How to move your iTunes library to a NAS | TUAW

How to move your iTunes library to a NAS | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Given how many functions iTunes is actually used for these days (iOS syncing, app shopping, and book, music, and movie buying), it's easier than ever to forget what it was originally used for: listening to music. But of course that's still the software's main function, and if you want to move your entire library over to an NAS -- which stands for network-attached storage, or a hard drive that connects up to a local area network -- then this writeup from Ars Technica has you covered.

The easiest way to share an iTunes library in this way is simply to move the mp3 files (and then re-add them to whatever installation of iTunes you're using), but as Ars says, that will lose all of your collected metadata so far. If you want to actually keep all of your extra data, however, you'll need to actually move your folder location in iTunes to your new NAS folder, and then tell iTunes to copy over all of your collected music and data.

Note that because of the differences between file systems (some may be case-sensitive and some not), just moving your iTunes files location may cause a few issues. And of course having a larger or more complicated library can be problematic as well -- if your library is due for a cleaning, it might be worth it just to say goodbye to the data so far and move on. But iTunes can be resilient if you do your homework before trying to make the move.

There are other ways to do this as well -- you could just share your library from one computer to another with the built-in library sharing feature on your Mac. Or you could move a hard drive around (which might be handy if you need the library in a few different networks, like home and work), keeping your entire library on there. There are plenty of cloud options as well, which will only become more and more easy to use as time goes on.

iTunes may be used for all sorts of other operations these days, but it's still a very robust and powerful music listening and organization app as well.


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Given how many functions iTunes is actually used for these days (iOS syncing, app shopping, and book, music, and movie buying), it's...
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@Brian Gray Not true. I have my iTunes Library on a NAS with no issues whatsoever and it is over 4TB (yes, terabytes). Your issues may have been the NAS (I use a BuffaloTech). Now, backing up this bad boy... That's a whole other story :)

Brian Gray

Brian Gray
@IainBrown @Brian Gray How much of your library do you sync to an iOS device? That is the main time in which iTunes runs into problems. The other problem is maintaining the library, like editing album art and changing meta data. I have not tested with other NAS devices, but my Synology is one of the fastest on the market. The problems were definitely related to iTunes on the Mac, because it works perfectly with a PC.

Brian Gray

Brian Gray
I have been running my iTunes library on a Synology NAS for many years, both with the Mac and PC version of iTunes. I would not recommend this for Mac users. The Mac version of iTunes becomes massively unstable with its media library on a NAS. It crashes so frequently that it can take a dozen or more attempts to sync a large media library. (I have 30GB library syncing to 32GB+ devices.) It is better with smaller devices syncing only a portion of my library, but not much. The PC version of iTunes is fine with the media library on a NAS. I am now forced to use a PC to host iTunes-- it is orders of magnitude faster and never crashes.