The Easy Way to Automatically Update Your iTunes Library

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Anyone will attest to the fact that there is a list of simple features missing from the formidable iTunes. Its inability to automatically upload new music to your library has been at the top of my personal list. It wasn’t until recently that I became aware that this feature has been available since iTunes 9! (we are now on version 10).

I figure that if I, a self-proclaimed tech-a-holic, had no idea that automatic uploading from a watched folder in iTunes was possible, there must be other people out there who are just as clueless as I once was. And so I wrote this quick guide.

Previously, when you downloaded that totally rad new album via BitTorrent you would have to drag and drop it into iTunes. Boring! This outdated method of updating your music library is atrocious, and every other media player in this big, wide world is capable of auto-updating.

Well, there is actually a folder located inside your iTunes Media folder labeled Automatically Add to iTunes.

Auto-Update Folder in iTunes

OSX: ~ / Music / iTunes / iTunes Media / Automatically Add to iTunes /

Windows: C:\Users\Your Username\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Automatically Add to iTunes\).

This aforementioned folder is watched by iTunes and any new music that’s added to this folder is automatically added to your iTunes library. It’s like magic! I quivered with glee when I first saw it happen, and I am not embarrassed to say that.

So, from now on, you could directly add your music to this folder. Give it a shot! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Show archived comments (44)

Archived Comments

  1. Dennis F. says:

    When all else fails, RTFM.

  2. glfrancisco says:

    So why would you keep your music in any other folder? Therefore why not watch the iTunes music folder or any nominated folder for that matter. I didnt know about this folder and I’m glad I now do, but I want all my music in one place so I can manage it, ie back it up, keep it tidy. Nice to have it, but IMHO this is a fail. I will use it however.

    • Xps says:

      If you’re like me, you keep all downloaded stuff in one specific folder. After scanning for malware, I then move it to its appropriate location, iTunes folder in this case. I can see this being useful to some, but I prefer organizing all my downloads first before using them with other apps.

  3. Andrew Kalinchuk says:

    The way I use it is that I have my BitTorrent client automatically save my downloads to the Automatically Add to iTunes folder, just to save myself the hassle of adding all of the songs to iTunes manually. I understand what you all mean though, about wanting to organize your music yourself. It is nice to have control over your own stuff! This is more of a feature for people that are married to iTunes and are still madly in love.

  4. josh says:

    Im trying to see if i can add a shortcut in the folder so it will check that folder and add the music. (ie I have a folder called “music” that i want to put in the “automatically add to itunes” folder without having to copy all my music into that folder. Hopefully it works! If not they should implement that in at least.

    • sasse says:

      did that work? ‘cos I was also wondering that it’s awful job to transfer all musics in that folder AND my musics are in other hard drive which has enough capacity for my music.

      • josh says:

        didn’t work

        • Dennis F. says:

          You might try writing a batch file that runs on command. Open the folder that the MP3s are d/l to, then copy everything to the “automatically add to iTunes ” folder. iTunes would take over from there when you run it.

  5. Gruvytune says:

    I would suggest downloading Itunes Library Updater program. do a search. its a few yrs old but still works great!

  6. rob says:

    This seems like it would be all fine and good…if i kept my 300+gigabytes of music on my COMPUTER, and not my EXTERNAL hard drive.

    • TrT says:

      I’ve got to agree with rob, rather useless if you have a large amount of music.

      • Me says:

        I also agree here.
        Having all of my music on a Synology NAS (with Itunes Server enabled), whenever I add music by copying the folder onto the NAS, the .itl isn’t updated!
        What a hazzle!

    • Ronald Ho Hip says:

      Doesn’t this work when you change the location of your iTunes Media folder location in iTunes preferences?

  7. Bob says:

    Agree with Rob
    Itunes is retarded. Moving files around in your mp3 folders messes the library up with no rescan option..ridiculous.
    I really like using media monkey. I don’t even use the library i just browse to my mp3 folder which has everything neatly organized into subdirs etc etc.
    As if i would keep my entire collection of mp3’s in the user folder…Derp.

  8. Derryn says:

    is there not a registry key which determines where iTunes looks for the “automatically add to itunes” folder?
    Why has iTunes not done this? to prevent piracy? ugh!

  9. Daniel Parnell says:

    File -> Add Folder to Library, select your music folder.

    It’ll rescan that folder, and add anything new.

    • Nothing says:

      Yea, thats great and thats how i always did it. But after a while it makes duplicates in you library

      • Daniel Parnell says:

        I’ve only found that it makes duplicates if you rename the file, and since the file name is just the song title on my computer, I’ve never run into this issue.

