How To Fix “iTunes Library.itl” Cannot Be Read Error

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Apple recently made some major changes to iTunes with the release of iTunes 12.7. The change was made to address a lot of complaints that iTunes had become crowded and messy. Apple wants to take iTunes back to its roots and make it your hub for music and video. That means some features were dropped in the new iTunes 12.7 including the ability to manage your device apps on your desktop. Obviously the loss of this feature did not sit well with some so Apple came up with a compromise. They released a version of iTunes that was actually a downgrade from iTunes 12.7. That’s right – in a very un-Apple kind of move, the company released iTunes 12.6.3 which is a new, old version of iTunes. Does that sentence even make sense?

What iTunes 12.6.3 does is bring back the previous layout and features of iTunes while turning off the prompt that asks users to update their software. Apple has said that they will not be supporting iTunes 12.6.3 with updates or new features. Basically, it’s an old version of iTunes that will be stuck that way forever until the user decides to manually update iTunes themselves. A good solution but some users have run into problems after the downgrade.

A common message popping up for users who went from the new iTunes 12.7 back to iTunes 12.6.3 was: “‘iTunes Library.itl’ cannot be read.” Not good. It meant that users couldn’t launch the downgraded version of iTunes and were prompted to download iTunes 12.7 which they had been trying to escape. Luckily, there is a fix.

If you want to fix the “iTunes Library.itl” Cannot Be Read error then there are a few quick steps to take. First, before we get going, make sure you have installed iTunes 12.6.3 and uninstalled iTunes 12.7. Ready to go? Alright!

  1. Find the iTunes folder on your Mac or PC.
  2. You will see a file named “iTunes Library.itl.” We want to rename this to: “iTunes Library.old” for the sake of this fix.
  3. Now, open the “Previous iTunes Libraries” folder.
  4. Find the most recent version of the iTunes Library file within the folder and copy it to your desktop. If there are no files in the folder: don’t worry.
  5. Now, go back to the top-level iTunes folder and paste the file you just saved to your desktop. Rename it “iTunes Library.itl” like the name of the file we recently changed.
  6. Once the file is renamed, or if there was no file in the folder at all, try launching iTunes again. This should resolve the issue.

Clearly the downgraded version of iTunes does not like the library file created by iTunes 12.7. Luckily there is a pretty easy fix available. Did you run into this problem after downgrading iTunes? Was this fix helpful? Let us know your experience in the comments section below!

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