How to Access iTunes Music Library in iTunes on Mac or Windows PC

Mar 24, 2019 - 10 Comments


If you open iTunes and expect to access your local music library collection, you might be perplexed when you find that a music library is not immediately visible. Instead, launching modern versions of iTunes goes directly to the iTunes Store. Some iTunes users then attempt to access their iTunes music library by selecting the ‘Music’ dropdown menu but still are unable to find their local music library. Not to worry, if you can’t find your local music collection in iTunes, we’ll show you how to quickly access the local music library in iTunes on the Mac or Windows PC.

Note this tip is for accessing and seeing the full iTunes library within iTunes itself. This is not aiming to access iTunes music files which is discussed here if that’s what your objective is.

How to Access iTunes Music Library in iTunes on a Computer

  1. Open iTunes app
  2. Look near the top of the iTunes window and click on the ‘Library’ button (sometimes this is labeled as “My Music”)
  3. How to access Library in iTunes

  4. This will switch iTunes to the iTunes Library view rather than the iTunes Store
  5. Accessing iTunes library in iTunes

This may sound obvious to some Mac and Windows PC users, but after visiting with someone recently I learned they were convinced their iTunes Music Library had been deleted or vanished. In fact the iTunes Music Library was still there, but because iTunes opened directly to the Store and they kept using the pulldown menu to try and access Music, they stayed stuck in the iTunes Store and never found their actual music library within iTunes. Basically they were unable to find their iTunes Music because they were looking in the wrong part of the app, so don’t go for that menu item to find a library – the dropdown menu chooses the type of content seen (Music, Movies, etc) rather than the library itself:

Cant find iTunes music library because looking in wrong place

This might be a helpful tip for users who rely on iTunes to manage a local music library collection.

A similar difficulty for some iTunes users is when selecting an iPhone or iPad in iTunes, which can be counterintuitive or confusing for some people. Fortunately that is also quite simple. Sometimes simply learning how to do things reveals just how easy it is, even if the task is not initially obvious.

Older versions of iTunes defaulted to launching directly to a users local music library, but that behavior changed with modern iTunes releases which now default to opening directly to the iTunes Store instead.

Remember this is for interacting with an iTunes Library in iTunes itself. If you need to gain access to the actual audio files from iTunes you can follow these instructions to find iTunes files, or you can simply navigate to the iTunes library location as discussed here.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iTunes, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


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  1. Robert Bock says:

    I paid for all these songs. I bought the CDs, I paid for the Apple iTunes songs downloaded and a lot else. And now you won’t let me hear them without signing up to something? Totally corrupt corporate practice. I’ll find another way to hear my music and it will not be dealing with you.

  2. Julie williams says:

    I can’t even get my iTunes on my Mac desktop to open past the “checking iTunes library” bar. Something weird is going going on here. I have a 10 year old Mac and it’s frustrating me.

  3. Oscar says:

    The article is inaccurate. iTunes will open to whatever you were using when you close it down. For instance, if you are using your library, and quit, next time you open iTunes it will go directly to the library. Currently using iTunes

  4. Roger says:

    I have just found after many years of downloading books on Cd, I suddenly can’t move it from my I mac I Tunes file to my I Phone I tunes library (playlists).
    Can anyone shed any light on how to do this?

    • TN says:

      Try this to get your CD music or audiobook CD material that has been copied to iTunes onto an iPhone:

      – Create a playlist in iTunes containing the CD material

      – Connect the iPhone to the computer with iTunes

      – Sync that playlist from iTunes to the iPhone

      Drag and drop of audio onto the iPhone works only if you have the ‘manually manage music’ setting enabled in iTunes

  5. John Murdin says:

    Absolutely David!

    Big Brother!!!!!!!!

  6. David Watts says:

    Begs the question ‘ Why was it changed the first place ? ‘

  7. John Murdin says:

    It feels as if they’re constantly trying to confuse us!

    I have a problem with iTunes that you may be able to help with…

    I use iTunes to maintain my audiobook collection – mostly plays etc that I have recorded on air or on catch up…. until a couple of iTunes versions ago everything was easy to organize – using Author and Chapter heading for the title of the recording – visible in the right order (Author then Title) in both views….
    But then Apple updated and the organization was totally mixed up but was the way Apple liked it!

    Does anyone else have the same problem – or know of a fix?

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