How to Fix and Prevent the iTunes Duplicate Playlists Problem (2020 Update)

2020-01-01 22:40:28 / Posted by Rosa Reyes to Utility Follow @ Rosa

Why does iTunes duplicate playlists? How to stop iTunes from making duplicate playlists when syncing? These are the questions many iTunes users have asked or are asking. iTunes creating duplicate playlists is one of the most common iTunes issues. It messes up your iTunes library and iPhone music library. Also, duplicates will result in low disk space. In this article, you will learn how to remove duplicate playlists in iTunes and how to stop duplicate playlists from being made.

Why do I have duplicates in iTunes?

iTunes may be creating duplicate playlists if you modify the playlist on devices like iPhone or iPad rather than through iTunes. But some people also find that even if they edit music in iTunes, it still creates a duplicate playlist when syncing.

Thus, when you made any changes (renaming music, buying new music, changing Song Info, etc.) to the playlist in iTunes or the iOS device, it will show duplicate playlists after sync. For example, if the original playlist is named Best 80's Jazz Songs, there will be a duplicate playlist called Best 80's Jazz Songs 1. The "Tunes creates duplicate playlist 1" problem can be annoying.

There are two other possible scenarios where duplicate iTunes playlists occur. If you update a playlist during syncing, it will create a duplicate list. If you have enabled the option Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi and perform a sync over cable, a duplicate playlist may appear.

iTunes duplicate playlists are useless and annoying. How do you get rid of them? Below is how.

Note: macOS 10.15 Catalina was released in October 7, 2019. With the release, iTunes is replaced by Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple Books. The duplicate playlists problem can also occur to Apple Music.

How to get rid of iTunes duplicate playlists?

To delete iTunes duplicate playlists, we can first follow the easy steps below:

Step 1. Open iTunes on a Mac computer or Windows PC.

Step 2. Select a duplicate playlist, right-click and click on Delete from Library. If there are multiple of them, just delete one by one.

delete itunes playlist from library

Sync your music from iTunes to iPhone. The duplicate playlist(s) should be gone now. However, in some cases, iTunes will keep duplicating playlists after you remove them. If so, you can use the solutions below to fix the iTunes duplicate playlists issue.

5 solutions to fix the problem and prevent duplicate playlists in iTunes

It’s terrible if iTunes creates a duplicate playlist. It’s even worse if duplicate playlists keep coming back after you delete them again and again. Is it possible to stop iTunes from making duplicate playlists and fix the issue for good? The answer is yes. The solutions below can help you out.

Solution 1. Force quit Music and restart your device

The simplest solution to delete duplicate playlist is to close music on the device prior to syncing.

Step 1. If the Music app is open on your iPhone or iPad, you need to force close it. Hit the home button twice. Find the Music app and close it by swiping up.

Step 2. Restart your device. Here’s a guide on how to restart iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 7 and other models.


Step 3. After the restart finishes, open App Store. Sign out and then sign in again.

Step 4. Check out the playlists in your Music app.

If the iTunes duplicate playlists problem still exists, try other solutions.

Solution 2. Delete the affected playlists from Music on your device

We can also manually delete all the duplicate iTunes playlist and sync with iPhone again to remove duplicate playlist in both iTunes and iPhone.

Step 1. Open Music on your iPhone.

Step 2. Select an affected playlist and swipe left. You will see a Delete button. Tap on it.

delete playlists on iphone

Step 3. Connect your iPhone to your computer. Sync music from iTunes to your iPhone. The duplicate playlist(s) should disappear.

Solution 3. Disable the Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected feature

Another way to get rid of the iTunes duplicate playlists and stop iTunes from making duplicate playlists again is stop the auto sync feature. With this feature, your iTunes will automatically sync with your iOS device once the device is connected to your computer.

Step 1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer. If iTunes doesn’t launch automatically, then launch it manually.

Step 2. Go to Summery > Option. Unselect the Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected option. Click Apply.

automatically sync when this iphone is connected

Step 3. All the songs should be removed from your iOS device. To make sure that there aren’t any songs left, open Settings and go to General > iPhone Storage > Music.

Step 4. Manually sync music from iTunes to your device. There shouldn’t be any duplicate playlist now.

Solution 4. Turn off iCloud music sharing

Sometimes, iTunes duplicate playlists may occur due to iCloud sharing. Some other issues caused by this reason include incorrect metadata, mismatched artwork, etc. In this case, you can prevent and get rid of duplicate playlists by turning off iCloud music sharing.

Step 1. Unlock your iPhone. Open Settings.

Step 2. Swipe down and tap on Music.

Step 3. Switch off iCloud Music Library.

turn off icloud music library

Subsequently, the Apple Music songs will be removed from your device. Sync music to your device again. The duplicate playlist issue should be fixed.

Solution 5. Fix the iTunes Match glitch that creates duplicate playlists

iTunes Match is a service that can scan and match tracks in users iTunes music libraries. iTunes Match syncing issues can result in iTunes duplicate playlists. Below is how to solve it.

Step 1. Open iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC.

Step 2. Select a playlist that appears twice. Go to File > Library. Click Export Playlist. Save it on your desktop.

export itunes playlist

Step 3. Right-click on the same playlist. Click Delete from Library.

Step 4. Sync iTunes Match. Restart Music on your iOS device. The playlist should disappear.

Step 5. Return to iTunes. Go to File > Library. Click Import Playlist. Open the exported playlist file.

Sync iTunes Match to your device again. There won’t be any duplicate playlists.

Bonus Tip: How to find and delete duplicate music in iTunes playlist

Compared with iTunes duplicate playlists, duplicate iTunes songs are a more common problem. In this part, you will find how to find and delete iTunes duplicate tracks in batch on Mac with just one click.

Step 1. Download and install Cisdem Duplicate Finder on your computer.

Free Download

This app can quickly and accurately detect and remove duplicate photos, songs, videos, documents, iTunes duplicates, Photos duplicates, etc. on Mac and external storage devices.

Step 2. Drag and drop the iTunes folder to the app. Click the Scan button.

scan for itunes duplicates

Step 3. After the scan is finished, Under the Music tab, you can find all the duplicates. You can preview and listen to them in the preview window. based on the algorithm, Cisdem Duplicate Finder can find duplicate in iTunes playlist if:

1. They have totally the same content even if in different names.

2. They are the same in size and format.

3. They are the same in content, even in different quality.

By default, the Auto Select feature will automatically selects the iTunes duplicates for you to delete. You can also choose other selection options and manually select and unselect. Click the Delete button.



The iTunes duplicate playlist problem has been there for years. A lot of people have had it. Hopefully, the solutions recommended above can help you get rid of the annoying iTunes duplicate playlists as well as tracks. If you have any question or suggestion, you can leave a comment below.

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