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The Ultimate Guide to Safely Backup Apple iTunes Library

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Jul 12, 2024 • Filed to: Backup & Restore Data • Proven solutions

backup itunes library

Have you ever experienced the heart-sinking moment of realizing your entire iTunes library has disappeared? Or perhaps you're constantly anxious about losing all your beloved songs after a computer crash. Fear not, fellow music enthusiast! This guide is here to arm you with the knowledge and tools to securely backup your iTunes library, ensuring your music collection remains safe and sound.

This comprehensive guide explores various backup methods catering to your specific needs. Whether you want to preserve your entire iTunes library, just the music files, or your Apple Music collection, we've got you covered. We'll explore manual backups, external hard drives, and cloud storage options like iCloud and Dropbox. We’ll also provide you with steps on traditional disc backups like DVDs and CDs. As a bonus, we’ll introduce Wondershare Dr.Fone, a powerful software streamlining the backup process. Read on to learn more.

safe Downloadsafe & secure

Part 1. Understanding Your Backup Needs

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of backup methods, let's take a moment to understand what exactly you want to preserve in your iTunes library. Here's a breakdown of the main options to consider:

Entire iTunes Library

Backuping your whole iTunes library is the most comprehensive option. It includes your entire digital media collection managed through iTunes. It includes:

  • Music:All your songs, albums, and playlists.
  • Movies:Any movies you've purchased or ripped from DVDs.
  • TV Shows:Your favorite shows, including purchased seasons and individual episodes.
  • Podcasts:All your subscribed podcasts and downloaded episodes.
  • Audiobooks:Any audiobooks you've purchased or imported.
  • App Data:Data associated with apps you've downloaded through iTunes (note: app data might not always be compatible across devices).

Choosing this option is ideal if you want to create a complete archive of your iTunes library and ensure everything is readily accessible in one place. However, it requires the most storage space.

Music Only

Focusing solely on music files is a great alternative if your primary concern is your music collection. This includes:

  • Songs: All your music tracks.
  • Albums:Your entire music collection is organized by album.
  • Playlists:Your meticulously curated playlists for different moods and occasions.

This method is perfect for music enthusiasts who prioritize their audio library but don't necessarily need to back up movies, TV shows, or other content.

Apple Music Library

This option caters to users primarily relying on Apple Music's streaming service. Here, the focus is on:

  • Downloaded Songs:Any songs you've downloaded from the Apple Music library for offline listening.
  • Playlists:All your personalized playlists are created within Apple Music.

Backing up your Apple Music library ensures you have a local copy of your favorite downloaded content, even if your internet connection becomes unavailable. This method might not be necessary if you have a consistently strong internet connection and don't mind relying solely on streaming.

Part 2. 5 Methods on How to Backup Your iTunes Library Safely

After understanding which option you’ll back up, you will know which method you will use. Here are five reliable methods to back up Apple iTunes safely:

Method 1: Manual Backup of iTunes Library

This method allows you to create copies of specific playlists on a USB flash drive.

  • Step 1: Open iTunes.
  • Step 2: Right-click on a playlist you want to back up and select Export Playlist.
  • Step 3: Choose a format (e.g., AAC, MP3).
  • Step 4: Select your USB flash drive as the destination folder.
  • Step 5: Click Export to create a copy of the playlist's music files on your USB drive.
  • Method 2: Backup iTunes Music Using External Hard Drive

    This method involves copying the entire iTunes media folder containing your music files and playlists to an external hard drive. Here's how (for Mac and Windows):


  • Step 1: Go to Music > iTunes. Right-click on "iTunes" and select "Show in Finder."
  • Step 2: Connect an external hard drive with enough storage space.
  • Step 3: Drag and drop the "iTunes" folder to your external drive.
  • drag the files


  • Step 1: The default location for the iTunes media folder typically varies depending on your Windows version. You can find it by searching for "iTunes" in the Windows search bar and selecting "Show in File Explorer" next to the iTunes application.
  • Step 2: Connect an external hard drive with enough storage space.
  • Step 3: Copy and paste the entire "iTunes" folder to your external drive.
  • Method 3: Backup iTunes Music Using iCloud

    Apple Music includes a feature called iCloud Music Library. With an active Apple Music subscription, you can upload your existing music library to iCloud for access across all your devices. Here's how to enable it:

  • Step 1: Open the Music app on your Mac or PC.
  • backup to iCloud

  • Step 2: Click on Music in the menu bar (Mac) or go to Account > Preferences (Windows).
  • Step 3: Click on General.
  • Step 4: Under Library, ensure the checkbox next to Sync Library is selected.
  • Note: Free iCloud storage space might not be sufficient for extensive music libraries. If needed, consider upgrading your iCloud storage plan.

