Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Absolute Easiest Way To Move Your iPhone iTunes Library [From/To] a PC [To/From] A Mac

Here is the absolute easiest way to move an iPhone that is syncing from a Windows PC (XP in this example) to a Mac (this works as well if you do it from a Mac to a PC)  (I know, I personally did this)

First a story on how I got here :-)

I had not done this in awhile, so I did the usual google for the answer and found the typical 15,897,325 hits on the right way to do this.  Since I had AppleCare,  I thought I would just go to Apple Support and have them send me the link.  Right.....   What I was doing was very, very straightforward and frequent event, or so I thought.  I had an old Windows XP box that runs my sprinkler system (don't ask) and was the place where I connected all my devices for syncing including my iPod, iTouch and new iPhone 5.  

I bought a Mac mini with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive last week (which I love) , so I naturally I wanted to move all those devices over to this new Mac mini.  I went through Apple Care Hell!  The conversation was always the same with the first eight Apple employees I spoke with:

Me:   "I have this old Windows XP box that I used for my iPod, iTouch and new iPhone 5.  I simply want to move those devices over to my new Mac mini, can you send me the link as I can not find it on your Apple Support pages.  Just send me the link so I can do it the most efficient way possible the first time."

Apple Care:  Each of the first 8 Apple Care employees I spoke with basically said the same thing, "You know what Dave, I am not familiar with that, you need to speak to the [insert group they are not currently part of here]

  • Mac mini Group
  • iTunes Group
  • iTouch Group
  • iPod Group
  • iPhone Group
  • Desktop Group
  • Mac OS X Group
  • Applications Group
I kid you not.  Or, they gave me half baked advice that did not work.  Or, they asked me inane questions like, "are you interested in keeping what you have?"    No, I want to lose everything that I paid for and buy it again was what I wanted to say.  What part of I want to keep everything was so hard to grasp?

After person number 4 (I was feeling unusually patient) I started to press them on if they had ACTUALLY DONE THIS.  If the answer was no, the I asked to be transferred.   My second person in Advanced Support gives me WRONG instructions and then asks, "can we call you back to see how it went?"   Sure, I tell them, call me tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes.  The 9th person calls.  I tell them what the 8th person says and they say, "yeah, they gave you bad advice Dave, let me tell how to do this."  At this point I am livid.   I then go through the entire history and ask the person for their qualifications.  25 years in the computer industry, four at Apple and they have done this countless times.  Great, I tell them.  Finally a competent Apple Care Support employee!

Below are the instructions from Apple Care person #9 with my additional notes.   His name was Gary and he was great.  He was very nice and apologized for the other 8 Apple Care Support employees.  I like Apple, but this experience was absolutely ridiculous!  Apple sent me their, "How did we do?" survey.   Really Apple?   Your data shows that your customer went through nine calls and you are asking how did it go?  Take a wild guess Tim Cook.

Anyway, below absolutely works to move your iPhone from a Windows XP box to a new Mac because I did it:
  1. goto Windows XP box
  2. Startup iTunes and go into File-->Library-->Consolidate
    • this will consolidate EVERYTHING including your CDs that you moved over to this system  - this step is KEY!
    • this might take a few seconds to a few minutes depending on the amount of CDs you have that you moved over and did not buy from iTunes
  3. You need to copy the ENTIRE folder on the XP box that is (typically) in My Documents/My Music/iTunes to a drive, USB or network location so it can be copied into your home directory called Music on the new Mac.  Below is from Apple Support:

    • Mac OS X: /Users/username/Music/iTunes/
    • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\
    • Windows Vista: C:\Users\username\Music\iTunes\
    • Windows 7: C:\Users\username\My Music\iTunes\
    • Windows 8: C:\Users\username\My Music\iTunes\
     See What are the iTunes Library files? for more information.
    About the iTunes Media folder

    Note: You may have an "iTunes Music" folder instead of an iTunes Media folder.
    By default, your iTunes Media folder is located within your iTunes folder and it contains all your media files including:
  1. goto the Mac
  2. startup iTunes
  3. login to iTunes
  4. authorize this computer in iTunes
  5. quit iTunes and make sure iTunes is not running by doing the [apple key] Q  to get it completely out of the process table - this is important you can verify it is not running by looking at your Activity Monitor and look for iTunes running.  Do not worry if you iTunes Helper, as that is always running and is ok to run during this process.
  6. in a terminal window on the Mac (yes, this is for geeks :-)
  • cd ~Music    (Note: this is Music directory in your home folder, NOT iTunes Music  Yes, this is counter-intuitive
  • mv iTunes iTunes.ORIG
  • cp the iTunes directory above to the ~/Music on your Mac    (I had to do this over the net since it was 47GB in size and I did not feel like cleaning things up, nor did I have a big enough USB drive nor did I have an external hard drive lining around
       If you are not a geek and do not use terminal window on Mac

  • Start up Finder
  • click on the Music directory in your home folder
  • rename iTunes to iTunes.ORIG or something else beside iTunes
  • copy that Folder (which will have a number of Folders and files in it) from whatever device you used in step 3 above to the Music directory aka Folder 
    • When you have completed this, you should be able to click on your Music folder and see iTunes.  When you click on iTunes you should see a variety of folders and files such as:

      Album Artwork                         iTunes Library.itl
      Previous iTunes Libraries           iTunes Music
      Temp File.tmp                          iTunes Music Library.xml
      iTunes Library Extras.itdb          sentinel
      iTunes Library Genius.itdb

      Don't worry if it does not match directly, the point is most of these files will be there.
  1. restart iTunes on your Mac and it SHOULD just find everything.  If you get a strange error (for example, "no pairing record for iPhone), then the best cure is to reboot your system and go back into iTunes).  You will receive the following:

    • Updating iTunes Library
    • it will ask you to authorize non-iTunes accounts like Audible
      • The trick here was that Audible requires the Amazon login/password even though it specifically states it wants the Audible login/password.  I called Audible and Amazon owns Audible, so Amazon is considered the Audible account for iTunes.  If you try to use your Audible only account, it will fail.
    • this is a good time to setup iCloud if you have not and want to.
    • goto iTunes-->Store-->Preferences-->Automatic Downloads and select Music, Apps and Books
    • on your iPhone, goto Settings-->iTunes & App Store -->Automatic Downloads and select Music and Apps
      • If you have an iPhone 5 and the unlimited data option, you might want to also turn on Use Cellular Data because of the speed of LTE/4G
      • iTunes match stores all of your music (copied over from CDs to your library) in the cloud, but currently costs $24.99 a year to store it in the cloud to have it available on any device
    • If you want to import your photos in, the first time you plugin your iPhone into your Mac and will ask you to import them in.  Obviously this will take as long as necessary for the amount of photos that you have.
    • After everything is up fine, you can go ahead and remove the iTunes.orig directory/folder to save space.  One could argue you could have deleted it right away, but that is a topic for a different discussion :-)
  2. Go deauthorize your old Windows XP box

    You should now be good to go with using your iPhone on your new Mac system!

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