How to Recover Your iTunes Music After a Hard Drive Crash

Recover iTunes After a Hard Drive Crash
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Your computer's hard drive crashing can be a big problem, especially if you lose data. The loss of sensitive, one-of-a-kind items like photos and personal documents can be heartbreaking. Losing a music library that took years and hundreds or thousands of dollars to assemble can really sting.

Depending on your situation, though, you may not have lost of your music. Once you've got a new hard drive, these four options can help you recover your iTunes music after a hard drive crash.

1. Restore From a Backup

Responsible computer use includes making regular backups of your important data. It’s not something all computer users do, and it can be a hassle, but it's exactly this sort of situation where it pays dividends.

If you've been making regular backups of your data, specifically your music library, recovery from a crash can be pretty simple. Just follow the instructions in this article: How to Restore iTunes From Backup On An External Hard Drive.

If you don't have a backup of your data, try the next option—and start backing up your data!

2. Use Your iPhone

If you sync your entire music library to your iPhone, that's almost as good as having a full backup of your data. Depending on what apps you use for things like podcasts and audiobooks, your iPhone or other iOS device should contain most or all of your music.

If that's the case, you just need to get a program that will let you copy content from your iPhone back to iTunes.

Read How to Recover iTunes After a Hard Drive Crash Using Your iPhone for more detailed instructions.

If your iPhone only contains part of your iTunes library, but you've purchased the items that weren't on it from iTunes, the next two options may work for you.

3. Use iTunes Match

This option only works if you subscribe to iTunes Match (US$25/year), but if you do, it's a great solution to your problem.

iTunes Match works by scanning your iTunes library and creating an exact copy of it in the cloud. That copy can be synced to other devices or, as in the case of a hard drive crash, downloaded to your primary device to replace lost files.

You'll need to have had the iTunes Match subscription, and have matched your files, prior to the crash, but if you did that, just re-install iTunes, sign in with your Apple ID, and then follow the instructions from Using iTunes Match with iTunes.

It's worth noting that iTunes Match only works with music, not podcasts or iBooks purchases. But, luckily, the next option on the list has you covered there.

4. Use iCloud

One of the best features of iCloud is that it retains a record of every single thing you've ever bought or downloaded from the iTunes Store. That means it stores all of your songs, TV and movie purchases, apps, and books. Even better: you can redownload all of those items from your account for free!

This technique won't let you recover things you didn't get from iTunes—songs ripped from CD or bought at another online store, movies ripped from DVD, etc.—but it's better than nothing if all of the other options on this list haven't worked for you.

To learn more about this option, read Using iCloud to Redownload from iTunes.

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