Adding multiple profiles to iTunes

July 11th, 2008

So more than one member of your household has an iPod but you only have one computer, so only one installation of iTunes. You don’t want Gloria Estefan’s greatest hits on your iPod and your wife/girlfriend/partner/flatmate doesn’t want want The Buzzcocks’ “Singles Going Steady” on hers.

Up to now, each time you updated your iPods, you have had to go in to iTunes and select/de-select songs depending on what melodies you wanted on your player what crap you didn’t. What a laborious pain in the arse, especially when you go in and find she has just been there and de-selected all of your songs!

Well, I am here to rescue you, but this only works for Windows users. As I don’t own a Mac, I don’t care about you Mac users. Nothing personal. I just have no feelings for you. You can try it though. It might work.

Step 1

Your iTunes libraries are held in the following location: “My Documents\My Music\iTunes”

Copy this folder…

… and rename the copy…

Now you have two iTunes folders and therefore two iTunes libraries.

Step 2

Hold down the SHIFT key… 

(that image is for any technopeasants out there)

THEN click on the iTunes icon…


Click the “Choose Library” button and make sure you are looking at the “My Music” folder.

You will see your original “iTunes” folder and the new “Her iTunes” folder…

Select your original iTunes folder and iTunes will launch itself.
Step 3

In iTunes, check all the songs you want on your iPod and uncheck all the songs you don’t want. Then plug in your iPod and let iTunes update it.

Now repeat steps 2 and 3, but this time select the folder you named “Her iTunes” and plug in her iPod.

Once you have done that, you are now effectively maintaining separate libraries. Now each time you go into your library, you will see that the songs you like are checked, regardless of what she has been doing in her library.

The neat thing about this is that when you copied your original iTunes folder, the actual music files weren’t copied, just the libraries that refer to them, so you don’t end up with two copies of the songs themselves. As you add new songs, they become available to both libraries. You can also have as many libraries as you want.

Don’t forget to back up your iTunes folders now and again.

There you have it, a quick and painless way to manage your libraries for multiple iPods. It’s actually not that easy to find this information on the Web.

You’re welcome.

2 Responses to “Adding multiple profiles to iTunes”

  1. Phyllon 12 Jul 2008 at

    I’m literally updating my iPod from scratch (iTunes crashed and corrupted all my music files in iPod) when I noticed this post. Thanks for the tips!

    What do you think of getting the new 3G iPhone? I’m debating. It’s an expensive toy at US$ 1,800 with the 2 years service contract.

  2. Declan Chellaron 14 Jul 2008 at

    I was debating whether to get the new iPhone but two things stopped me… firstly, and most importantly, you can only use it on certain networks and it seems that they crucify you with fees.
    Secondly, I bought a new phone only last October, so it would have been a bit of an extravagance.
    You’re right, it is an expensive toy!

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