Transferring Your iTunes Library from PC to Mac

Oct 2, 2010 | Apple, Windows

If you have a lot of songs like I do, making sure your iTunes library looks exactly as it did on my previous computer was my primary focus after moving the rest of my important files.  The process of migrating your iTunes library was not nearly as difficult as I initially anticipated, as long as you have all of your music organized within a single iTunes music folder on your hard drive.  Here is how it’s done:

  • First, it usually a good idea to begin with letting iTunes organize your files on your hard drive.  When this is enabled, iTunes will automatically create the folder structure to store your files based on the track details such as artist name, album name, etc.  To enable this option, go into Edit > Preferences > Advanced Tab and check “Keep iTunes Media folder organized”, along with “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library”.  Take note of your iTunes Media folder location.
  • Many people use iTunes to play all their music, but the actual files are scattered between multiple folders, or even multiple hard drives.  In order to transfer your music in one shot, you will want to gather all of your files into the aforementioned iTunes Media folder.  To do this, click File > Library > Organize Library and check “Consolidate files”.  This will copy all music to that folder if it doesn’t already reside there.
  • Export your iTunes library by going to File > Library > Export Library and choose where to save the file.  This creates an XML file that contains all your iTunes song data.
  • Follow the steps in the first set of instructions to transfer your music files from your PC to your Mac iTunes library folder.  The location of this directory on your Mac is usually: /Users/homefoldername/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music.  You will also want to transfer the XML iTunes library file that you just created.  This doesn’t have to be in any specific location.
  • Open up the XML iTunes library file with your favorite editor (TextEdit should work just fine).  If you browse through it you will notice song details, including the file path for each song.  Because this file was created on your PC, the file locations will be Windows-based.  As you may have guessed, we need to change this to the Mac-based directory structure before we can use it.  You will see that each directory listing starts as follows:file://localhost/C:/Users/username/Music/iTunes/iTunes%20MusicWhat we need to do is search and replace “C:/Users/username” with “Users/username” to implement the Mac directory structure.  Search and replace every instance of this.  Keep in mind that these example directory structures may be different depending on your operation system version or iTunes version, but the process is the same regardless.
  • Go to File > Library > Import Playlist, and open the library file that you just updated.  This should successfully import your music files to iTunes on your Mac.  Congratulations, you are good to go!