iTunes Library Damaged – Here’s How To Fix It

iTunes library

Sometime back, the iTunes library was just an XML file that stored all data on your media library. Today, however, it’s responsible for storing a lot more than just playlists, plus it comes in a custom ITL file format.

When you find the music library damaged, most often than not it won’t open. You can create a new library file and import all your media all over again, but this will only reset your play counts. Any playlists that aren’t in your iCloud Music Library can also get lost so you need to fix it.

Before you panic, we’ve got some fixes that can help you recover your music library and access your media files again. Try the steps we’ve outlined below and see what works.

How to fix iTunes library damaged

Restore file from Time Machine

If you have a Time Machine backup, and you regularly back up your data, you can get your current version of the file back. The easy thing to do is delete the damaged file and follow the steps below:

  • Open iTunes media folder by going to Users/Username/Music/iTunes
  • Find iTunes Library.itl file
  • Right click the file
  • Select Rename and type Old or Broken
  • Drag that file to the desktop
  • Click Time Machine in Menu bar
  • Select Enter Time Machine
  • A Finder window with a timeline will open. The timeline shows each backup that’s in the Time Machine
  • Go to the recent backup and check for the library file
  • Highlight the file and click Restore

Now open it using the restored version of the file and see if it works again. If it works, delete the Old or Broken file from your desktop.

Use the previous Library folder

If you don’t’ have backup, you can salvage some files on your library. iTunes creates a backup in the Previous iTunes Libraries sub folder when it makes changes to the library. To do this:

  • Open iTunes media folder by going to Users/Username/Music/iTunes
  • Find the Previous iTunes Libraries folder
  • Open the folder and check for the latest version
  • Right click the file, select Copy and click Back to revert to the main iTunes folder
  • Paste the old file into the folder
  • Right click and select Rename
  • Remove the file’s date from its file name and rename it iTunes Library.itl (space included)

iTunes should open normally now.

Recreate the iTunes library

This is another choice you have if the first two fail. To do this:

  • Go to iTunes folder
  • Delete these files: iTunes Library.itl, iTunes Library Extras.itdb, sentinel, and iTunes LibraryGenius.itdb. If iCloud Music Library is enabled when iTunes is open, the files should be recreated automatically. If iCloud Music Library is disabled, an error message may pop up asking you to pick a folder for the library. Choose the current library folder and repeat the steps to add your media files again
  • Add your files back by clicking File>Add to Library
  • Go to iTunes Media folder
  • Highlight it and click Open

iTunes will import existing media files again.

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