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HomeHow ToHow-ToHow to Change the Location of Your Apple Music Library

How to Change the Location of Your Apple Music Library

  • Learn how to change the location of your Apple Music library
  • Find out how to avoid rearranging your music collection
  • Understand the gotchas when adding new media to the library

When you buy a new Mac or reinstall macOS, it comes with Apple’s Music app which lets you manage and play back music, movies, and other media files. The default location for the storage of your media for Music is in your user’s home folder in a folder named “Music” at /Users/~/Music, where “~” is the name of the logged in user’s folder.

You may not want to store your media on your Startup Disk for various reasons, however. You may want to store your media on an external volume for portability and easy backup. It’s relatively easy to change the location of Music’s media folder, from within the Music app itself.

To do this, first prepare an external storage location on another drive to store all your files. It should be a relatively fast drive, with lots of free space and few files already on it. if possible, dedicate an entire volume to your media storage. In this example we’ll use an entire volume named “Music”.

Next, open the Apple Music app, and select Music- >Settings from the menu bar. This opens Music’s settings window. Then select the Files tab from the tab bar. This switches to a pane with all the file options. At the top under “Music Media folder location” you’ll see that it’s currently set to the default location in your user’s home folder. To change it, click the Change button and select a new filesystem location. In our example, this is the root of the “Music” volume. This changes the location and Music will move the contents of the original Music folder to the new location.

One particular pain point with Apple Music is the checkbox setting right below the “Music Media folder location” setting named Keep Music Media folder organized. When this setting is on, when you add or move your Music folder, the Music app will try to rearrange your entire media collection based on what it thinks is best using the collection’s file metadata. For this reason, before doing the Music folder move, it’s best to turn this checkbox off.

The checkbox directly below this checkbox is named Copy files to Music Media folder when adding to library. When this setting is on, Music makes a physical copy of any new media you add to the app – which can double the amount of storage space Music is using. If you don’t want copies of new media made when added, turn this off.

It’s fairly easy to move the location of your Music folder to another volume, making backups and portability much easier. Chip Loder, a 30-year Apple industry veteran, is author of 18 commercial Mac software products, and is a former Apple and Sony employee.

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