I DID NOT check the advanced preferences: Keep Media folder organized, nor Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library. As a result, iTunes put nothing in the iTunes Media Folder location specified in Advanced preferences. But I did follow your advice and checked the box to share iTunes Library XML with other locations. I built the Synology version of iTunes using the iTunes Media Folder from my old computer as input via Add Folder to iTunes Library to an empty version of iTunes I created new on Synology.

    I just completed a fair amount of rationalization, finding missing songs and albums and letting iTunes know where the music & artwork for each album is located (same folder as the album music). So instead of having a complete set of organized and rationalized media within the iTunes Media folder I guess it’s all buried within an iTunes DB somewhere. I have about 500 artists and my old media folder is about 150gb, so not an easy or quick process to rebuild and rationalize everything a second time.

    Is there a way to have iTunes completely build a complete version of the iTunes media folder from scratch since it has all the information in its databases with a pointer to the physical location of every song, and each bit of artwork. For instance, if I now changed the advanced preferences and checked those boxes would iTunes only manage and copy music for any new music I added from this point forward or would/could it build the entire iTunes Media Folder ?

    Thank you! Fred

    • File > Library > Organize Library, then Consolidate Files should move the files to the correct location.

      However, if you’ve moved files after moving the folders onto the NAS, it might not find everything, and those files you moved may be orphaned.

      • Kirk, thank you for the quick reply & yes the good news is that all the files are in their original locations, none of the original files have been moved, or modified in any way so hopefully no orphans.

        Two points of clarification, please:
        1) Should I change the Advanced Preferences to select: ‘Keep Media Folder organized’ & ‘Copy files to Media Folder when adding’ prior to: File > Library > Organize Library, then Consolidate Files?
        2) After Consolidate Files is complete – the newly created Media Folder will then contain all data pointed to by the various iTunes Library data bases and Playlists. Meaning, I can then remove the original files used prior to consolidation (after validating the consolidate did indeed work correctly and completely – in case I need to do the consolidate a second or even third time)?

        Thanks again.

        • Yes, you should definitely set those options so iTunes moves your files to the correct folders. I don’t think you’d need to do it more than once, but do back everything up just in case something doesn’t get moved.

  42. Followed this How-To article and it appeared to work OK, except, I now have 2 of every Playlist in iTunes – both Custom Playlists and iTunes own automatic Playlists, e.g. Recently Added, Recently Played, My Top Rated, etc…! What’s happened there???

    • It sounds like you didn’t start with a completely empty library before we building. You can just delete all the duplicate playlists.

Leave a Comment