How To Get Media Into iTunes Faster [OS X Tips]

iTunes Easy Add

I’m all for getting my stuff into iTunes more efficiently, aren’t you? Jordan Merrick is, too, and he’s come up with a brilliant way to do just that. He’s also got a great site full of clever tips there as well. Really, go check it out.

The default way, says Merrick, for media to get to iTunes is like this: drag and drop a folder full of music or a video you’ve converted from DVD to iTunes. iTunes takes said media, copies it, and places it into its own special folder structure.

What happens in this case is that you’re left holding two copies of that album or video — one in your iTunes folder and one wherever you pulled it from. That’s kind of silly, if you ask me, especially if you back up regularly. No one needs two copies of anything on their hard drive.

Luckily, there’s a cool folder in your iTunes folder that lets you add stuff directly to iTunes. Sadly, it’s pretty buried, but Merrick will show you a better way.

Open up the Finder, he says, and navigate to the Music folder in your Home folder. Open the iTunes folder, then the iTunes Media folder. You’ll see an folder called Automatically Add to iTunes. Drag this folder over to the sidebar in the Finder for easy access.

Automatically Add to iTunes

Now, every time you want to put music or video into iTunes, simply drag it over to the sidebar and into the Automatically Add to iTunes folder you’ve placed there. iTunes will then add it to its own system.

If it’s not a file that iTunes can handle, the app will place a folder called Not Added into the Automatically Add to iTunes folder that can clean out later.

If you’re truly a purist, like Merrick is (he hates sidebar items that he can’t fully read), you can skip adding the folder to the sidebar, and instead create a Finder service instead that basically does the same thing as above, just not in a folder that might have too long a name for your picky, picky heart the sidebar.

The Instructional has a full explanation on how to do just that over at their original post on this topic.

Thanks, Charlie!

  • PMB01

    And what exactly is so hard about doing the original method and then deleting the original (no longer needed) folder. I do this already and don’t see this method being any better or faster.

    • :)

      You won’t need to delete anything. Just drag and drop in the “add folder”. This is actually better for your HD/SSD as well. The bonus is of course that any incompatible files (such as not supported extensions, images, text files, folders) are left in there, so you can have a quick look what music files should be.

      • PMB01

        Which is why my method gives me more control. Neither is really better for the HD, but mine makes sure I don’t have duplicates.

      • :)

        They both make sure of that. The automated method just makes it easier/faster by not having to delete afterwards.

        Say you use iTunes Match and you just downloaded a music album; all you have to do now is drag it to that folder and let iTunes do its work. You won’t have to delete anything since a duplicate is never made.
        And since there are no duplicaties, it’s better for the HD than the original method. Of course, it’s not a giant difference for just a handful of songs; but the more you duplicate, the more you write and the sooner your HD wears out. So it’ll make a difference the more music you add.

      • PMB01

        Umm, if you just downloaded an album with iTunes Match, it’s already in iTunes!

        But this method also makes no indication if it comes across an item that it can’t put into iTunes, which I would then have to go into that folder anyway. My method isn’t any worse for the hard drive. All you’re doing when you erase the duplicates is basically making it forget they’re there. Those bits are still on the hard drive until they get overwritten with new data. My method simply gives finer control as to what’s going into iTunes, more peace of mind, and it’s quick & easy.

      • :)

        Ah no, I should have phrased that differently. I meant that iTunes Match would start analyzing after iTunes automatically added the *Safari-downloaded* files, but that comment isn’t important.

        I guess you’re right about the incompatible files part. I mostly encounter it with .flac files every once in a while. Still, the manual method would be worse for the HD. Deleting a file may not require overwriting, the duplication itself does require extra writing.

      • PMB01

        Sure it does. But the effect on the overall health of the drive is negligible compared to other uses. If we’re talking about an SSD, those are more limited by the number of writes and still have longer lives than standard HDDs. Your entire argument is inconsequential.

      • :)

        Every bit counts, considering people often have a limited amount of free space and keep overwriting the same areas wearing them down. What other uses do you mean? Movies and such?

      • PMB01

        Any type of editing, photo or video. The cache and temp files your browser is constantly using and creating. Your hard drive is constantly being written to somewhat. Things aren’t always put in the same spot on the hard drive even though it’s in the same folder on your desktop. Like I said, it’s not going to wear down your hard drive any worse than you already are.

  • Darla Mack

    OMG this tip couldn’t have come at a better time for me!! LOL I’ve been racking my brain on how to get my iTunes Media folder music items from my external disk to my new MBP!!

  • syed haris

    Very amazing and nice technique in this tips.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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