This is Part 1 of our iTunes Alternative Series.
View Part 3: How To Backup iTunes to an External Hard Drive
The main limitations of transferring media from iTunes lie in the inability to easily control how files are added to hard drives and partitioned hard drives. Additionally, synchronization of libraries is not a built-in feature in iTunes. There is no way to tag a library as a Main Library while treating other libraries as iPod libraries. Given that devices like the iPod are capable of supporting multimedia, this is a problem for users. If you can’t synchronize the various libraries, it makes transfer more of a challenge, but not impossible. Thus the need for a better iPod transfer software other than iTunes.
Apple has been moving into the arena of multimedia with a focused aggression that surpasses the hardware they produce. The ability to efficiently manage libraries across multiple drives is important for multimedia and iTunes is weak in this sense. Perhaps Apple should have added a Video library to complement the iTunes Music folder and this would have made things easier. Maybe this is in the works for the future, but for now it is something that is absent and frustrating. The question remains, what to do about it? It is a hassle, but you can create different folders for new content transfer.
Transferring a Pre Existing Library on iTunes
Transferring any pre-existing library on iTunes will require that the files be accessed from the area where the files were created. New additions, on the other hand, can be added by changing the location of the iTunes Music folder and later additions can go this folder. A simple alternative to this would be to uncheck the option that allows iTunes to copy any added content to the iTunes Music folder. This will be found in the Options menu. You will need to create a new destination folder if you uncheck this option. The iTunes Music folder is an open book for transfer when this option is unchecked.
It is important to note that iTunes presents further limitations by offering no way to hide content within a library even if you manage to create separate libraries for new media. You will have to do this yourself and hide the file location with encryption or a family safety lock utility. This is of significance if you don’t want the kids to get their ears and eyes glued to inappropriate content stored in extensive iTunes libraries.
Since most people have sizeable iTunes libraries, the best thing to do with iTunes is to store all your music on an external hard drive and transfer iTunes files from there. It is good to backup data for any device in the first place. Use Administrator privileges to prevent unauthorized access to files that are private. You can purchase a 500GB external hard drive for under $100 and a 1TB external hard drive for around $160. This is the ideal backup and the ideal security. Do not leave data on iTunes if you want to restrict access. It can be recalled from the external drive as needed and easily transferred to any device or computer.
As for transferring converted HD movies with iTunes, there is no hope for creating separate files that can be used with other media software for transfer except for iTunes itself. Considering the pantheon of media software available and the myriad devices available, there is always the option to choose an alternative to iTunes and this might be the proper choice for efficient media transfer.
Next: How To Backup iTunes to an External Hard Drive | Previous: Why iTunes is Not the Best Music Manager for your iPod or iPad