How to Backup iTunes Playlists on Mac

Here's a guide to backing up iTunes playlists to your Mac's Finder. There are times when we've simply created the best iTunes playlist for a family event, party mix, or even just great tunes for the gym.

If this playlist is lost, it's usually a good idea to confirm that this track order can be saved for later use. With just a few simple steps, you can save a file from your playlist and make sure you never lose your sacred song order for your playlists!

How to Backup iTunes Playlists on Mac

Here are the steps to export an iTunes playlist order to reuse in iTunes.

How to Export iTunes Playlists

An important note to establish is that this method does not save the actual song files . This method is designed to have the information for these songs and where they are in the playlist. If you lose the songs in the playlist, you'll need to make sure those songs are imported into iTunes before loading your saved playlist.

Save your playlists

In order to export your playlist information for backup or later use you must select the Playlist in your iTunes Sidebar . When you're happy with your playlist order and want to save it, go to the File menu, then Library and choose Export Playlist .

A new dialog box will appear allowing you to choose the Name , location and file type for this playlist. Title the playlist whatever you want, then choose its location on your computer or an external drive if you're backing it up. Choose XML for the file type. Click save .

Export Playlist

If you navigate to your location finder and open the XML file, it may be an alarming site. You are viewing the encoded XML data for your iTunes playlist and you will notice that it does not include any of the actual song files (mp3, m4a). Again, this is a playlist reference designed to find those songs in your larger iTunes library and then draw the tracks into the playlist according to that coded order.

XML file of your reading list

If you want to save the song files as well you will still need this XML file, but you will also need to collect all the individual songs. Create a New Folder and drag all the song files from the playlist into iTunes to copy them . Include the XML export in this folder, then right-click the folder and select Compress . This will create a .Zip *: frencharchive for your Playlist and will be fully functional in case you lose your library.

If you're not concerned about music from iTunes because it potentially comes from Apple Music or iCloud Music Library , you'll probably still have access to those tracks. In this case, your custom playlist XML file is the only step you need to take to back up your playlists.

In order to import one of these exported playlists, navigate again to the File Menu, Library then choose Import Playlist . It will search for the files required by the XML export, then within moments your playlist should reappear assembled and ready to go.

Compressed copy of songs and playlist

If you'd like to share exported playlists with friends, you just need to make sure they have a copy of the songs you're using in your playlist. Alternatively, you can send them the compressed archive you may have made earlier. Make sure they won't have issues with iTunes permissions before sending your files.

Playlists have become a very integral part of iTunes culture over the years, taking over for mixing tapes and CDs and I feel they should be able to be preserved and revisited just like those methods. It's a great way to keep the order of the songs that worked so well for you in that playlist and be able to enjoy them for years to come.