How To Back Up Your iTunes Movies Before iTunes Retires


After 18 years of hard work, doing everything from keeping a catalog of all the Jonas Brothers songs we own to helping us make playlists to burn for our high school crush, Apple is retiring iTunes. If you’re wondering how to back up iTunes movies from your library before iTunes is gone for good, there’s good news and also more good news. Let’s start with the good news.

The iTunes movies and shows you’ve purchased and downloaded are not going anywhere, even though iTunes itself is going away. As Apple announced on Monday, macOS 10.15 Catalina, its newest operating system set to launch this fall, will not include iTunes. But don’t start having an existential crisis about losing 18-years worth of music and movies just yet. Any media previously grouped together in your iTunes library will just be broken out into three different apps going forward: Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts.

“Previous purchases and libraries will be maintained in each new app on Mac computers,” a spokesperson clarified to CNN Business.

So, your music, podcasts, TV shows, movies, and multimedia shrines to the Jonas Brothers will each find residency in their new respective apps. Fear not: your collection of Mary-Kate and Ashley’s cinematic oeuvre and all your seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race are safe.

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Now, for the other good news: you can always download the movies and shows you want to make sure are safe and sound. To reiterate, your iTunes movies and TV shows aren’t going anywhere. However, if you want to back them up juuust in case, there are easy ways to do that. Also, it’s always a good idea to have an extra copy of those files you want to make sure you keep track of.

Here’s one way you can make sure a local copy (aka a version saved to your computer) of your iTunes movies stays saved, per Apple’s support page.

  1. Open iTunes on your computer.
  2. Shed a small tear as you remember all the times you’ve done this before, knowing that this may very well be your last.
  3. Go into “Preferences” on iTunes.
  4. From there, select Advanced and deselect “Automatically delete watched movies and TV shows.”

“With a Mac, your iTunes Library typically backs up when you make a backup of your computer using Time Machine,” Apple writes. “Just make sure not to exclude iTunes from your backup.” However, that back up applies to your entire computer. If you’re simply looking to back up your iTunes library, there’s an easy way to do that.

How To Back Up Your iTunes Movies And Shows


First, you want to double-check whether you need to redownload anything prior to backing up your files. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open the “Account” menu at the top of your iTunes screen
  2. Select “Purchased” from the dropdown menu
  3. Click “Movies” and select the download button next to whatever movie you want to redownload
  4. Think about all the good times you and iTunes have shared as your movies download.

You can repeat this step with your TV shows by simply selecting “TV Shows” in lieu of “Movies.”

Next, you’re going to consolidate your iTunes library. Here’s how:

  1. Click the “File” menu at the top of the iTunes screen
  2. Select “Library” from the dropdown menu
  3. Don’t get distracted by the “Get Album Artwork” option, reminiscing on how you used to Sharpie notes on the back of burned CDs
  4. Click “Organize Library”
  5. Check the box next to “Consolidate files” and then click “OK”

Finally, you’re ready to back up your iTunes library. It will be simple and mostly painless.

  1. Exit iTunes. This step seems simple, but remember all aforementioned reminiscing?
  2. Find your iTunes Media folder. It’s default location it within your iTunes folder. If you have trouble finding it, go into “Preferences” on your iTunes menu at the top of your screen and click the tab marked “Advanced.” Your iTunes Media folder will be listed under “iTunes Media folder location.”
  3. Save that baby to your computer, an external hard drive, your memory, etc.

If you’re concerned at all about iTunes disappearing from your iPhone, isn’t there right now. Apple’s newest operating system will simply be mirroring what you’ve been seeing on your mobile Apple devices for a while now. “[T]here will still be an iTunes app on iOS” Forbes clarifies. However, “it will be simply a place to buy music, because Music, TV and Podcasts are already broken out on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.”