Does reinstalling iTunes erase your library?

Quick Answer

Reinstalling iTunes does not automatically erase your iTunes library or delete any of your music, movies, apps, or other content. As long as you don’t delete the iTunes folder on your computer where your library is stored, your library will remain intact after reinstalling iTunes.

Detailed Answer

Your iTunes library consists of your music, movies, apps, and other content purchased or added through iTunes. This library is stored in a folder on your computer rather than within the iTunes application itself. So when you reinstall iTunes, such as when upgrading to a new version, the iTunes application is replaced but your library folder remains untouched.

By default, the iTunes folder that contains your library is located here:





Where “USERNAME” is your user account name on that computer.

This folder contains critical iTunes library files like:

  • iTunes Library.itl – Tracks your iTunes library contents
  • iTunes Media – Contains your media files like songs, movies, apps
  • iTunes Library Genius.idb – Stores Genius data

As long as you do not manually delete this iTunes folder and these library files, they will remain undisturbed when reinstalling the iTunes app.

However, there are a few caveats to keep in mind:

If you install a newer version of iTunes

When you upgrade iTunes to a newer version, the new version may update the iTunes library format. This renders the old library files incompatible. In this case, iTunes will create a new iTunes folder and iTunes Library file after you open it for the first time. It will attempt to reimport your media content automatically from the old library location.

If you uninstall iTunes improperly

On Windows, using a basic “uninstall” option to remove iTunes could delete parts of your iTunes folder, including your library files. To avoid this, use the Apple-provided “iTunes Uninstall Tool” to safely remove iTunes on a Windows PC. This tool leaves your iTunes media and data intact.

If you change library storage locations

If you moved your iTunes library location prior to reinstalling, you will need to relocate it again in the reinstalled version of iTunes using the advanced preferences. iTunes will not be able to find and automatically import a library that is not in the default location.

Will reinstalling iTunes on Windows delete my music?

Reinstalling iTunes on your Windows PC will not delete your music or any other iTunes media, as long as you do not allow any files in the iTunes folder to be removed during the reinstallation.

By default, your Windows iTunes library, including your music files, is stored here:


The “iTunes Media” folder found here contains all your songs, albums, and other media. As long as you keep this folder intact when reinstalling or upgrading iTunes, your music will remain untouched.

Some additional tips for preserving your music when reinstalling iTunes on Windows:

– Use the official Apple iTunes Uninstall Tool to fully remove iTunes. This will leave your library and music files alone.

– Decline any prompts to delete files or remove Apple software components during the reinstallation.

– Make sure you have not changed the default iTunes Media folder location before reinstalling.

– After reinstalling, launch iTunes and go to Preferences > Advanced to relocate your library if needed.

With a few simple precautions, you can feel safe reinstalling iTunes without having to worry about wiped music libraries. Just be careful not to manually delete files in your iTunes folder at any point.

Will reinstalling iTunes on Mac delete my music?

Similar to Windows, reinstalling the iTunes app on your Mac will not delete any of your iTunes music or media files.

By default, your Mac iTunes library is located here:


As long as you do not disturb this iTunes folder and contents during the reinstallation process, all your iTunes music, movies, apps, and other media will remain intact after you reinstall iTunes.

Here are some tips for avoiding music library deletion when reinstalling iTunes on a Mac:

– Use the official Apple Uninstaller tool to fully remove iTunes before reinstalling. Do not just drag iTunes to the Trash.

– When reinstalling iTunes, decline any requests to move files to the Trash or remove components.

– Do not manually delete any files or folders within the /Users/USERNAME/Music/iTunes/ folder.

– If you previously moved your iTunes Library to an external drive or new location, you will need to relocate it again within the new iTunes preferences.

– After reinstalling iTunes, open it and go to iTunes > Preferences > Advanced to relocate your library if needed.

Following these best practices will ensure your iTunes music, apps, and other media are not disturbed when you upgrade or reinstall iTunes on your Mac. Just leaving the iTunes folder intact guarantees your library stays put.

Does reinstalling iTunes delete playlists?

Reinstalling the iTunes application will not delete any playlists you have created. iTunes playlists are stored within your iTunes library database files rather than the app itself.

As long as you do not disturb your core iTunes library files when reinstalling iTunes, your iTunes playlists will be preserved. These critical library files are located in the default iTunes folder path:





The key files that store your iTunes playlists are:

– iTunes Library.itl – Tracks all library contents including playlists

– iTunes Library.xml – Contains playlist data

– iTunes Library Genius.idb – Stores Genius playlists

So unless you manually delete these files or the entire iTunes folder, your custom iTunes playlists will remain intact when you reinstall, upgrade or restore iTunes.

You may need to locate or relink the iTunes Library after reinstalling iTunes if you moved it from its default location. But once connected, iTunes will regain access to those original playlists.

Also keep in mind that playlists created on iOS devices like iPhones will not be lost either. These are synced with your iTunes Library, so they will be restored after reinstalling as long as you still have the library files.

Does restoring iTunes delete everything?

Restoring your copy of iTunes to factory default settings does not actually delete any of your iTunes media or library data. A restore simply resets the iTunes application preferences and settings.

Your music, movies, apps, playlists and other iTunes library content is stored outside of the app configuration files in a separate iTunes folder location.