    Method 4: Backup iTunes Music Using Dropbox

    You can leverage Dropbox as a cloud storage option for your iTunes music backup for added flexibility. Here's how:

  • Step 1: Create a Dropbox account or log in to your existing one.
  • Step 2: Install the Dropbox desktop app.
  • launch dropbox app

  • Step 3: Create a folder within Dropbox specifically for your iTunes music.
  • Step 4: Follow method 2 (mentioned above) to export music files.
  • Step 5: Choose the Dropbox folder as the destination during export.
  • select dropbox as the destination

    Method 5: Backup iTunes Music to DVD/CD

    Backing up to DVDs/CDs is becoming less frequent due to their limited storage capacity. However, it's still an option if you have a disc burner. Here's a general guideline (specific instructions might vary depending on your burning software):

  • Step 1: Go to File > Library > Export Playlist.
  • Step 2: Choose the playlist(s) you want to back up and select a format (e.g., AAC, MP3).
  • Step 3: For now, choose your computer's hard drive as the destination folder.
  • Step 4: Insert a blank DVD/CD and follow the prompts from your burning software to burn the exported music files.
  • Part 3. Restore iTunes Library From Your Backup

    In case your iTunes library ever goes missing, don't panic! Here's how to restore it using the backup method you chose:

    Manual Backup:

  • Step 1: Connect the external hard drive containing your backed-up iTunes folder.
  • Step 2: Copy and paste the entire "iTunes" folder from your external drive to your computer's default iTunes media folder location (Method 1 for Windows instructions).
  • Step 3: Open iTunes. Your library should be restored.
  • Cloud Backup (Apple Music Library):

  • Step 1: Ensure you have an active internet connection.
  • Step 2: Open the Music app on your Mac or PC.
  • Step 3: Click on Music in the menu bar (Mac) or go to Account > Preferences (Windows).
  • Step 4: Click on General.
  • Step 5: Under Library, ensure the checkbox next to Sync Library is selected.
  • click sync library

  • Step 6: Your iTunes library will automatically download from iCloud.
  • Other Methods:

    Restoring from a USB flash drive or burnt DVDs/CDs involves copying the music files back to your desired iTunes media folder location and adding them to your iTunes library.

    Part 4. How to Recover Apple Music Library Using Your Computer

    While this helps you safeguard your iTunes library through various backup methods, unexpected situations like accidental deletion or device malfunctions can still lead to data loss. Here's where Dr.Fone—iOS Data Recovery steps in as a valuable safety net.

    Imagine this: you've meticulously made a playlist of your favorite music videos in your iTunes library, only to find them mysteriously vanished from your iPhone. Fear not! Dr.Fone - iOS Data Recovery offers a powerful solution to recover those precious videos, even if you haven't specifically backed up the playlist.

    Here's what Dr.Fone - iOS Data Recovery can do for you:

    • Recover Deleted Videos:Scan your iPhone directly or extract them from iTunes and iCloud backups to recover deleted videos in various formats like MOV, MP4, M4V, etc.
    • Flexible Recovery Options:You can recover all deleted videos or selectively restore specific ones based on filters like date, size, or format.
    • Supports Various Data Loss Scenarios:Recover videos lost due to accidental deletion, formatting errors, system crashes, or device failures.
    • User-Friendly Interface:The software boasts a simple and intuitive interface, making data recovery accessible for users of all technical backgrounds.

    Here's how to recover data from iCloud with Dr.Fone - iOS Data Recovery:

  • Step 1: Open Dr.Fone and navigate to the Toolbox section once installed. From the toolbox options, select Data Recovery.
  • select data recovery

  • Step 2: You'll receive various recovery options upon launching Data Recovery. Since you want to recover from iCloud, choose Recover Data from iCloud.
  • select data recovery from iCloud

  • Step 3: Dr.Fone will prompt you to log in to your iCloud account. Enter your Apple ID and password associated with the iCloud backup containing the data you want to recover.
  • sign in to icloud

  • Step 4: Once logged in, you'll see a list of different data types Dr.Fone can recover from iCloud, such as photos, contacts, notes, and messages. Check the corresponding boxes to select the specific data types you want to recover. Click Next to proceed.
  • check which to backup

  • Step 5: Dr.Fone will download your chosen data types from your iCloud backup. A progress bar will indicate the download status. You can pause or stop the download at any time.
  • Step 6: After the download, Dr.Fone will display all recovered data categorized by file type. You can preview individual files to confirm what you want to recover. Then, select the specific data you want to restore by checking the corresponding boxes.
  • Step 7: You have two options for recovering your data:
  • Restore to Device: This option lets you directly restore the selected data to your iPhone.

    Recover to Computer: This option lets you save the recovered data to a specific location on your computer. Choose the option that best suits your needs.

    click restore to the device

  • Step 8: Click Recover to start the recovery process. This might take some time, depending on the amount of data being recovered. A progress bar will keep you updated.
  • Step 9: Dr.Fone will notify you once the recovery is complete. You can now access your recovered data on your iPhone or computer (depending on the chosen destination).
  • safe Downloadsafe & secure


    Following these simple steps, you can safeguard your precious iTunes library and ensure your music collection is always accessible. Remember to choose the backup method best suits your storage needs and preferences. For Apple Music users facing data loss, Wondershare Dr.Fone can be a valuable tool for exploring data recovery options. Don't hesitate to create backups regularly to maintain peace of mind and keep your music world spinning!

    safe Downloadsafe & secure

    Daisy Raines

    staff Editor

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