How to transfer your iTunes library to a new computer

The best way to move your iTunes songs to another computer

Macbooks Migration Assistant

When you have a beloved iTunes music collection that you’ve carefully curated for years, you definitely don’t want to leave it behind, and you may not want to re-download everything one album at a time from your Apple Account, either. While iCloud can help with smaller transfers, it’s not really conducive to moving your entire iTunes library.

Fortunately, Apple has a tool specifically designed to move data from one computer to another, especially when you just got a new computer and are updating: It’s called Migration Assistant, and it’s your best option for a smooth iTunes transition. You don’t have to download an extra app, because Migration Assistant is included in MacOS natively. If you are transferring iTunes to a Mac, you can use it. Here’s how to begin:

Step 1: Consolidate your files

Update everything on both computers so they are running the latest version of the operating system and iTunes. Then make any data backups that you may need. Prepare your iTunes library by opening iTunes, selecting File, going to Library, and choosing Organize Library.

Here you will see an option to Consolidate files. Select it to give your iTunes library a quick clean up so everything is prepared.

Step 2: Start Migration Assistant

Migration Assistant Mac Transfer

Since the advent of MacOS Sierra, all you need is for both computers to be on the same wireless network for Migration Assistant to work. However, for a faster connection, you may want to use an Ethernet cable instead. Either way, make sure both are connected and ready to get to work.

Go to your new Mac computer and head to the Applications folder, which you can find in the Dock. Select Utilities, and then choose Migration Assistant. After confirming you want to start the process, Migration Assistant will ask if how you want to transfer information. You will want to make sure you have select From a Mac, Time Machine backup, or startup disk. Then choose Continue.

You can also use Migration Assistant to move iTunes files from a PC to a Mac (this doesn’t work with particularly old Windows computers, but as long as you have Windows 10 you should be fine). When Migration Assistant asks how you want to transfer information on your new Mac, make sure you choose the option that says From a Windows PC.

Step 3: Migrate on your old Mac

Migration Assistant Code

Now head over to your old Mac and open Migration Assistant there as well with the same process. However, at the Migration Assistant screen, choose “To another Mac” when asked how you want to transfer information. Then select continue.

Go back to your new Mac once again. Migration Assistant should next ask if you want to transfer information from a Mac, Time Machine backup, or a specific startup disk. Here you should select the Mac option, and choose continue. Apple may give you a security code to confirm on both computers at this point, so make sure the code appears correctly before you move on.

Step 4: Select your data to transfer

Migration Assistant Select Information to Transfer

Once you choose a specific source to migrate data from, the Assistant will ask you to Select the Information to Transfer. If this is a brand new computer, you’ll probably want to transfer almost everything, so selecting all options is a good idea. If you are on a used Mac and only want to transfer iTunes, click on your user profile and select your Music folder to get started. When you’re ready to begin, select continue. The transfer process may take a while, especially if you are moving a lot of data, so stay patient!

When finished, log into your new Mac and check to make sure all your iTunes content is there. You will probably have to authorize the computer to use your iTunes content before you can play it.

Alternatively, use an external hard drive

Don’t feel like messing around with the Migration Assistant? You could always hook up an external hard drive and transfer your music files manually from one computer to another. If you are moving files between a Mac and a PC, you should also make sure that the drive is partitioned correctly for your needs.

This option may take a little longer and requires enough space on an external hard drive. However, it may be your best choice if you are gathering music files from a diverse number of places and even formats, and moving as many as you can to one iTunes account.

This is also one of the best options if you are transferring from PC to PC or from Mac to PC, where Migration Assistant can’t help you out.

Emerging Tech

Motion-sensing shrubs and robo-Venus flytraps: Inside the world of Cyborg Botany

From motion-sensing plants to a Venus Flytrap you control using a computer, Harpreet Sareen is the brains behind a weird field called Cyborg Botany. Here's why he believes it matters.

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans to enjoy.

Keep your gadgets fully powered with the best Micro USB cables

A lot of older gadgets and Android smartphones still rely on Micro USB cables to charge or transfer data. Check out our picks of the best Micro USB cables, whether you want something reliable, tough, feature-packed, or simple.
Home Theater

Plex is free and easy, and you'll wonder how you survived without it

If you want a Netflix-like experience for the media you already own, you need Plex. It's the free media center software that automatically catalogs and plays your movies, music, photos, and more, on your TV. Here's how to use it.

These external drives have speed, durability, and storage space to spare

Whether you want an external storage drive that is fast, portable, or comes with a ton of storage, these are the best external hard drives available today. They all come with great features and competitive pricing.

The 2019 ThinkPad lineup is robust. Here's how to pick the right one for you

Be it the X series, the T series, E series, it can be tough to find the best Lenovo laptop that is right for you. To help, we'll break down all the options available to make your choice a more informed one.

Here’s how to watch AMD reveal its new Ryzen chips at Computex

AMD will hold a pre-Computex keynote May 27 to announce its new line of 3rd-generation Ryzen processors and accompanying Radeon Navi graphics cards. Here's how to watch the keynote live wherever you are in the world.

Should you buy a MacBook Pro or a Razer Blade Stealth? We'll help you decide

Laptop head to heads are a great way to see which one might be the right one for you. Our latest sees the Razer Blade Stealth (2019) vs. MacBook Pro in a fight to see which one deserves to be your next laptop.

AMD's latest Navi graphics cards are incoming. Here's what to expect

AMD's Navi graphics cards could be available as soon as July 2019 — as long as it's not delayed by stock problems. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles like Sony's PlayStation 5.

Ryzen 3000 chips will pack a punch, and could launch as early as July

AMD's upcoming Ryzen 3000 generation of CPUs could be the most powerful processors we've ever seen, with higher core counts, greater clock speeds, and competitive pricing. Here's what we know so far.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.

Microsoft might finally embrace USB-C on next-gen Surface Pro 7

USB-C could finally come to Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet. According to a Microsoft patent filing, the port was shown in an illustration, suggesting that the company is working to support this feature in the future.

Here’s how to watch the Nvidia Computex 2019 press conference

Here’s everything you need to know about Nvidia’s upcoming press conference at Computex 2019 in Taipei, Taiwan; including what to expect during the press conference and how and when to watch it.