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How to remove duplicates on iTunes: Remove duplicate songs and albums

Lucy Hattersley | May 25, 2016
Discover how to remove duplicate iTunes songs and ensure that duplicated iTunes music doesn’t appear again in the future

Duplicated music files in iTunes can be a real pain, but never fear as Macworld UK is here! Here you'll find our foolproof guide to remove duplicate iTunes songs and 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.

How to find and remove duplicates on iTunes

The new version of iTunes makes it harder to find duplicate files in iTunes, as it was previously found under View > Show Duplicates. Here are the steps to finding and removing duplicate files in iTunes 12:

  1. Open the iTunes app.
  2. Click on File > My Library > Show Duplicates.
  3. Click on 'All' to view the duplicate track listing, click 'Same Album' to show duplicated songs from a specific album.
  4. 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).
  5. Click on the Name column in iTunes: this ensures that view duplicate files next to each other.

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 Done in the top right-hand corner to return to your normal iTunes view mode. You will now see your entire iTunes library (hopefully) free from duplicated tracks.


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