Need help migrating iTunes library from old Mac to new Mac.

Aug 13, 2018
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I am trying to convert my newer MacBook Air to be my "media hub", from an older iMac. I already moved my entire iTunes library to an external drive. When connected to my iMac, which was the Mac I used to purchase content originally on my previous Apple ID, thus has all my permissions to play everything I have on iTunes, everything runs. However, that iMac is getting very old, and I need to run my library from a newer machine that is running better. I have a newer MacBook Air that I wish to use as the replacement. However, it does not have those old permission. The problem I think I have is that I cannot log into my old Apple ID because 1) the email account associated with it no longer exists, and 2) my previous Apple ID technically no longer exists, as I simply changed it to the one I have now -- I didn't create a new one. So when I try to log in using my old Apple ID and password, I get the error message "Apple ID does not exist". I am assuming the permission data is stored somewhere on my iMac, but I don't know where or what it looks like. Is it possible to find that data, and move it over to my MacBook? Will it work that way? I have hundreds of dollars worth of media I purchased with my old ID, but my iMac is slowly withering away. I need to be able to operate my library from another machine. Can some one give me instructions on how to get my MacBook to run all of my content?

Cory Cooper

May 19, 2004
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Hello and welcome.

-Which model iMac and what version of OS X and iTunes?
-Which model MacBook Air and what version of OS X/macOS and iTunes?
-Did you simply copy the entire iTunes folder to the external from the iMac?

Normally, when you log into iTunes and authorize a Mac, that data is stored on the Mac in a couple of preference lists and in your keychain. You don't necessarily have to still "own" the email address that you used to signup for the Apple ID, as long as you know the password. The tricky part is that if you don't know the password, and you attempt to reset the password for the Apple ID, one of the choices is to send an email to the account it uses as a recovery email address. If you don;t have access to that account any longer, then that is a dead end. You can use the security questions you associated when creating the Apple ID instead. But another caveat...if you fail to answer them correct a couple of times, it will lock the account, and it becomes extremely difficult to recover it.

I would suggest working directly with Apple on this one, as we would hate to suggest something that permanently locks you out of that Apple ID account. Either try resetting that password at, but only try once. Or, contact Apple Support.



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