Smart Converter and Smart Converter Pro are set up to automatically add content to the macOS TV app, so that you can use the macOS TV app as your video library.

This can result in you running out of storage on your Mac, so here are some tips for managing large media libraries.

Files used

Before we launch into how to move TV libraries around, it is important to understand the files that make up the TV and Music apps.

The TV app has two main content areas:

  • TV Library file - this is the database containing details of all your content, but not the actual content; and
  • Media folder - this is the folder containing the actual content (video files in this case).

This approach is also used for the Music app and is how the old iTunes app used to work.

Move the TV app media folder

If you notice your TV app media folder starting to grow too large, you can move the Media file location to an external drive.

Note that this will only result in new files added to your library being stored in the new location, so this won't free up any space on your Mac.

Move the entire TV library

Create a new Library

The easiest way to keep your content off you main hard drive is to create a new TV library on an external drive.

All you need to do in this case is:

  • Quit the TV app;
  • Hold down the Option key and start the TV app;
  • You will see the option to create a new Library.  Click on this and create a new library on your external drive.

The default setup for a new TV Library is to copy added files into the designated media folder and keep the files organised according to Apple's rules.

The default location of the media folder is a folder named Media under the folder you put the new Library in.

Moving a Library

If you find your TV content library growing too large, you can move it to a new location, but this is a bit more involved.

Big Sur or Catalina fresh install

If you have a Mac that was new with Catalina (macOS 10.15) or Big Sur (macOS 11), you will find all your media files and the Library file stored at the default location of ~/Movies/TV/Media.

All you need to do is quit the TV app, copy the entire ~/Movies/TV folder to the new location (usually an external hard drive), then hold down the Option key and start the TV app.

This will display the Library selection window shown above from which you can click Choose Library to find your TV library at its new location.

You TV library will now be located entirely at the new location and all new content will be added in to the media location defined in Preferences/Files.

Upgraded Big Sur installation

Most people will have a Mac running Big Sur which was migrated from a macOS version prior to Catalina.

Prior to Catalina, there was iTunes which covered TV and Music content.

If you have an upgraded Mac, you will have the new TV and Music apps, but the respective media folders will all be under the iTunes location.

Video and movie content on an upgrade Mac will typically be found under ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media.

If you want to move an upgrade Mac's media library, you should do the following:

  • Copy the ~/Music/iTunes folder to your new location;
  • Copy the ~/Music/Music folder to your new location (this contains the Music app's database); and
  • Copy the ~/Movies/TV folder to your new location (this contains the TV app's database).

Once this is done, hold down Option, start the TV app and find the new location of your library.

Repeat the process for the Music app.

Now you're done.  Both the TV and Music apps are now using Library files (i.e. their databases) and media folders from the new location.