So restoring iTunes will not erase or delete any of the following:

– Your imported media files – songs, movies, TV shows, etc.

– Playlists, both iTunes playlists and device synced playlists

– iTunes Store content – apps, books, music

– iTunes account and store settings

– Synced iOS device backups

After restoring iTunes, you would simply need to reconfigure any custom settings. You may also need to reconnect or relink your iTunes Media folder if you had moved it from its default location.

In summary, no libraries or data will be erased when restoring iTunes. A factory restore only resets the app itself and does not touch files stored outside of the app.

Does reinstalling iTunes delete imported music?

Music and other media you’ve imported into your iTunes library is stored in your iTunes Media folder, separate from the iTunes application files. Therefore, reinstalling iTunes does not delete or erase any imported music.

Your iTunes Media folder containing your imported music, movies, TV shows, and more is typically located here by default on each computer type:


C:\Users\USERNAME\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\


/Users/USERNAME/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/

As long as you do not manually delete this iTunes Media folder during the reinstallation process, all your imported media will remain accessible after you reinstall iTunes.

Some tips for keeping imported media intact when reinstalling:

– Use the official iTunes Uninstall tool provided by Apple, rather than deleting iTunes files manually.

– Decline any requests to delete components or move files to the Trash when prompted during reinstallation.

– Do not change the location of your iTunes Media folder before reinstalling.

– After reinstalling, relink your iTunes Media folder if needed in Preferences.

– Allow iTunes time after reinstalling to locate media files and reimport any that are missing.

Following these best practices will ensure your imported music, as well as any other media content added to your iTunes library, will remain intact when you upgrade or reinstall the app. The media files themselves are untouched by the process.

Does reinstalling iTunes delete App Store apps?

Apps downloaded from the App Store are not deleted when you reinstall or upgrade iTunes. App Store apps are stored within your iTunes library folder, separate from the actual iTunes application files.

As long as you do not manually remove the iTunes library folder and contents during the reinstallation process, all App Store apps you have downloaded will remain intact.

By default, Apps Store apps are stored here within your library:


C:\Users\USERNAME\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications\


/Users/USERNAME/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Mobile Applications/

Some tips for keeping your App Store apps after an iTunes reinstall:

– Use the official Apple uninstall tool to remove iTunes without deleting library files.

– Decline requests to delete components or files when prompted during reinstallation.

– Do not relocate your iTunes Media folder prior to reinstalling.

– After reinstalling, verify apps are still in Mobile Applications folder.

– If needed, relink apps folder location in new iTunes preferences.

While apps may need to be redownloaded if they appear missing after reinstalling, your App Store purchase history and rights remain intact. So you can always redownload any purchased apps if needed.

In summary, App Store apps are stored safely outside of the iTunes program files, and are not impacted by reinstalling the app.

Does restoring iTunes delete iOS backups?

Restoring iTunes to factory default settings does not delete or erase any iOS backups that are stored on your computer.

iTunes backups for your iPhone, iPad, and other iOS devices are stored in a separate folder location outside of the iTunes app files. So resetting or restoring iTunes does not affect these backup folders or delete their contents.

By default, iOS device backups are stored here:




/Users/USERNAME/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/

Restoring iTunes also does not delete your MobileSync preferences or settings. So after a restore, iTunes will continue finding and listing any existing device backups as before.

You may need to relink or choose your iOS backup location again in iTunes Preferences after a restore. But all backup data will continue to exist untouched.

The only impact of restoring iTunes itself is having to reconfigure app settings. Your iOS backups and synced data remain intact and will still be accessible and restorable after factory resetting iTunes.

Does deleting iTunes delete everything?

Permanently deleting iTunes from your computer does have the potential to also delete your iTunes library content and media files. This depends on how exactly iTunes is removed.

When using the official Apple iTunes Uninstall tool, only the app itself and program files are erased. Your libraries, media, backups and other data are left alone.

However, improperly deleting iTunes folders manually or allowing uninstall wizards to delete components could result in library files and media being deleted as well.

Some key iTunes folders at risk during improper deletion:


– C:\Users\USERNAME\Music\iTunes\ – Contains iTunes library and media.
– C:\Program Files\iTunes\ – Program install files.
– C:\Users\USERNAME\Apple\MobileSync\ – iOS backup location.


– /Users/USERNAME/Music/iTunes/ – iTunes library and media.
– /Applications/ – The iTunes app bundle.
– /Users/USERNAME/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/ – iOS backups.

So while properly uninstalling iTunes through Apple will not touch your libraries or data, deleting associated folders manually could erase your content. Be very careful when permanently deleting iTunes to avoid inadvertently removing anything other than the application itself.

Backing up your full iTunes folder beforehand, or copying media files to external storage, can provide an additional layer of protection when planning to uninstall iTunes.


In most cases, reinstalling, upgrading or restoring iTunes will not result in any data loss or library deletions. iTunes media content, playlists, iOS backups and other data is stored outside of the iTunes application bundle, and is left untouched by the reinstallation process.

The most risk occurs when manually deleting iTunes files and folders without care, which can inadvertently remove libraries and media. Using the official Apple uninstall process, and being careful not to disturb library storage locations, will ensure your iTunes collections remain intact when reinstalling the app. Just do not allow any files to be deleted outside of the iTunes program folder itself.