Change where your music files are stored on Mac, Big Sur

Saturday, November 14, 2020 7:36 PM

Change where your music files are stored on Mac

By default, your music is stored here:


You can change where your music files are stored.

Important: For best results, don’t change the location of the Music folder or the folders inside it.

Change where imported files are stored

  1. In the Music app  on your Mac, choose Music > Preferences, then click Files.

  2. Click Change, then select a new location for your files.

    From now on, new songs and other items you import are stored in the new location. Songs you’ve already imported stay in their current location.

To go back to storing imported files in the default folder, choose Music > Preferences, click Files, then click Reset.

Consolidate your files in the Music folder

Depending on how you imported items into Music, some items in your library might be stored in different locations (for example, in another folder or on another storage device).

You can consolidate all the files in your library in the Music folder—for example, to make it easier to move your library to a new computer.

  1. In the Music app  on your Mac, choose File > Library > Organize Library.

  2. Select “Consolidate files.”

    Files remain in their original locations, and copies are placed in the default folder.

Add files to your library but not to your Music folder

When you add an item already on your computer to your library, Music places a copy of the file in your Music folder. The original file remains in its current location.

You can change this setting so that files are added to your library without being added to the Music folder. You might want to do this, for example, if you prefer to store files on an external disk but still want to view them in Music.

  1. In the Music app  on your Mac, choose Music > Preferences, then click Files.

  2. Deselect the checkbox next to “Copy files to Music Media folder when adding to library.”

From now on, when you drag a file to your library, the item appears in Music, but the actual file isn’t copied or moved.

Tip: You can temporarily reverse this setting by holding down the Option key while you drag files to the Music window.

Locate your Music files

  1. In the Music app  on your Mac, click Songs in the sidebar on the left.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Find out where a file is stored: Select the item, then choose Song > Info.

      The path to the file is shown at the bottom of the File pane (next to location).

    • Show the file in the Finder: Select the item, then choose File > Show in Finder.

      If you don’t see Show in Finder, the file may be in your music library and not on your computer.

If a song no longer appears in Music

If a song used to appear in Music but doesn’t now, it may be because the music library or song was moved from the Music folder. To make your songs appear in the Music window again, try the following in this order:

  • Locate your Music folder in the Finder  on your Mac, then drag it to the Music window. You should see the songs in your library again. If the music library file is included, you will also see playlists, song ratings, and other information you created.

  • If that doesn’t work, your songs may be elsewhere on your computer. In the Finder, choose File > Find, then search for a song by title or artist. Or search for “MP4” to find files downloaded from the iTunes Store or “MP3” to find songs encoded in MP3 format. Drag songs (or folders containing songs) to the Music window to add the songs to Music again.