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Ask the iTunes Guy: Cleaning up your iTunes library

Kirk McElhearn | March 16, 2015
Like children, or weeds, an iTunes library has the tendency to grow and grow. Your Mac's internal storage does not. iTunes 12 segments your media in a way that makes it easy to forget you have a bunch of audiobooks, podcasts, or old TV shows in your library that probably don't need to be there anymore. But iTunes also makes it easy to back that media up in another location, so it's safe to delete and free up space on your Mac.

Like children, or weeds, an iTunes library has the tendency to grow and grow. Your Mac's internal storage does not. iTunes 12 segments your media in a way that makes it easy to forget you have a bunch of audiobooks, podcasts, or old TV shows in your library that probably don't need to be there anymore. But iTunes also makes it easy to back that media up in another location, so it's safe to delete and free up space on your Mac.

Offloading audiobooks

Q: I have so many audiobooks that I'm wondering if I could remove some of them from my iTunes library and hold then in a folder somewhere on my iMac?

You sure can. And audiobooks are good candidates for removal from your iTunes library, because you're less likely to want to listen to them again for a while, unlike music.

What I'd suggest is that you start by making a new, empty playlist, and then drag to that playlist everything you want to remove from your iTunes library.

Next, create a folder in the Finder for either your audiobooks, or all iTunes content that you're planning to remove from your library. (If you're removing different types of content, you can also make sub-folders by media type.) You may want to put this folder on an external drive to recover space on your Mac's internal storage device.

Drag the items from the playlist you created in iTunes to the folder (or sub-folder) you created above; you'll see that each file is copied (or moved) to the folder. They're moved if the folder is on the same hard drive as your iTunes Media folder, and they're copied if the folder is on a different drive.

Once you've copied everything, check that all the files are in the folder, select all the items in the playlist, and then press Command-Option-Delete. If iTunes asks if you want to keep the files or move them to the Trash, choose the latter.

You can do this for any files that are taking up space on in your iTunes library. You can move TV shows, movies, music or apps you don't use to another folder, or to another drive.

Remote app missing artwork

Q: When i play music on my iMac, I am often away from my desk but well within earshot of my speaker system. It is convenient to use my iPhone to see what is playing, and I use the Remote app for this. Prior to iOS 8, the app would display the artwork for the currently playing track, but it no longer does this. Is there a setting that I am overlooking?

 

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