How to delete duplicate songs in iTunes

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How to remove duplicate music in iTunes

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Summary

This article goes through two different ways to delete duplicate songs from your iTunes library. A method for automatically removing duplicates using Tune Sweeper is described, as well as details of iTunes' own built-in duplicate search function.

How to automatically remove duplicates from iTunes using Tune Sweeper

If you have a lot of music duplicates in iTunes, it could take hours of analysing and listening to each track to decide with track to keep and which to delete. This is where Tune Sweeper could save your valuable time (and sanity).

Tune Sweeper provides the ability to select all duplicates to remove, and which to keep, in just a click of your mouse. You can chose to keep the tracks of Highest Quality, Longest Duration, Latest Added, Oldest Added or Latest Played.

Another advantage is that you can specify search criteria for Tune Sweeper to return strict duplicates (an exact file copy), or all tracks with a matching title. You can return a detailed search for duplicates by:

  • Artist
  • Album
  • Track #
  • Track Count
  • Time Difference
  • Media Type

To delete duplicates from iTunes using Tune Sweeper, follow these steps...

  1. Download and install Tune Sweeper
  2. Launch Tune Sweeper and click "Search for Duplicates"
  3. Your current iTunes library will be scanned and Tune Sweeper will return a list of duplicates
  4. Manually choose which files to remove, or allow Tune Sweeper to do it automatically by selecting a Keep Selection Preference
  5. Once you're happy with the selections, click Remove Duplicates
Download Tune Sweeper for PC Download Tune Sweeper for Mac

Delete duplicate songs in iTunes

Removing Duplicates is not the only thing Tune Sweeper can do though. The program will also allow you to fix missing or incorrect track information, download and fix your album artwork, and clean up your iTunes listings by removing songs with exclamation marks, or adding music from your hard drive which is not yet in iTunes.

How to find and delete duplicate songs using iTunes

iTunes also provides a basic way to find and get rid of duplicate music. However, unlike Tune Sweeper, you're unable to configure your duplicate search or remove your duplicates automatically based on your preferences. Removing duplicates with iTunes itself can be very time consuming if you have a large library, or if you have multiple duplicates from different sources e.g. original, live version, extended version, radio edit etc. To use iTunes' own duplicate search function, launch iTunes and display your music library by songs by clicking the Songs header in the menu bar on the left of iTunes.

Now, you'll be able to find your duplicate songs. In the menu bar at the top of iTunes, go to File -> Library -> Show Duplicate Items. This option will display only duplicate tracks from your current iTunes library. If the duplicate pairs are not grouped together, you can click the Name column header to group them.

Find and delete duplicate songs in iTunes

From here, you can simply click a track, or hold down the ctrl key while clicking multiple tracks to select them. Once you have made your selection, go to Song -> Delete to delete your selected music.

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Latest Comments

Mike wrote...
2017-05-07
I have about 400 duplicates except they are all with the cloud before one copy and no cloud with the other copy; How do I know if I should delete any of them and if so which ones. Your help doesn't deal with this issue.
Thanks
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Wide Angle Software wrote...
2017-05-08
@Mike Tune Sweeper will automatically select to keep the version that is in iCloud (displays the cloud). This is because these files are linked to your iTunes account and may be part of your iCloud library across devices.
Jack Hamilton wrote...
2017-03-03
I have over 3500 duplicates. Is there a way to selectively display and remove them? Reviewing 3500 at 1 time is daunting. Can you do certain artists only? Anyway to reduce the number. I did a search and it showed me 4 titles. When I clicked "Remove". it tried to remove all 3500.

Help ! ! !
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Wide Angle Software wrote...
2017-03-07
@Jack Hamilton You can use the Keep Preferences to allow Tune Sweeper to automatically select which tracks to keep. As for removing only certain artists, I would recommend right clicking and ignoring all groups. If you then do an artist search, uncheck the ignore box for the found groups. Any removal will now only apply to those groups that are not marked as ignored.