iTunes is a great app to purchase, play and manage digital multimedia such as music. But the iTunes experience isn’t always great. For example, there can be duplicate songs in iTunes. It will be annoying if every song in your iTunes Library plays twice or more before it goes to the next song. This article will show you how to remove iTunes duplicates step by step on Windows PC and Mac.
iTunes comes with a built-in “Show Duplicate Items” feature to find duplicate tracks in your Library, but you need to delete the found duplicates manually one by one. It can be time-consuming if there are a lot of duplicates. This article will first talk about a more efficient method, which can help you to delete all duplicates in iTunes at once.
This method uses Cisdem Duplicate Finder, which can find duplicate audios, videos, images and all other types of duplicate files on your computer, external storage devices and even cloud. When working as an iTunes duplicate remover, this app can find exact duplicates, i.e. items that are exactly identical (regardless of filename).
Here I show you how to check if this method works for you. Go to your iTunes Media folder (by default is located in the iTunes folder in the Music folder ) and check if the duplicates you see in your iTunes Library also exist there. If the answer is yes, then this method is for you.
(If the “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library” checkbox in your iTunes Preferences isn’t selected, then the actual files of the songs and other items you added to iTunes are still in their original location and not in the iTunes Media folder. In such a case, check if the duplicates that appear in your iTunes Library also exist in that original location. To check if the said checkbox is selected or not, in the iTunes app, choose Edit > Preferences > Advanced.)
Below are the steps to delete duplicate songs in iTunes in bulk.
1. Download and install this iTunes duplicate remover for Windows. Open the app.
2. Drag the iTunes Media folder (or that original location) into this app. Click Scan.
3. After the scan is done, the results window will display all the duplicate songs (and other duplicate items if any) found in your iTunes.
4. In each set of duplicate items, the app already automatically selects all but one item for removal. If you want, you can also select by hand or choose a selection rule.
5. Click Delete and then confirm the deletion.
The unwanted duplicates in iTunes are removed all at once. But an extra step may be needed.
In addition to duplicate songs, the method can help you remove duplicate podcasts and more.
Now, in the iTunes app, you can still see the removed duplicates in Library. Don’t worry. They actually don’t exist anymore. If you double-click such a duplicate to play it, it won’t play, an exclamation point will appear next to it, and a message will appear telling you that it could not be found. This tip shows you how to remove these missing items all at once.
1. In the iTunes app, choose File > New > Playlist. Name this playlist “All Songs”.
2. Drag all songs in your Library into this playlist.
3. Choose File > New > Smart Playlist. And the Smart Playlist window will appear.
4. In this window, set the first rule. Click the first pop-up menu and choose Playlist, click the second pop-up menu and choose is, and click the third pop-up menu and choose Music.
5. Click the Add button to add a second rule. Set the rule to be Playlist is not All Songs.
6. Click OK. And then name this Smart Playlist “Missing Songs”.
7. In the “Missing Songs” Smart Playlist, select all items in it, right-click, and choose Delete from Library.
8. In the message that appears, click Delete Songs.
If you are a Mac user, you can also use Cisdem Duplicate Finder to help you automatically identify duplicate items in iTunes and remove them in bulk.
1. Download this iTunes duplicate remover for Mac. Open the app.
2. In the iTunes app, choose iTunes > Preferences > Advanced. Find the location of your iTunes Media folder.
3. Drag the iTunes Media folder into the app. Click Scan.
4. When the scan is complete, the Music tab in the results window will display all the duplicate songs found in your iTunes.
There are three view modes. With the second one, you can play the duplicate songs.
5. The app already automatically selects all duplicates for you to remove with a click.
If you want, you can also select by hand. Also, there are selection rules to help you mass select. Just highlight the sets of duplicates that you want to apply a rule to in the sidebar on the left and then choose a desired rule.
6. Click Delete. Confirm the deletion.
Note: The iTunes app on Mac is replaced by the Music app since macOS Catalina. The steps can also be applied to the Music app. To find the location of the Media folder of the Music app, in the Music app, choose Music > Preferences > Files.
It’s also possible to quickly delete duplicates in iTunes using Tune Sweeper. Open the app. In the top toolbar, click Duplicates. Click Search for Duplicates. When the search is completed, click View Results. In the results window, you can find groups of iTunes duplicates.
Select the tracks you want to delete. In the left column, you can set selection preferences. Click the Remove Duplicates button at the upper right corner to delete duplicates in iTunes all at once. But before you select them, it’s recommended to preview. You can select a song and click the Preview button.
In addition to deleting duplicate tracks in iTunes, it also provides other features such as downloading missing artworks.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, iTunes itself comes with a feature to help users locate duplicate items in Library. If you have only a few duplicate tracks in iTunes and don’t want to install an iTunes duplicate finder, you can use the feature and then do the cleanup by hand.
Show Exact Duplicate Items
1. Open iTunes on your computer.
2. Press and hold the Shift key (Windows) or the Option key (Mac), then choose File > Library > Show Exact Duplicate Items.
3. Now iTunes will display sets of exact duplicate songs that have the same name, artist, album and length. Note that they may be different in the sample rate, audio quality or size.
4. In each set of duplicates, right-click the song that you want to eliminate and choose the Delete from Library option that appears.
5. Click Delete Song to confirm the deletion.
6. In the message that appears, click Keep File if you only want to remove the song from your Library and Move to Trash if you want to completely delete it.
If you are not sure which songs to keep and which to delete, it’s recommended to keep the higher quality one, the purchased one, the one marked as Loved, or the one with more complete song info (such as song details, artwork and lyrics).
Show Duplicate Items
In addition to exact duplicates, your iTunes may have different versions of the same song, such as a studio version and a live version. Unless you are a hardcore fan, you may want to keep the favorite version only. To show this type of iTunes duplicates, don’t hold down the Shift or Option key in step 2.
iTunes’ Show Duplicate Items greyed out? Why is this happening? If this feature appears greyed out, there are two possible reasons.
How to stop iTunes creating duplicates
What to do when you find duplicate songs on iPhone but not in iTunes
Another common iTunes problem is that songs are listed twice on iPhone but only once in iTunes. The following steps may fix the issue.
Despite iTunes’ built-in feature to find duplicates, getting rid of duplicates in iTunes can take time and effort. If you have many duplicate songs in your iTunes Library, you may not want to click them one by one to remove them. In such a case, this article can help. The article provides step-by-step instructions on how to mass delete duplicates in iTunes. In addition to duplicate tracks, there can be duplicate playlists. To fix it, check out this guide to removing iTunes duplicate playlists.
Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.
The method you shared really helped me! I've been using this duplicate finder app for 2 weeks now, and it can identify duplicate songs even with different names. Great product!
Thanks for sharing these methods! It's been driving me crazy seeing the same songs appear multiple times. I'm excited to try out these methods and hopefully clean up my library.
Hello, just wanted to tell you, I loved this blog post. It was helpful. Keep on posting!
Removing duplicate songs from iTunes manually is really annoying, i'd prefer to use a third-party iTunes duplicate remover to delete all iTunes duplicates. Thanks for recommending me Cisdem DuplicateFinder.