Part 1. The reasons why we back up the iTunes Library to an external drive
To back up the iTunes Library to an external drive can bring us a lot of benefits. The most important one is that it is wise to have a backup file covering all the necessary data on somewhere separated from the computer, in case something unexpected happens to it. Another, to have a backup file on the external drive can also do some help when you lose the media files by accident, especially when it comes to some hard-won audio files, videos or playlists. Once you lose these kinds of data files, you will find it hard to get back unless with a backup file.
Part 2. The traditional way to back up the iTunes Library to an external drive
After learning how important the backup on the external drive is, you may now wonder how to create a suitable backup file. Just read on to find the requirement:
1. Make sure that all the media files that you want to backup stored on the same folder.
No matter your computer is a Windows one or a Mac one, you can refer to the following steps to consolidate the media files together.
Step 1. Launch the iTunes on your computer and then go to the “Preference” option on the Mac, or go to the “Edit” option first and then go to the “Preference” option.
Step 2. On the window of the “Preference“, click on the “Advanced” button on the top toolbar.
Step 3. Choose the option of “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library” after the Step 2.
Step 4. Click on the “OK” button to confirm the operation.
Step 5. Now you just need to choose all the iTunes files and the iTunes Library and then tap on the “Organize Library” option.
Step 6. A window will pop up. You need to read the message on the window and then check the checkbox of “Consolidate files“. Finally, click on “OK” to start the process.
Step 7. And then, all the iTunes files will be copied in the Media folder automatically.
Step 8. This is an optional step. It is advisable that you delete all the original iTunes files after you confirm all of them have been copied to the Media folder.
2. Carefully back up the iTunes files on the external drive.
As the external is portable and it is separated from the computer, the data files stored on it can be handy as well as safe. Let’s take a look at how to do it. I will do it on the Mac computer as a reference because the operations on the Windows computer is almost the same as that on the Mac.
Step 1. Power on your computer and connect the external drive to your computer.
Step 2. Go to the external drive.
Step 3. On another window, locate the Media folder on which you have consolidated all the iTunes. If you cannot find it, you can turn to the iTunes for help. Go to the “Advanced Preferences” window, and you can see the location of the folder under the input box of “iTunes Media folder location“.
Step 4. Then drag and draw the Media folder to your external drive. And then the folder together with all the iTunes files will be automatically copied and stored on the external drive.
Part 3. The traditional way to restore the backup from the external drive
Still on the Mac computer:
Step 1. Close the iTunes on your computer.
Step 2. Locate the external drive on your computer.
Step 3. Drag and draw the backup file back to your computer from your external drive. Just choose a location that is easy to be remembered and find.
Step 4. Press the “Option” key on the keyboard for a few minutes, and meanwhile, open the iTunes.
Step 5. On the pop-up box, click on the “Choose Library” button. From the list, choose the folder that you have just moved back to your Mac. And then, click “Choose“.
Step 6. Then, all the media files contained by the folder will be listed on the window. And the iTunes will open to restore the files.
Now on the Windows, it is almost the same as that on the Mac. But you need to press the “Shift” key instead of the “Option” key on the keyboard.
Part 4. A simpler way to back up the iTunes Music Library to an external drive
As you can see, the traditional way is to do the backup step by step by manual. So you may wonder if there is a simpler way to reach the goal. Well, you can use a third-party tool to help you do the job. And here, you can use the iMusic, which is popular in the world nowadays. The tutorial is also followed:
Step 1. Download and install the iMusic on your computer. You can have the version for the Windows on your Windows computer, and have the version for the Mac on your Mac computer. And then launch the iMusic after installation.
Step 2. Connect the external drive to your computer.
Step 3. On the primary window, you will see the files in the iTunes Library. You can then choose anyone that you want to back up by checking.
Step 4. When you finishing checking, move your mouse to the toolbar, where you can find the button of “Export“. Click on it and choose the option of “Export to My Computer” or “Export to Mac” on the drop-down.
Step 5. On the pop-up window, choose the external drive that you connect to your computer. And then confirm to back up. Go to the new window of your external drive to save your files.
Step 6. After a short time, check the backup files on the external drive to make sure all the media files wanted have been backed up. Then disconnect the external drive and quit the iMusic.