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Should I Remove My iTunes Library?

written by: •edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 7/7/2011

By removing your iTunes library you can start from scratch and discard the previous database of tracks - but is it worth doing?

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    Effective iTunes Management

    Things to Consider Before Removing the Itunes Database Library Your iTunes library can easily become disorganised as you add more and more tracks to it. In fact, without the right management of your MP3s it might just become nothing more than a big list rather than an effective music management application.

    One way to resolve this is to start from scratch, removing the iTunes database library and starting again by adding your MP3s back in. A particular advantage of this is that you should have a better idea of how to organise your MP3s.

    While deleting or removing the iTunes database library might also be a good way of resolving problems with the player or any persistent sync issues, it comes with certain caveats. Removing the library will – depending on the circumstances – potentially cause your MP3 collection to be lost.

    Whatever the reason for removing your iTunes library, taking steps to protect your vast collection of music is advised. It's entirely possible that you could lose your music if you are not cautious about the tactics you use to remove your iTunes library.

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    Backing Up to CD or DVD

    The first and most obvious option is to save your MP3s to CD or DVD. This you can do from within iTunes, saving your songs as data or on an audio CD.

    Naturally, this isn’t required for tracks that you added to your library from your own collection of CDs; after all, you already have a copy of these! If for some reason they’re out of reach (they might be in a box in the attic in New York and you live in Hamburg) then backing up the full selection of tracks is therefore advised – but might require a lot of discs.

    It is good practice to save all music that you have purchased through iTunes to CD as soon as you purchase it, as the store will not allow you to re-download tracks that you have already purchased.

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    Keep a Copy on Your iPod

    Another way of protecting your collection of tracks in anticipation of removing the iTunes database library is to have the library – or the tracks you want to keep – saved to your iPod. This will allow you to then retrieve your tracks using a tool such as Senuti or PodManager, which will copy the MP3 files from your iPod back to your Mac should you wish to restore them to a new library.

    Note that when a library is removed it is not deleted – it is simply dropped from iTunes and renamed so that a new library of tracks can be created in its place. As such the library will still exist on your computer, so don’t assume that just because the library is removed your tracks have gone.

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