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- Tidy up iTunes by removing duplicate songs
This feature looks at the annoying problem of duplicated music files in iTunes. Learn how to remove duplicate iTunes audio files, and prevent duplicate files from appearing in iTunes again in the future.
Duplicated music files in iTunes can be a real pain. This foolproof guide to removing duplicate iTunes songs keeps your iTunes library fresh and clean.
We think iTunes is a fantastic music manager, and it has become much faster, cleaner and more interesting to use in recent years. However, one problem persists, that of duplicated audio files. Sometimes iTunes get multiple copies of the same song, or even two copies of the whole album. Duplicated files in iTunes are annoying because they waste space, make searching more complicated, and sometimes you end up playing the same song repeatedly.
In this feature we look at how to get rid of duplicate files in iTunes.
Complete guide to the iPhone/iPad Music app
How to find and remove duplicate iTunes songs
The new version of iTunes makes it harder to find duplicate files in iTunes. Here are the steps to finding and removing duplicate files in iTunes 11:
- Open the iTunes app.
- Click on Library and choose Music.
- Click on Songs to view the track listing.
- It is a good idea to arrange the iTunes music columns so you can view Name, Artist and Album By Artist. You can ensure that these columns are displayed by holding down the Control key and clicking on the columns. Ensure that Album and Artist have a tick next to them (Name constantly appears in iTunes).
- Click on the Name column in iTunes: this ensures that view duplicate files next to each other.
- Click View > Show Duplicate items.
The iTunes display will now only show duplicated tracks. It uses matches based on the same Song and Artist, although you see multiple versions of the same song from different albums. So if you have a studio and a live version of the track you may end up looking at different versions of the same song.
Go through the tracks and remove and duplicates that you do not want. Highlight the unwanted file, press Delete on the keyboard (or choose Edit > Delete) and select Move To Trash. If you choose Keep File, it is removed from iTunes, but the file remains on your hard drive. The Keep File option cleans up iTunes but doesn’t free up any space on the Mac.
When you have finished click View > Show All Items to return to your normal iTunes view mode. You will now see all the music tracks in iTunes
Remove duplicate iTunes songs: how to view exact duplicate files
One of the main issues you’ll encounter when removing duplicates from iTunes is determining which files are duplicates, and which are simply the same song on different albums. We like to keep our albums intact, even if the same track is on different albums.
One way around this is to use the View Exact Duplicates in iTunes option. Choosing View Exact Duplicates only displays duplicate tracks that match the same Name, Artist and Album.
Hold down the Option key and choose View > Show Exact Duplicate Items.
You now only view duplicate tracks from the same album. Sort the tracks and delete them manually by pressing the Delete key.
Remove duplicate iTunes songs: How to prevent iTunes 11 from importing duplicated music
iTunes no longer imports duplicate files if you drag and drop audio files to the iTunes library (you can force it to add the duplicate file by holding down the Option key while dragging the file). So you should no longer need to adjust anything.
However, it is a good idea to double check that iTunes is managing your music files correctly.
- Click on iTunes > Preferences.
- Click Advanced.
- Ensure that the Keep iTunes Media folder organized box had a tick in it.
- Ensure that the Copy files to iTunes Media Folder when adding to Library has a tick in it.
- Click Reset all dialog warnings.
- Click OK.
iTunes should now be set up to keep your music folder organised.
You can read more iTunes tutorials over in our iTunes topic zone, including:Tags: Share this article
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