Troubleshooting iTunes on Mac

iTunes is OS X’s built-in application for managing and playing music and video files, as well as for transferring digital media from a computer to an iPod or iPhone. You may have to troubleshoot a handful of problems that you may run into when running iTunes on the Mac.

Troubleshooting iTunes on Your Mac

The iPhone Is Linked to Another iTunes Library Message

iTunes may display a message The iPhone (followed by the iPhone name) is linked to another iTunes library. In this case changes are that you have plugged the wrong iPhone, The dialogue box will offer to change this device’s allegiance from the current computer this iPhone is linked to, to the Mac you are using. If you do not want to change the computer, click the No button and check which the iPhone you are using before synchronizing it.

Eject a Lost CD

If you use CD or DVD, sometimes Mac OS X seems to lose track of them after attempting to eject the disc. It is if the eject mechanism fails to get a grip on the CD and push it out, but the commands get executed anyway, so that Mac OS X believes it has ejected the CD even though the disc is still in the drive.

When this happens, you probably won’t be able to eject the CD or DVD by issuing another Eject command from iTunes, but it is worth trying that first. If the attempt does not work, use Disk Utility to eject the “lost disk”. To do so, follow these wise instructions:

  • Press Command – Shift – U or choose Go – Utilities from the Finder menu to display the Utilities folder.
  • Next double-click the Disk Utility item to run it.
  • Select the icon for the CD drive or the CD itself in the list box.
  • Don’t hesitate to hit the Eject button.
  • Press Command-Q or choose Disk Utility – Quit Disk Utility to quit Disk Utility.

If that does not work, you may need to force your Mac to recognize the drive. If it is an external drive (for example, FireWire or USB) try unplugging the drive, waiting a minute, and then plugging it back in. If the drive is an internal drive, you may need to restart your Mac to force it to recognize the drive.

If the disc is still stuck in your Mac’s internal optical drive, follow as many of these steps as necessary to eject it:

  • Restart your beloved Mac.
  • If it is too hung to restart by conventional means, gently press the unfortunate Reset button (if your Mac has one, of course) or press the combination Command-Ctrl-Power. As soon as you hear that solemn system startup sound, hold down the mouse button and wait until your Mac finishes booting. With any luck this operation may eject the disc.
  • Now restart your machine again. Do you remember what you have done recently? Yes!, that’s right, if the computer is too hung to restart by conventional means, do not wait and press the Reset button (or you can press the combination of Command-Ctrl-Power). At the system startup nice sound, hold down the combination of four keys – Command-Option-O-F – to boot the device on the Open Firmware mode.
  • Then type eject CD and press return. If everything works, the CD drive opens, but if not, you may see the sad message “Read of block failed. Can’t OPEN the Eject device.” Either way, just type mac-boot and press Return to reboot the unfortunate Mac.
  • Finally, if Open Firmware mode refuses to fix the problem, the only solution is to take your beloved, but tired Mac to a service shop.

You Do Not Have Enough Access Privileges When Importing Songs

Sometimes you can see a message like this: Error occurred while converting the file (followed by the name of the file). You do not have enough access privileges for this operation.

This may occur when you have moved the iTunes Media folder to a shared location, but you don’t have Write permission to it. The administrator can certainly fix the issue, but he or she must assign Write permission for the iTunes Media folder to whoever received this error.

Audio Stops When iTunes Starts Playing Another Song

Sometimes iTunes plays audio just fine. Suddenly, when it starts playing another song, the audio stops. The lack of sound usually suggests that there’s something wrong with the song file. Start by double-clicking the song to restart it, and with any luck, you will hear the song. You can also press Command-L combination or choose View-Go To Current Song to display the song you are listening to. Then double-click it. If restarting the song does not start the audio again, just restart iTunes.

iTunes Runs the Warning You Are Out of Hard-Disk Space on Your Mac

Suppose you decide to add files to your library. In this case iTunes can copy them to your library folder and thus you will have all the files comfortably available in one place. Having them gathered there is useful, as your MacBook’s hard disk will contain copies of all the musical and video files stored on network drives, so you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy them even when your computer is not connected to the global network. Note that in the end all the files accumulated can be more voluminous and need more disk space than is available on your Mac’s hard disk.

