Once you click the 'Back up to disk..' option you get this window:
Notice that this offers you a few options:
- Back up your entire Library
- Back up only iTunes Store purchases
- Back up only items added or changed since last backup
That final option is very sweet. No need to keep wasting spindles of CD's every time you back up your entire library. For the purposes of this how to I picked 'Back up only iTunes Store purchases.' iTunes then asked for a blank disc. You can either insert a DVD or CD, iTunes will figure out with one you inserted.
Since I have about 3 gigs of iTunes Store purchases I inserted a DVD and got this:
Anyone who has burned a CD/DVD in iTunes will know these screens. Once everything checked out, it was on to initializing:
My disc successfully initialized, so the data was written to it:
Hey, that's my music! Finally, after about 15 minutes everything was in order and the burning began:
I was a little taken back by the hour estimate, but it only took about 10 minutes to burn. iTunes dutifully informed me that my backup was complete, ejected the disc, and even let me know how to restore (by inserting the disc into my computer). Worry not if your collection is larger than a single DVD or CD, iTunes will create a series of discs for you.
A backup isn't any good if you can't restore from it. Luckily, Apple knows this and the restore process is shockingly easy. Once you insert an iTunes backup disc into your computer a pop up window asks you if you want to restore from this backup. Notice it tells you when the backup was made.
The restore disc also shows up in the source menu in iTunes, as seen to the right. The disc is automatically named 'Backup' and then the date and time. This is a very nice touch, Apple. Is there anything they can't do?
Finally, I was concerned that the 'restore disc' that iTunes produces would have some strange proprietary format that would only allow it to work with iTunes. The disc appeared on my desktop, so I took a look inside it to see what I could see.
As you can see, iTunes backs up your files in the familiar 'iTunes' directory structure. The best part is that there is no magic Apple format at work here, you can browse the files with the Finder as easy as you please. I salute you for this, Apple.
There you have it, a nice, simple way to back up your iTunes music. Now you don't have an excuse for not have an up to date back up.