What is an ITL File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert ITL Files

Picture of the ITL file icon

A file with the ITL file extension is an iTunes Library file, used by the popular Apple iTunes program.

iTunes uses the ITL file to keep track of song ratings, the files you've added to your library, playlists, how many times you've played each song, how you've organized the media, and more.

ITDB files, as well as an XML file, are normally seen alongside this ITL file in the default iTunes directory.

Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CallManager) uses ITL files too, but they're Initial Trust List files and have nothing at all to do with iTunes or music data.

How To Open an ITL File

As you just found out, ITL files are used with Apple's iTunes program. Double-clicking on one will open iTunes, but won't display any information other than the media files in your library (which you can do despite opening the file). Instead, the file resides in a specific folder so that iTunes can read from it and write to it when necessary.

Cisco has this information on ITL files that are used with their CallManager tool.

See my How To Change File Associations in Windows tutorial if, when you double-click on an ITL file on your computer, it opens with a program other than what you'd expect (or want).

How To Convert an ITL File

I don't believe there's any way to convert an iTunes Library file to any other format.

Since the ITL file carries information in binary, and iTunes is the only program that makes use of the information it stores, there's little reason you'd want this in another format for use elsewhere.

The data that the ITL file stores might be helpful to extract, which might be why you might want to "convert" it, but that's also not possible directly from the ITL file.

See the XML discussion below for more on a possible solution to that problem.

More Information on the ITL File

The current version of iTunes uses the iTunes Library.itl filename while older versions used iTunes Music Library.itl (although the latter is retained even after updates to iTunes).

Apple iTunes stores this file in C:\Users\<username>\Music\iTunes\ in Windows 10/8/7, and the following folder for Mac OS X: /Users/<username>/Music/iTunes/.

Newer versions of iTunes sometimes update the way the iTunes Library file works, in which case the existing ITL file is updated and the old one is copied to a backup folder.

iTunes also keeps an XML file (iTunes Library.xml or iTunes Music Library.xml) in the same default folder as the ITL file and uses it to store much of the same information. The reason for this file is so that third-party programs can understand how your music library is structured so they, too, can use your files.

Some errors shown in iTunes may indicate the the ITL file is corrupt or can't be read for whatever reason. Deleting an ITL file normally fixes such problems because reopening iTunes will force it to create a new file. Deleting the ITL file is completely safe (it won't remove the actual media files), but of course means that you'll lose any information iTunes stored in the file, like ratings, playlists, etc.

You can read more about the ITL and XML formats used by iTunes at Apple and ArchiveTeam.org.

If you're running into trouble trying to fix an ITL file, or have more questions about them, see my Get More Help page for... well, just that.