Note also that if you store these files on your hard drive, but use folders other than your library folder, you can choose one of the three choices offered:

You can choose the option File-Library-Organize Library. Once there, select the Consolidate Files check box. In that box click the OK button, and iTunes will obediently copy files to your library.

However, keep in mind that this option doubles the amount of space on your drive the files take up.

Usually it is the worst choice (but some users may want redundant copies of these files in their library, and although these cases are rare, you can experiment using this approach).

The second choice is really much more interesting: you can have iTunes store references to the files rather than store copies of them. If the files you need to store are in your library folder, this may be the most elegant solution. Just clear the Copy files To iTunes Media Folder When Adding To Library check box on the Advanced tab in the Preferences dialogue box.

And finally it is possible to move your library to the folder that contains your preferred files. This is the most convenient solution if the library does not contain any files.

Note that when you choose to consolidate your library, but your Mac does not have enough disk space, iTunes will display the following message to alert you to the problem: There is not enough room on Macintosh HD to copy all of the requested files.

If this message shows on, click the OK button to dismiss this message box – iTunes gives you no other choice. Worse, when you click the OK button, iTunes goes ahead and tries to copy all the files anyway.

This is a bad idea, so stop the copying process as soon as you can. To stop the process, quit iTunes by pressing Command-Q or by choosing iTunes – Quit iTunes. If you can not quit iTunes gently, force quit the feature: Option-click the iTunes icon in the Dock, and then choose Force Quit from the shortcut menu. If this fails, press Command – Option – Esc to display the Force Quit dialogue box, click the entry for iTunes, and then click the Force Quite button.

Once you have done this, remove the files you have just copied to your library from the folder.

Unfortunately, Mac OS X maintains the Date Created Information from the original files on the copies made by the consolidation, so you can not search for the files by date created on the Mac the way you can on Windows.

Your best bet is to search by date created to identify the folders that iTunes has just created in your library folder so that you can delete them and their contents. This approach will get all of the consolidated songs and videos that iTunes put into folders that already existed in your library.

For example, let’s assume that the song file Summertime Sadness.m4a has been duly stored in your well organized library with all the correct tags. In this case your library will contain a Lana-del-Rey (or something like The Cute Singer Lana) folder. Suppose that you then take the decision to consolidate your “disciplined” library so that other songs from Lana’s album are copied there. In this case the files your are trying to have in your library will go straight into the existing folder.

Consequently, your search will change to the date of the consolidation. But you will need to drill down into each modified folder to find those badly needed song files added to that folder.

To search for the new folders created in your library:

  • Open a Finder window and head to the folder containing your iTunes Media folder. Let’s show an example: Click the Finder icon in the Column View on the Dock. Then find and hit the Music item in the Sidebar. Now proceed to the iTunes folder, and once in that folder click the iTunes Media folder. If you are not sure about the folder you are in, go to the Advanced tab in iTunes Preferences dialogue box and look there for answers.
  • Now press the Command-F combination. You can also choose File – Find option to display the Search bar. Then click the iTunes Media button you will easily find there to tell Mac OS X that it should search in that folder.
  • Look for the top search line, and set up this condition Find: Folders. Continue to the second search line, and set up the condition: Created Date Is Today. At this moment Mac OS X searches for folders created today and happily displays a list of them.
  • You can sort the folders by date created, and identify those created during the consolidation by the time of the date. Then you can delete them.
  • Some experts recommend to verify that Trash contains no other files you may care about later, and then empty Trash just to get rid of the surplus files.
  • Remember also that after deleting the files (well, after deleting as many of them as possible), you will need to remove the references from iTunes and add them again from their preconsolidating location before iTunes can play those nice melodies. If and when iTunes discovers that it can’t find a file where it is supposed to be, it reacts with surprise and displays an exclamation point in the first column. The medicine is simple: just delete all the files with exclamation points. Then add the same files to your library again.

See also:

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