Find iTunes content
Music at your fingertips, if you can find it… Here’s how to locate your missing iTunes purchases
With iTunes, all your music is at your fingertips – but sometimes it’s not always there! If for some reason newly purchased content from the iTunes Store doesn’t appear in your library, it’s likely that the download has failed. The simplest remedy is to go to iTunes > Account > Check for Available Downloads. Enter your Apple ID’s password and press ® . If there’s any purchased content available to download, iTunes will retrieve it for you – note that downloads will start automatically when you choose this option.
If you’d prefer to view what content is available before clogging up your Mac’s storage with music, apps, and videos, follow the steps in “How to redownload past iTunes purchases” later in this feature to view media you’ve previously purchased, so you can pick and choose what to download.
If you’re using Apple’s Family Sharing feature (see bit.ly/famsharing), not only can you download content you’ve purchased using your own Apple ID,
you may prefer that your loved ones didn’t know you’re secretly a fan of trashy ’80s pop music, so you can hide it
but also most media other family members have bought using their personal IDs. At the view of your past purchases, click your name at the top left of the window and choose a family member, then download their content just as you would your own. Hidden purchases While sharing purchases with your family saves each of you from having to buy your own copies of music and movies, you may prefer that your loved ones didn’t know you’re secretly a fan of trashy ’80s pop music. In light of this, Apple allows you to hide previous purchases, so that they don’t appear in the Purchased section of iTunes, for you or other family members. Follow steps 1 and 2 of “How to redownload past iTunes purchases”, but instead of downloading an item, click the “X” next to a purchase to hide it from view.
To make a hidden purchase visible again, go to Account > View My Account, then enter your Apple ID’s password and press ® . Under the “iTunes in the Cloud” heading, click Manage to the right of Hidden Purchases, choose the type of media you’re looking for at the top right, then click Unhide next to an item to restore it to your list of purchases. Remember that if you’re using Family Sharing, all family members will then be able to see and download the unhidden content. Media management You may want to automatically download iTunes Store purchases in future, so that your Mac contains a copy of all media that you purchase on any devices signed in to your Apple ID. In iTunes > Preferences, click the Downloads tab to view your Automatic Downloads settings. Make sure “Always Check for Available Downloads” is enabled. You have the option to treat kinds of media differently – on a portable Mac with limited storage, say, you might want music you purchase on your iPhone or iPad to download automatically, but not movies. If space isn’t an issue, consider leaving “Download full-size HD videos” checked to ensure videos are received at the best available quality.
If you enable automatic downloading of videos, though, there’s an easy remedy for ensuring things you’ve watched don’t clog up your Mac’s storage. Go to iTunes > Preferences, click the Advanced tab, and enable “Automatically delete watched movies and TV shows” to have iTunes free up space for you.
If you’re a music lover, consider following the steps at bit.ly/getapplemusic on how to sign up for the Apple Music subscription service. Apple Music includes a feature called iCloud Music Library – also part of the older iTunes Match service – which ensures a copy of the music on your Mac is stored online. Rather than manually syncing, tracks are streamed over the internet to your other devices, so they don’t have to take up huge amounts of space.
If you have a large amount of music imported from CDs, or lots of home videos, you may want to store your entire library on an external drive. Before and after you migrate your library to an external drive, run List MIAs (donationware, bit.ly/listmias) to verify that files for all items are where iTunes expects them to be. Once that’s done, create an empty folder on the external drive: in Finder, go to File > New Folder, and name it “iTunes Media.”
Next, go to iTunes > Preferences > Advanced and ensure “Keep iTunes media folder organized” and “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library” are enabled. The former causes files to be renamed and reorganized; it’s not strictly necessary, but without it some people report finding broken links in their library, notably where media was originally stored outside of the iTunes Media folder.
Click the Change button next to “iTunes Media Folder location,” navigate to the folder you just created, click Open, then click OK. You’ll be asked to confirm that iTunes should move and rename files in your new iTunes Media folder. Click Yes.
Choose File > Library > Consolidate Files to begin copying from your Mac to the external drive. Make sure the drive is connected to your Mac when you want to play content in iTunes. After migrating, use List MIAs, mentioned earlier, to check for broken links, and follow bit.ly/itunesloc to fix them.