macOS Catalina public beta doesn’t support multiple iTunes libraries

By

Goodbye iTunes.
Just avoid Catalina for now.
Photo: Apple

We’ve explained why it’s really not a great idea to update to the iOS 13 and iPadOS public betas right now — and the same goes for macOS Catalina. Not only is it unstable in its current form, but some things don’t work properly.

One of those is multiple iTunes libraries. As things stand, you will have access to only one. And if it’s not the right one when you first install Catalina, there’s nothing you can do about it.

In existing versions of macOS, it’s possible to store and access a bunch of different iTunes libraries. Switching between them is as easy as holding down the Option key when you open iTunes, then selecting the library you want.

This is incredibly handy for those who share a Mac with other family members. It’s also useful if you want to store your music locally, but offload movies and TV shows to another library on an external drive.

But switching libraries doesn’t work in Catalina right now.

Choose the right library first

Whether you’re running the public beta or one of the two developer builds, you’re stick with the library you have.

So, it’s important to remember to select the iTunes library you want to use before updating to macOS Catalina, Apple explains in a new support document. You can do this by following the steps mentioned above.

The library you have selected will be the library you have access to — the only library you have access to — after your machine has been updated. You cannot change your selection after updating.

Your other iTunes libraries will remain stored wherever you saved them, and you should be able to switch between them again in future Catalina betas. But for now, this functionality simply isn’t possible.

Don’t use Catalina just yet

Apple doesn’t specify when library switching will return, so we’ll just have to keep an eye on the changes in its upcoming betas. If you can, it’s best to just avoid macOS Catalina for now.

Just because the beta is public now, it doesn’t mean it’s suitable for everyone. Catalina shouldn’t be installed on a primary Mac you rely on every day — only on secondary machines you can live without when things go wrong.