Roon not seeing my iTunes music on external drive

Roon Core Machine

MacBook Pro M1 processor, Big Sur

Networking Gear & Setup Details

USB to CalDigit hub to MacBook Pro

Connected Audio Devices

At the moment I’d just like to test this with output to the MacBook acting as Core. Eventually, I want my Naim Uniti Atom to be endpoint. It’s on the same local network as the MacBook.

Number of Tracks in Library


Description of Issue

Roon won’t recognize my iTunes folder located on my external drive. Finder sees it, and Mac Music app on the MacBook plays music files on the external drive. I pointed Roon to the iTunes media folder on the external drive and chose that drive in setup, but it says there is no content on that drive. I also tested pointing Roon storage straight to the music folder inside iTunes media folder with the same outcome. I’ve also tried editing the current storage folder (the one on my MacBook) to see if pointing to the folder on the external drive could work as discussed here: I’m unclear from this documentation what I’m supposed to do. An option called “Import iTunes content” is shown in a screenshot on that page, but as seen in attached screenshot of my Roon app, the choice is “Import iTunes playlists.” I don’t want playlists (I don’t have any.). I want Roon to work with all my music library.
For what it’s worth, Roon saw another iTunes music folder on the MacBook before I pointed “storage to the external drive iTunes media folder.

Thank you.

From your screen grab it looks like you’re pointing Roon at the Music folder on your MacBook Pro rather than an external drive, i.e. it doesn’t include a file path that would suggest an external volume. Here’s what mine looks like:

As you can see, I’ve disabled the local Music folder and pointed Roon to a number of folders on two external drives. Try clicking the ‘+Add folder’ button top right, and use Roon to navigate to the folder on your external hard drive.

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Thanks for the help, DaveN.

Yes, I’m pointing to the iTunes music folder on my MacBook’s internal drive. I was trying to edit that in the screenshot in case that was the way to get it pointed to the external drive music folder. But the choices were not the same as seen in the documentation web page I referenced, and I take it from your response that’s not the right way to do this in any case.

I have disabled the music folder on my MacBook’s internal drive as you have done in your screenshot. When I click on “+Add folder” and then select the external drive with my music, Roon displays the error message you seen in the attached screenshot. This is the same drive where Mac Music app successfully finds music files to play.

Hey @Subcom

Thanks for letting us know.

I wanted to share our iTunes article with you in case you wanted more info on importing files.

This error may be related to permissions. Can you please try the following:

  • Quit Roon
  • Open the macOS system preferences
  • Navigate to “Security & Privacy”
  • Click the “Privacy” tab
  • You will see a column “Full Disk Access” on the left side
  • Click the lock at the bottom of the screen and enter your user credentials (it has to be an administrator account)
  • Click the “+” button on the right side of the screen and add Roon (from your Applications folder) to the list
  • Relaunch Roon and attempt to import once again

Let us know if you’re still experiencing this issue. Thank you!

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I believe that worked. I have imported most of my music files and each time I rescan the external drive, more files show up in Roon. Thank you, Ashley.

I had read the iTunes article and have a question about it. The advanced settings pane for the Music app (which is what I believe replaced iTunes a while ago) doesn’t provide a choice to “Share iTunes Library XML with other applications.” Is there another way one can create an XML file for the iTunes library? Or is this not necessary anymore for Roon to work well with iTunes library folders?

@Subcom Thanks for pointing that out! It seems like there have been some changes to the location/names of the Settings in Apple Music.

If you want to, you can give these instructions a try and see if that generates the proper XML file.


Hi, Ashley, and thanks for the apple.stackexchange link to the instructions for generating an iTunes xml file in newer Mac OS environments.

I have a a few questions for you about some of the details, but first a general one: at this point with changes to the native Mac music environment and to Roon since the Roon iTunes article was written, is it true that having an iTunes xml file is necessary for Roon do it’s job optimally? In other words, at this point, is this issue even relevant?

Assuming it is:
I can recreate the steps described in the apple.stackexchange article up to the last one, but I’ve not yet generated the file. Before doing that, I am hoping to clear up a couple of points of confusion I have between this method, the old one in the Roon iTunes article, and the current Roon interface in the “Edit storage location” pane, so I don’t make a mess of anything. I have consumed a lot of time correcting mistakes I’ve made with iTunes organizing functions and other apps that access iTunes files, and I’m hoping not to have that happen here.

The Roon iTunes article says to turn on Import “iTunes Content.” In the current version of Roon, there is a choice called “Import iTunes playlists.” Should I assume those settings are the same? In other words, will “Import iTunes playlists” in the latest version of Roon import an xml file that describes the entire library (not just playlists)?

The apple.stackexchange user suggests creating an iTunes xml file in the Music app by following File>Library>Export Library… Once there, Music wants to save a file called “Library.xml” to the iTunes Music folder on my external drive. The file discussed in the Roon iTunes article is called “iTunes Library.xml.” Should I assume those are the same, and Roon will be just as happy when it comes across “Library.xml” as it is when it finds “iTunes Library.xml?” Or maybe I should rename “Library.xml” to “iTunes Library.xml?”

Finally, and I understand if you can’t speak to this, will creating this iTunes xml file in my Music folder make the Music app unhappy/behave differently?

Sorry for what might seem like unnecessary caution here, but I’m thinking “stitch in time” given previous experience monkeying around in iTunes directories.

@Subcom Thanks for asking about this! It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Yes, the XML files contain your playlist as well as your media. The information stored there allows Roon to identify your tracks, match it with metadata, etc.

The option is the same, yes. The description under the option should clarify what is the effect of the setting.

OLD: If an iTunes XML is found in this folder, Roon will import any iTunes playlists and groups into your library.

CURRENT: If an iTunes XML is found in this folder, Roon will import any iTunes playlists into your library

You should be able to keep the file name as is and should not need to change it. If you’d prefer, you can certainly rename it as “Library.xml”.

This should not cause any issues; however, you always have the option to undo this by removing the watched folder.

I also wanted to add that doing this is a one-way sync - so it should not have any impact on iTunes settings.


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Great! I think my iTunes files are all properly imported by Roon.

Thank you for all the help, Ashley. Very much appreciated.

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