How to Organize an iTunes Music Folder

by Michael Cox

    Adding tracks to Apple's iTunes is so simple, it's possible to build a library of thousands of tracks without knowing where they're located on your computer. If you've also created your own folders for storing music files you download from websites, you may have duplicate tracks taking up space on your hard drive. To keep your music stored in an orderly manner, iTunes offers preferences to help you organize your music library in one place: the iTunes Media folder.

    Step 1

    Start iTunes and open the Preferences dialog box by choosing "Preferences" from the iTunes menu on a Mac or the Edit menu in Windows. Click "Advanced" to see your organization options.

    Step 2

    Check "Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized" to have iTunes sort your tracks, videos, mobile apps and other items into subfolders within your iTunes Media folder. This option will also file your music tracks by artist and album. This option only organizes the files currently within your iTunes Media folder, which resides in the location specified in the "iTunes Media Folder Location" option.

    Step 3

    Check "Copy Files to iTunes Media Folder When Adding to Library" to copy files you add using drag-and-drop or the "Add to Library" option. Checking this option will not copy files you previously added to iTunes. Purchases from the iTunes Store are downloaded to your iTunes Media Folder by default.

    Step 4

    Click "OK" to confirm your changes.

    Step 5

    Choose "File," "Library" and "Organize Library" to open the Organize Library dialog box. This dialog box contains options for organizing files you previously added to iTunes. Select "Consolidate Files" to copy any files outside of your iTunes Media folder into that folder. Select "Upgrade to iTunes Media Organization" to organize your copied files within appropriate subfolders in your iTunes Media folder.

    Step 6

    Update the metadata and album artwork for your music tracks. Select the tracks you want to update, or use the "Select All" command to update your entire music library, and choose "Get Track Names" from the Advanced menu. After the process is complete, choose "Get Album Artwork" from the same menu. Get metadata for a specific track by right-clicking the track and choosing the desired option or enter it manually by right-clicking the track and choosing "Get Info." Third-party tools such as TuneUp or Rinse may help you find data iTunes won't supply.

    Step 7

    Find duplicate tracks within iTunes by choosing "Display Duplicates" from the File menu. Delete any unwanted duplicates from this list. Note that these duplicates may include a track that appears on multiple albums, such as a regular album and a "Greatest Hits" album.

    Step 8

    Delete any duplicate tracks that exist outside your iTunes Media folder after you finish organizing and copying them into that folder. To back up your music, copy your entire iTunes Media folder to another drive.

    Tips

    • If you've been using iTunes since version 8.2.1 or earlier, your iTunes Media folder may be named "iTunes Music." You can reorganize and rename this folder using the "Upgrade to iTunes Media Organization" option in the "Organize Library" dialog box.
    • You can change the default location of your iTunes library using the "iTunes Media Folder Location" option in iTunes' preferences.

    Resources

    About the Author

    Michael Cox writes about lifestyle issues, popular culture, sports and technology. In a career spanning more than 10 years, he has contributed to dozens of magazines, books and websites, including MSN.com and "Adobe Magazine." Cox holds a professional certificate in technical communications from the University of Washington.

    Photo Credits

    • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images