Music on old laptop

All my music is on my 2006 MacBook Pro and on my iPhone X. How can I get it on my 2017 iMac?

What system are you running on the iMac?

The latest Catalina 10.15.6.

So you’re probably using Music or whatever Apple calls the iTunes replacement. If both machines used iTunes, the easiest way to transfer music is via shared libraries. Perhaps someone with experience with Music will weigh in, as I have no idea if an iTunes library can be shared with Music. Probably can as there must be some sort of “upgrade” path.

All else fails, you can brute force it by copying the music files in your iTunes media folder and drag/dropping them on Music. If this feature still exists.


I don’t what has changed with the replacement app, Music, but in iTunes, the physical files (MP3 and M4a and whatever else) are stored in ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music
and the file, “iTunes Library.xml” and “iTunes Library.itl” are stored in ~/Music/iTunes, along with some additional files.

(In iTunes anyway) Copy the physical files to your new Mac, including the Library files. I’ve dragged the entire music folder to a new Mac, this could work. Then, hold down the option key when opening iTunes to load your old library.

I haven’t done this in a while, so there may be steps I’m omitting.

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The only thing to watch for is that “new computers” typically come with Much less disk space, so calculate how much room your music collection takes up and how much is on your start up disk. You may have to have your music on an external disk.

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From your iPhone X, it should be as simple as connecting it to your new Mac and “Trusting “ , then transferring the content from the Finder.

As for your old MBP, have you tried Migration Assistant? I assume it’s running at least Mavericks, and hopefully El Capitan, which should be still compatible with Catalina’s MA. Just Spotlight it, or dive into your Utilities folder.

This should even preserve iTunes metadata like play counts and ratings.

Worse case, yes, you can just do a brute-force copy and at least get the files, if not metadata.

If you need further guidance, please respond.