iTunes Library file cannot be saved

[I’m using a WD My Passport for Mac (2 TB)]

Whenever I wake my computer I get the following dialog box in iTunes: The iTunes Library file cannot be saved. The disk could not be read from or written to.

It basically stops me in my tracks and I have to copy the original iTunes library file from my hard drive to the WD in order to rebuild the library. It’s tedious and time consuming.


How about more details of what you are trying to do and how?

I’ve got a music collection on my external hard drive. It’s located in the media folder in a folder labeled ‘iTunes’, which also has the library file (and other files that are auto-generated). I’ve mapped the iTunes Preferences so that it’s pointed to the correct media folder.

However, whenever I revisit the computer the next day (or after a significant amount of time has passed), I get a dialog box saying the file cannot be saved. I’ve seen them say the file’s corrupted, too. Now, I’m also seeing that the mapping that was present in the iTunes > Preferences > Advanced has disappeared. Not reset. The field is just empty.

Well, somewhat helpful info, although you did not mention the important folder, the iTunes Media folder (containing your music, etc library).

I have done a similar set up with my iTunes Media folder. I have set up iTunes to not store iTunes Media in the iTunes program folder (the default location) but to a folder on a second drive IN my laptop. I previously had saved the folder on an external attached drive like you, and this caused problems, because if that drive was not attached, iiTunes would save new files and folders in the iTunes program in another iTunes Media folder (the default one), so that my saved music was in two different folders. If the second drive is in the laptop, it is always “connected” and iTunes never gets confused. I ended up having to consolidate the two folders.

So check to see if you have TWO iTunes Media folders; one on your external drive and one in the iTunes program itself, and both are populated with music files. If so, you have a problem. The one in the program should be completely empty.

BTW, your problem is NOT a drive problem, it is an iTunes set up problem. You probably should have asked your question at the Apple iTunes forum.


The iTunes Media folder on my computer’s hard drive is empty. The music folder within the iTunes Media folder on the external drive contains all my music. The external drive will always be connected to my iMac, so I’m not worried about any extraneous folders collecting music.

Current state: the external device is readable via iTunes, despite no path being present in iTunes > Preferences > Advanced.

The drive is not readable via Finder, and despite closing iTunes, and killing any processes involved with iTunes, the drive will not eject.

What specifically is telling you this isn’t a WD drive problem? Both iTunes and Finder are struggling to work with this drive. The problems present themselves when I awaken the computer & drive. Though admittedly, the ‘break’ may occur long beforehand (The hard disks are prevented from going to sleep despite the monitor turning off).

More complete info makes me think more that it could be the drive, so:

How old is the drive?

Did it used to work fine?
Do you have issues with other folders?
If the drive is failing, the first thing I would do is replace it with another, either one I have, or get a new one. I protect my iTunes folders by having duplicate copies on other drives. This includes the iTunes Media folder and all the folders in the iTunes Media folder with my library database files in the default folder of iTunes folder within the program’s folder. I would worry about what to do with the drive I replaced, later.

Thank you. I bought it at a Bestbuy on March 31. It’s hard to determine if it ever worked well since I’ve really only had it up and running for about 8 days. I mean, the music’s on the drive. And it has successfully played otherwise random tracks I’ve selected. However, when I re-visit the computer after a given amount of time, there’s a good chance iTunes will throw an error at me, and an even greater chance Finder won’t see anything on the drive at all.

It’d appear there’s a global permissions issue, which is odd to say because I am able to reset things after I reboot the machine and force-eject the drive.

OK, drive is brand new. If it were me, I would erase/delete EVERY BIT of any data I put on it and return it to Best Buy and ask to exchange it for another NEW unit. Tell them it appears defective for reasons you have described here. Do not take NO for an answer, if it seems to you that how you are using it is correct. It appears that way from what you have told me. Do not accept anything but a new sealed one. Let THEM deal with any return to WD. In the unlikely event you have the same issue with another unit, then at least we know the issue was not with the drive. As much of your story that I know about, we may have overlooked something. but this step will eliminate the drive as the problem.

Agreed. I’m an IT professional so I’m pretty familiar with the terminology, and certainly am versed enough to answer any questions on the fly should a blue shirt ask any. I’ll take it back after I clear the disk.

Here’s a question for you (and I’ve done no research, because it should be dismissed out of hand):

Might the existence of a WD MyCloud on the same network the iMac is on cause any issues here? The MyPassport’s MyCloud isn’t set up (I thought I saw something about it in Settings). MyCloud and iCloud Music do not share the same sandbox well. At all.

I am not an IT professional, although my early work background was as an electronic tech in the USAF. for over six years where troubleshooting was a daily way of life. I have always had an interest in electronics. I first was into hi-fi stuff, I bought one of the first Compaq luggables in the early 60’s and later got into setting up a Windows home network. I feel I have a home network to die for. Anyway, I have lots of experience with this current stuff, too. I have a WD My Cloud NAS (DL2100) running the show for music and video streaming around the house.

So, no, I don’t think that your My Cloud is causing any problems for your new drive, unless you have done something “weird” which doesn’t appear to be the case. .

I will also tell you I copy my iTunes Media folder to my NAS a couple of times a year, and in between I manually update it by adding in the new stuff, but since I could overlook something I do just flush the whole enchilada from the NAS twice a year to get back in sync with the “original and current” iTunes Media from the iTunes program again.

I do hope my solution for you is right, because beyond the drive exchange, the problem will get into harder troubleshooting. Good luck with the exhange.

Thank you!

That’s not a bad idea (your semi-annual maintenance program). I’ll likely implement something similar.

Yep, I do not access the actual iTunes Media folder, instead I access the COPY I place on my NAS and elsewhere; the copy is also on my My Passport Wireless drive. I only manually update the copies as I add stuff to main iTunes Media folder.

Tunes Library.itl file is a database of the songs in your library and the playlists that you’ve created. It is very important for tracking the media you add to iTunes and organizing your iTunes media files. Some users get the “iTunes library files cannot be saved” error in iTunes. Here we list some common iTunes library files cannot be saved errors and possible solutions to fix them.

I do not follow why what you last wrote has any bearing here.