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Fix ‘The file iTunes Library.itl cannot be read’ Error on Mac or Windows 10

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Downgrading your iTunes version can lead you to the error, ‘The file “iTunes Library.itl” cannot be read‘. This happens when you want to go back iTunes 12.6.3 after installing the newer version iTunes 12.7. Many users want to downgrade due to the lack of apps in the new version of iTunes, which are commonly used in the previous version. With iTunes 12.6.3, users can access the built-in App Store and ringtones.

The ‘The file “iTunes Library.itl” cannot be read‘ error occurs when you switch to an old backup of your iTunes library. It is frustrating to encounter the issue but there are ways on how you can fix it. In this post, we will talk about how you can fix this iTunes error easily both on macOS and on Windows 10.

Uninstalling the New Version of iTunes

Before you start with the fixing process below, first, you will need to uninstall the new version of iTunes.

On Windows 10:

For Windows 10, search for add or remove programs and look for iTunes. You can then click Uninstall.

On macOS:

For Mac users, go to Applications and right-click iTunes. Select Get Info and click the lock icon. Type in your administrator password and select Sharing and Permissions. You can now set it to Read & Write under Privilege. Now, drag the iTunes app to Trash.

Fix ‘The File iTunes Library.itl Cannot Be Read’ on Mac

iTunes Library Files on Macos
Image / Windows Dispatch
  • Press Command+Shift+G.
  • Type ~/Music/iTunes/. It will open the iTunes folder.
  • Look for the iTunes Library.itl file and change the .itl extension to .old. The file name will appear iTunes Library.old.
  • Next, select the Previous iTunes Libraries folder.
  • Look for the latest library file. Copy and paste the file to your desktop.
  • Go back to the iTunes folder or the ~/Music/iTunes/. Paste the file and rename it to iTunes Library.itl.
  • Now, launch iTunes and check if the error still exists.

Fix ‘The File iTunes Library.itl Cannot Be Read’ on Windows 10

iTunes Library Files on Windows 10
Image / Apple
  • Open Music Folder and click iTunes on your Windows 10 PC File Explorer.
  • Look for iTunes Library.itl file and change the .itl extension to .old.
  • Next, click the Previous iTunes Libraries folder.
  • Look for the latest library file. Copy and paste the file on your desktop.
  • In the iTunes folder again, paste the file and rename it to iTunes Library.itl.
  • Launch iTunes and test if the error is still there.

Changing the .itl extension to .old serves as a backup file in case something when wrong. You can easily rename the .old file to .itl and it will be the same as before. Pasting the file on your desktop also serves as a backup copy.

What do you think of the iTunes version 12.7? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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