Know how to migrate an iTunes library from PC to Mac

With the increasing popularity of Macintosh computers it is quite common to move your files from a PC to a Mac. Most of the file formats are compatible on both Mac and Windows platforms. Hence, it is a simple process of copying files from your PCs to Mac machines. Now you might ask, does this same procedure hold good for your iTunes? The answer is “No”, to migrate your iTunes; you need to follow few simple steps. iTunes is the special program introduced by Apple that is used for playing music and syncing the music with the other portable music players like iPods on your Mac and Windows systems. hence, it involves separate procedure for performing this transfer process.

In this article you will get to know how you can transfer your iTunes library to a Mac machine from a PC by retaining your playlists, ratings and other data. For this you need an external storage device; a flash drive would be sufficient if the library is small sized, else you need an external hard drive for the huge library. Alternatively you may even set up a network connection between two computers and store it there. However, this article is based on the external storage device and also for iTunes 10. Below are the steps to be followed to accomplish this transfer process.

On the PC Side: Consolidate the library

First connect your external storage device like external hard drive or a USB flash drive to your Widows PC. Before performing the transfer process, you need to ensure that the library is copied entirely.

  1. Go to ‘Editand then select ‘Preferences’ menu
  2. Now click on Advanced tab and then click the ‘General’ tab
  3. Check ‘Keep iTunes Media folder organized’ and ‘Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library
  4. Note down the value in the ‘iTunes Music folder locationtab and Click ‘OK ‘ to get rid of the preferences Windows and save all the changes made
  5. Then go to Advanced menu and then click File -> Library - > Organize Library
  6. Now, select the ‘Consolidate Library’ option and Click ‘OK

From this process now every single music file is held in the same directory, thus making it very easy to copy all of your music files.

Make the Music folders accessible to Mac:

For this copy your iTunes folder to your external hard drive or USB drives. Depending on the version of Windows, the iTunes folder location will change. Below list facilitates you in this:

  • Windows 7:  <username>\My Music\iTunes
  • Windows Vista: <username>\Music\iTunes
  • Windows XP: Documents and Settings\<username>\My Documents\My Music\iTunes

Note: indicates your login / username on your Windows PC.

ON MAC Machines: iTunes preferences

Then connect the external device hard drive or flash drive containing iTunes libraries to your Mac.

If you have not yet saved music to your Mac through iTunes, then just simply copy the iTunes folder from your external device to the Mac machines by replacing the empty folder at “/Users/<username>/Music/iTunes” location.

If you have already started saving music on your Mac, then move the music out of the “/Users/<username>/Music/iTunes” folder before copying the PC data. After the completion of the transfer of PC data to Mac, simply add those files back into the iTunes library.

  • Now, move the ‘Music’ folder in the iTunes folder to another location
  • After transfer, hit the  option and select ‘Add File to Library’
  • Go to the location where you saved the Music folder and add your Mac songs back in

Edit the iTunes Music Library.xml file

On your Mac “Music/iTunes” folder, which you have just copied in the previous step you have to edit the iTunes Music Library.xml file. For this you need to use text editor or TextEdit.

Now you will have to fix the file path of every file on your .xml document. This can be done by using a single find/replace action. Around line 10 of the xml file, you can find the Music Folder path:

<key>Music Folder</key><string>file://localhost/…/iTunes/</string>

You need to set up this path on your PC. Therefore copy/paste the complete path when you see it on your xml file, and then replace it with your path. This is like


After completion of this step i.e. replacing action, save the file and launch the iTunes. You should find your complete library including the Album Artworks, play counts, etc. In case if you are unable to open the iTunes or cannot find a music file then you have probably got a wrong path while editing the .xml document. Now, if you don’t have the backup then you will lose your music files. Luckily, you have Remo Recover Mac software that can easily recover your lost music files within few mouse clicks. Remo Recover software is the best application available to undelete iTunes playlist on Mac.  However, be careful while performing these steps especially the last one i.e. editing the .xml file. Additionally, it’s always recommended to take backup before performing the transfer process.

Know how to migrate an iTunes library from PC to Mac was last modified: September 6th, 2019 by Molly Owen

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