Mac Apps

Access music offline: Download your entire iTunes library to your Mac

While it’s never been easier to get online, there are still times when you might struggle to connect to the Internet.

Maybe you’re in a location where there isn’t a fast and reliable Internet connection; perhaps your home Wi-Fi network has gone down unexpectedly, or maybe a network is available, but it’s capped and you’re worried about running up a huge bill by performing data-intensive actions, such as streaming.

To make sure you’re prepared for those (hopefully) rare occasions where you’re struggling with Internet access, I’m going to show you how to download the entire contents of your iTunes library, so you’ll be able to enjoy the music you love – regardless of the state of your Internet connection.

Authorise your computer

Before you can download anything from iTunes, you’ll need to authorise your Mac, if you haven’t already:

  • Select ‘Account > Authorisations > Authorise this computer’ from the iTunes toolbar.
  • Enter your Apple ID and password.
  • Once the authorisation is complete, iTunes will display a ‘Computer Authorisation was Successful’ popup.

You can authorise up to 5 different computers to use the same iTunes account, which means you can potentially download the contents of your iTunes library to 5 different computers.

You can check how many computers you’ve authorised, by navigating to ‘Account > View My Account…’ and taking a look at the ‘Computer authorisations’ section. And, if you ever need to de-authorise a computer, then select ‘Account > Authorisations > De-authorise this computer…’ and follow the onscreen instructions. Note that even after de-authorisation, any iTunes content you’ve already downloaded will remain available locally.

Download your iTunes Library

The first step to making sure all your favourite songs are available locally, is to check which songs you’ve purchased via iTunes, but haven’t downloaded:

  • Select ‘View’ from the iTunes toolbar, and make sure ‘All Music’ is selected.
  • Select the ‘Library’ tab.
  • All of the songs that aren’t available locally will have a little blue cloud icon next to them. To arrange these items based on whether they’re present on your local machine, give the little cloud icon in the toolbar a click (where the cursor is positioned in the following screenshot).

  • To download a song, click its accompanying cloud icon, or Control-click it and then select ‘Download’ from the context menu.
  • To download multiple songs simultaneously, hold down the ‘Command’ key on your keyboard while clicking each song you want to download, then Control-click any highlighted song and select ‘Download.’ iTunes will then download all of the selected files and store them in ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music/

If you’d prefer to save your iTunes content to somewhere other than/iTunes Media/Music/, then:

  • Select ‘iTunes > Preferences’ from the toolbar.
  • Select the ‘Advanced’ tab.
  • Give the ‘Change…’ button a click.
  • In the window that appears, navigate to the location where you want to start saving your iTunes content, and then click ‘OK.’

Browse your local iTunes library

By default, all of your downloaded iTunes content is stored in the iTunes Media folder. The easiest way to access this folder (and all of the music it contains) is to:

  • Open a new Finder window.
  • Select ‘Go > Go to Folder…’ from the menu bar.
  • Enter the path:

~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music/

  • Click ‘Go.’

Before you go

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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