I have a large music collection of mp3-encoded CDs stored on a NAS (Windows share). I can access the drive via SMB on the Mac. I'd like to change my default iTunes music library without importing the files to the local disk.

Please could somebody describe the procedure how to change that in iTunes. I see some options, but I'm not sure and I don't want to jeopardize my collection. Are there any caveats?


Hold the option (alt) key when opening iTunes and you'll be prompted to either create a library or choose an existing library.

You can then select the iTunes library that you have stored on the NAS share.

This method may require that the NAS share contains a iTunes library file. If it does, then you might be able to copy the default one created when iTunes starts for the first time and move it over to the NAS share.

The when you add music to iTunes, it will be written to the library file stored on the NAS share. YOu can turn off the options to make iTunes keep you music organised and turn off the copy files to iTunes Music Folder to prevent it from moving or creating dupes of your music files.


Be aware that having movies on a remote drive causes big slowdowns when trying to scroll through them in Front Row. It made me move them all back to a USB/Firewire disk, which is much speedier.

  • The problem is that I normalyy use a Sonos system for my music, but I want to synchronize some of the albums with my iPhone - and I don't have enough space on my Mac (and I don't want to have a copy of all the files) – splattne Jul 15 '09 at 10:57
  • That's fairly reasonable then. It probably won't be an issue, unless you have video in iTunes, and then use Front Row to view them. – Matthew Schinckel Jul 15 '09 at 11:09

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