Best Guide: Top 2 Ways to Backup iTunes to External Hard Drive

How to backup iTunes to external hard drive? Learn the official method and an alternative method to backup iTunes library on this page.


By Penny / Updated on June 7, 2024

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Can you copy iTunes library to external hard drive?


My computer’s hard drive is overloaded, largely because of my huge iTunes library, which is scattered all over. Instead of paying for cloud storage, I would like to move all the multimedia files to an external drive so I can delete them from my PC. What’s the best to proceed?

Multimedia mirrors personal favorites and emotional needs. For example, to listen to Apple music offline, users usually download the purchased songs from the iTunes Store and save them in the iTunes library.


But the space on your hard drive where you store the purchases (music, movies, and TV shows) is running out. Therefore, many users are trying to relocate the iTunes library to the external hard drive. If you’re in this part, get targeted solutions below.

How to backup iTunes to external hard drive?

This part is going to introduce two efficient methods for you. The former solution is the official way provided by Apple, and the latter is closely connected to one of the best iPhone to PC transfer software.

Before relocating the iTunes library external hard drive, you need to find where the iTunes Media folder is. According to Apple, the iTunes library includes two iTunes library files and an iTunes Media folder. 

Thus, please go to C:\Users\Username\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media to check it. If you fail to see your iTunes Media folder, you can open iTunes, and click Edit > Preferences > Advanced. Then you’ll find the iTunes Media folder location.

Official Way: Backup and restore your iTunes library on your PC

Let’s begin with the official way. In short, the iTunes library is a database containing your music and other media that you’ve added to iTunes for Windows. Thus, the most effective safety precaution is to backup iTunes library. And this backup is also an irreplaceable item to restore your iTunes library on your PC.

Part 1. Backup iTunes library to external hard drive

You’re supposed to consolidate your iTunes library and download all the purchases in the same folder before you’re going to backup iTunes library. Perhaps these steps could give you a hand.

Step 1. Open iTunes, and click “Account” to log in to your Apple account.


Step 2. Click “Account” again and find your “Purchased”. Family Sharing also allows you to see your family member’s purchases.


Step 3. Select “Music”. Then find your desired songs and download them.


Step 4. Click “File” > “Library” > “Consolidate files”.


Step 5. Connect your external hard drive to your computer. Go to C:\Users\Username\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media to find your iTunes library. Then copy it to the external hard drive.

Part 2. Restore the iTunes library via the backup

These steps depict how to restore the iTunes library from this backup saved on the external hard drive. Please be careful to follow it.

Step 1. Quit iTunes. Then open your external hard drive and copy the iTunes library again.

Step 2. Press the “Shift” key and open iTunes. Then select the “Choose Library” option on the popping up message.


Step 3. Save the folder on your PC. Then you’ll find a new file marked as “iTunes Library files (*.itl).” At the moment, you can restore the iTunes library after opening this file.


Alternative way: Easy steps to backup music library on your PC

How to backup iTunes to external hard drive? Apart from the official method, there is another efficient solution. That is taking good advantage of the third-party tool, FoneTool.

You’re allowed to selectively backup photos, music, videos, messages, contacts, etc. It is also possible to transfer the whole or partial data from iPhone to iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch/PC. Here are other fascinating features of this application. Please check it out below.

With an accessible “Full Backup” or “Custom Backup,” you can restore your iOS device without losing data.
 You can preview all the items and select your needed ones before backing up or transferring.
 Tests show that this application can transfer 1000 songs in 9 minutes.
 It works well with the latest iOS 15 and iPhone 13/12/SE (2nd) /11.
 Even newcomers can backup iTunes to external hard drive with a well-designed interface and clear instructions.

Step 1. Download, install and run FoneTool on your PC. Then connect your iPhone to the computer. Please tap “Trust This Computer” on your iOS device.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 2. Select the “Custom Backup” option.


Step 3. Select “Music”, then preview and select your needed songs. Click the “OK” button.


Step 4. Click the “Start Backup” button to back up your selected songs in a new location on your PC.


Wrapping up

This tutorial renders you two feasible methods to backup iTunes to external hard drive. Whichever method you adopt, you need to make your iTunes library organized on your PC. There’s no denying that iTunes indeed can help you backup iTunes library. But it might be a little time-consuming and complicated.

Compared with that, FoneTool offers you more flexible options to cater to your varied needs. For example, this tool also enables you to transfer the iTunes library to another computer. Maybe you can be attracted by this powerful software.

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.