How To Resolve iTunes Library.Itl Error

After using iTunes for any length time you will then encounter ‘The file iTunes Library.itl cannot be read’ errors. The error usually occurs after an upgrade or when you’ve reloaded iTunes onto the latest PC or laptop. iTunes stops accessing your library whenever the error occurs.

The error looks to be occurred by a mismatch between library files. As mentioned earlier, it can also occur when switching iTunes to the latest PC or when backing up an old backup of your library. The issue occurs when iTunes erased the App Store for a while and many users downgraded their iTunes model to bring it back. Any library files created with the latest model of iTunes can’t work once those users rolled back to the earlier version.

The complete syntax can be ‘The file iTunes Library.itl cannot be read because it was created by a newer version of iTunes.’ As it provides gives us a clue as to what happened. Come let’s check how to resolve it if you see it. This error occurs on both Mac or Windows so I’ll cover both.

How To Resolve ‘The File iTunes Library.Itl Cannot Be Read’ Error On Mac

File iTunes Library.Itl

If you want to resolve the error reading iTunes Library.itl, you first have to erase the older model of iTunes and install the latest variant. You can then continue or retry the repair.

Step 1:

Erase the older model of iTunes from your Mac and then install the new version.

Step 2:

After using iCloud, stop your Wifi connection during the following steps. This secures any problems with syncing while you are repairing your iTunes library.

Step 3:

Then choose the Command+Shift+G and input ~/Music/iTunes/ to open the iTunes folder.

Step 4:

Then specify the name of iTunes Library.itl to iTunes Library.old within the iTunes folder.

Step 5:

Now navigate to the earlier iTunes Libraries and then copy the new library file. They include the date along with the filename.

Step 6:

Simply paste the file in Music/iTunes/ and again rename it to ‘iTunes Library.itl’.

Step 7:

Head over to the iTunes and retest.

After specifying the file name to .old is an IT tech technique of keeping the real file just in case. The filename isn’t used by anything else so we can then maintain the integrity of the file without interrupting operation. If anything went wrong here, we can then rename the .old file to what it was and we are back where we begin.

Resolve ‘The File iTunes Library.Itl Cannot Be Read’ Errors In Windows

iTunes Library error on Windows

If you match or mix your OS, then the Windows model of iTunes work perfectly well. Still, it suffers from the same error whenever you roll back your iTunes model and then trigger the same error. Here’s how to resolve it.

Step 1:

Erase the older model of iTunes from your PC and install the latest version.

Step 2:

Now head over to your Music folder then open the iTunes folder.

Step 3:

Now locate the iTunes Library.itl. If you don’t see it, choose View within Explorer and choose Hidden Items.

Step 4:

Then rename iTunes Library.itl to iTunes Library.old.

Step 5:

Head over to the earlier iTunes Libraries folder and copy the new library file. In Windows, the same date format exists.

Step 6:

All you need is to paste the file into the iTunes folder and specify the name to ‘iTunes Library.itl’.

Step 7:

Then open the iTunes and then retest.

Now, whenever you open iTunes everything works fine. However, your library must load and you can easily access all your media as normal.

Do You Have Previous iTunes Libraries Folder Or Files?

Well, I have seen many cases where there hasn’t been a Previous iTunes Libraries files or folders within that folder. As it can happen but I have no idea why. It isn’t a problem though. It happens whenever you rename your current .itl file to .old – initiate iTunes and you will start with no library.

Whenever iTunes can sync from your Mac, it should install your library from Time Machine or iCloud. You might have to wait a while as everything syncs properly. But it’ll happen and you’ll get back to your library.

Windows users can also be able to get the files back too. As it depends on how you restore your PC. After using Windows 10 File History or have a System Restore Point, it might be worth checking there. Well, iTunes can’t sync or automatically restore on Windows PCs. If you’re reading this, then its too late but if you don’t have a recovery option for iTunes on your Windows PC, now would be the best time to set one up!


That’s how to resolve ‘The file iTunes Library.itl cannot be read’ errors on Windows or Mac. It’s a complicated error but can be fixed easily.

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