    • meh says:

      You have to “show menu bar” to do this. Works.

      • Mike says:

        Thanks, this tip was the key. Enabling “Show Menu Bar” gives you access to the “add folder” command in addition to the “add file” available under the compact menu. Great.

  10. Marie Webb1 says:

    Thank you so much, you are fab!

  11. Freeze says:

    Hi to All

    Look also on this Site:

    A very good Tool and it works with Watch Folders

  12. Good to know but this is in my opinion isn’t near good enough. What if I want all my music folcers in a different folder? Now I’ll have 2 music folders. This isn’t of any help, especially when I am using an external hd where my music folder is stored

  13. I hate iTunes with a passion for the lack of auto-updating, you can’t edit files in iTunes either… grrrr

  14. Amoore7444 says:

    Where do I find or access the area to type in this c:Usersyour user nameMusiciTunes MediaAutomatically Add to iTunes). Also, what user name do I use, my iPod name?, (I don’t know where to find it, I know on the side panel it’s listed as Tonys iPod. Also, does this info have to be entered case sensitive as you have it listed, including the the ). SORRY so many questions but I call myself a friendly Idiot savant :) Thanks for ANY help and guidence!!! Anthony Moore. [email protected] Tony Moore

  15. Amoore7444 says:

    I should have noted I’m trying to add music from my Rdio app from my iPod Touch to my iTunes library, I don’t know if that makes any difference??

  16. Zhu Hang says:

    This dont work! Be careful when u do this. Make a backup first.
    I end up all my music consolidated by iTunes and ruined my whole music collection. The files are now break into folders… And you cant undo the move.
    Moreover, iTunes music doesn’t get updated but all the files removed.
    Now i have to find a way to get back my music arrangement.

  17. Sting534 says:

    If you think about it, what is the difference of adding media to the folder “automatically add to library” or just adding to library. It’s a redundant feature and it doesn”t come close to replacing wmp’s ability to scan which ever folders you ask it to and add to library. Common Apple!

  18. I was ready to give up on my iPhone because of music transfer issues (not all of us want to pay double through the iStore) but this makes it almost okay. THANK YOU!!!!! Like for real. Why doesn’t Apple make the user aware of this folder from the get go?

  19. Yardie says:

    wow (sarcastic)…really?! who came up with that? I agree with Sting534, this is redundant and not userfriendly. My problem is, that when i delete music on my computer i don’t want to have to delete it again in itunes or be told the song wasn’t found. It should be gone. Zune on the other hand does a very good job.

    • Boi says:

      I have to say, I use the zune player for music and it is by far the best player out there, more user friendly than itunes. The only reason I use itunes is to upload music onto my phone.

  20. Ed O'Shea says:

    That is the dumbest thing I ever heard of. Now you have music sitting in your “automatic” folder and a copy in your itunes folder. I hope you don’t like having hard drive space. I want to be able to put music into my music folder and just hit an update button, Winamp kicks itunes ass

  21. Niels says:

    How hard is it to drag a song to you itunes window?

  22. obzelite says:

    typical apple really, telling you want to you need rather than listening to what users want. Yeah my ipad and iphone look fucking awesome, but trying to update them with new music is just fucking torture. I’m over it. had a fucking spack at this bullshit today and i’m going back to nokia and the 920 when it comes out.

  23. Dave says:

    In other words they have replaced the drag and drop with another drag and drop – I can really see the improvement their – it’s like a new age of technology

  24. Blimmy says:

    I don’t know how much this helps anyone, but if you delete your entire music library (without deleting the files themselves) iTunes 11 will prompt you to rescan your computer. I haven’t tried to add a single folder at this point however, this might be worth trying.

  25. Well, it took it about 5 minutes. I had over 800 songs. But, it updated perfectly fine.

  26. murrayzz1 says:

    iTunes is a pisspoor piece of software. Simple things like uploading new music and refreshing the library after making changes outside of iTunes are mind-bendlingly complex and time-consuming to achieve.

  27. Rajeev Jangid says:

    just select the songs you want to refresh and right click -> “Reset Plays”

  28. mowglie says:

    how convenient.

  29. ★Yuki Sakine says:

    Just use MPC-HC really. It’s the best soundwise

  30. Tauwie says:

    100% agreed on that Yardie… itunes is just too stupid and “fool fool” to me. and is not quite equipped for my expertise!!!! laugh a lot ‘lal’….