Offloading your iTunes library to your NAS

iTunes is a great app to sync your iPhone or iPad and does a lot more then that too. Unfortunately Apple hasn’t designed it to officially support a server component. Apple seems to actually provide a real iTunes server and so those who would otherwise be happily centrally locate a media library on a perfectly suitable NAS are stuck with islands of music. Building a multi-user iTunes server that works isn’t the easiest thing to do. However it is easy to take your iTunes library and move it to a NAS. If you aren’t to sure what a NAS is read our blog on Managing your media and data effectively with NAS.  


Moving your iTunes library to your NAS isn’t the house iTunes server but it does get your data off of your computers local hard disk drive. If you do this it will give your SSD some space on your Mac. To do this you need to have the library management function turned on in your iTunes. To locate this it’s in the advanced tab of the iTunes preference pane. Then Keep iTunes media folder organised.  This will then give iTunes control over where your media library. You will need a NAS or at least another computer with an available network share. If you were to just drag and drop the files you will lose metadata, which is kept in the iTunes database.

Make sure the network share you want to use is mounted, and that you’ve got the correct permissions on it. Create a target directory inside the share, so that you have a specific folder to add it to. Then go into iTunes and open the application preferences pane and click advanced tab. You want to select change for the iTunes media folder location and change it to the network folder you created on the NAS. When you okay that change it will ask you if you want to move and rename files in the new location to match the ‘Keep iTunes media folder organised’ preference and say yes. On the top menu bar of iTunes you need to go to file, library and select organise library. This will start what could be a very long file copy and if the copy completes successfully you are done.

It is important for that share to be mounted before iTunes starts up. By adding your Music volume to the Login items section of your account under the users and groups system preference panel. If you start iTunes without having its NAS share mounted it will freak our and say your library files are all missing which you don’t want. This benefits those who’s music libraries are huge and take up a lot of space on the drive however it wont much change for those with a small library.