Moving your iTunes library from PC to Mac

What do I need to do this?

Both computers will need to have iTunes installed. The destination computer will need to be authorized to use your account. Under the “Store” menu, select “Authorize Computer,” and then click “Authorize.” Type in your account information, and click the “Authorize” button.

To determine how big your iTunes library is, open iTunes and select all the files you wish to transfer. The size of these files is listed at the bottom center of the screen. When making a backup copy, remember that a CD can hold 700mb, and a DVD can hold 4.7GB.

Is it legal?

The original iTunes Digital Rights Management (DRM) allows up to five computers to share the same purchased files, and seven backup copies can be made to CD’s and DVD’s. New iTunes Plus files have no DRM, and can be copied without restriction, as long as it’s for the owner’s personal use. Both types of files can be copied without restriction to iPods and iPhones.

Transferring via network using Home Sharing

iTunes 9 added Home Sharing, which allows data to be transfered between computers on a local network. To enable this, click on “Shared” in the left toolbar. If a “Home Sharing” icon isn’t visible, it needs to be enabled: under the “Advanced menu, click “Enable Home Sharing.”

Click on the “Home Sharing” icon. iTunes will now ask for your account name and password. Type these in and click “Create Home Share.” This will need to be done on both computers.

Once enabled, click on the “Shared” tab again. Your account should be listed. From here, music can be streamed between computers, or copied between them. There are two ways to manually copy files:

1. Select the files in the Home Share you want to transfer and drag them to your iTunes library.

2. Select the content in the Home Share that you want to transfer to your iTunes library, then click the “Import” button in the bottom-right corner.

New files transfered to the PC can automatically be sent to the Mac. Select the computer under the “Shared” menu you want to transfer from. Click “Settings” in the bottom-right of iTunes. A dialog box will pop up, asking and specify what type of iTunes Store content you want to transfer, including music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and applications. Check the boxes for the ones you want transfered, and click “OK.”

Transferring via iPod or iPhone

This only works for items purchased from iTunes. Other files will need to be copied manually.

Once you have copied all the files you want to move to your iPod or iPhone, plug it into the Mac. If your device is synced with your PC, a dialog box will pop up. Click the “Transfer Purchases” button, to copy the files from your device to the computer.

Older versions of iTunes will ask you if you want to erase the current data from your PC and sync the iPod or iPhone with your Mac. Click “Cancel” to keep your files on the device. You will need to set it to manual management to transfer the files: click on the device on the left hand column under “Devices” to display its summary. At the bottom are several options: check the box next to “Manually manage music and videos.”

If your iPhone or iPod is set to manually manage items, select it in the left-hand column under “Devices.” In the File menu, click “Transfer Purchases From iPod” or “Transfer Purchases From iPhone.”

Transferring via CD or DVD

All of the files in your iTunes folder, including files not purchased from the service, can be copied to CDs, DVDs.

In the File menu, click “Library,” and then “Back up to Disk.” Here you have a choice of copying all of the files in listed in iTunes, or just iTunes purchases. Insert a blank CD or DVD. iTunes will automatically find this disk and begin burning. If all of the data can’t be fit on one disk, iTunes will ask you if you want to back up on multiple disks. Click “Yes,” and the program will periodically ask for new disks to copy to.

To transfer these files to the new computer, insert the backup disks when iTunes is running. The program will automatically find this content and ask if you want to restore from the disk. Click “Restore.”

Transferring via External Drive

iTunes files can be transfered and restored manually by using an external drive, such as a USB hard drive or thumb drive. First, find out where your iTunes files are located: From the Edit menu, click “Preferences.” Click on the Advanced tab. The box labeled “iTunes Media Location” will list the folder your iTunes files are kept.

Open Windows Explorer, navigate to the iTunes folder, and copy the files to the disk.

Plug the disk into the Mac and open iTunes. Click on the drive under the left hand column under “Source.” Finally, click the “import” button in the lower right corner.