There are no if’s and but’s about it, if you own an iPhone you will need to remove duplicates in iTunes at least once in your lifetime. Up until a few iTunes versions ago, they were the reason why importing music into your iTunes was avoided as much as possible.
The process is pretty straightforward but poses a few stumbling blocks along the way – especially for Windows users who are still trying to emerge themselves into the Apple logic.
Here’s how to remove a few iTunes duplicates or hundreds of them in just a few minutes:
How to Manually Remove Duplicates in iTunes
If you only have a handful of duplicates in your iTunes music library, manually deleting them is the fastest and easiest way.
How to Find Duplicates in iTunes
Before actually deleting duplicates in iTunes, you need to identify which files to delete. Here’s how to do so using your computer, be it a Windows-based or a Mac:
- Open the latest version of iTunes from your Windows or Mac PC.
- Go to the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window. Click on the File menu on the left, choose Library, and check Show Duplicate Items (or Display Duplicates). Note that some Windows users might not have this menu bar enabled. To enable it, go to the Menu option on the top left corner and select Show Menu Bar on the bottom. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+B to activate it without navigating through the menu.
- Now, you can sort by song name or artist to make it easier to identify them. You can also use the iCloud status to decide which file to delete if you have iCloud Music Library activated.
- If you have more than one version of the same song and don’t want to delete them, hold down the Shift Windows key or the Option Mac key and navigate to: File -> Library -> Show Exact Duplicate Items.
How to Remove Duplicates in iTunes
To delete duplicates in iTunes by hand, simply follow these steps:
- Select the item you want to remove.
- Go to the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window, click on the Song option, then choose Delete. You can do this for every song or select multiple ones by clicking on them while pressing the Ctrl Windows key or the Command Max key.
- When you finished deleting the duplicates, click on Done to save your changes.
As mentioned before, this method works best for those who want to remove duplicates in iTunes by hand. However, if you have dozens or hundreds of duplicated items in your iTunes library, this is not the best option. Luckily, there is something you can do about it:
How to Remove Duplicates in iTunes in Bulk
If you have so many duplicates that deleting them by hand would be too time-consuming, you can try one of the iTunes duplicate remover tools online. Here are some good tools that help you remove duplicate songs in iTunes. Some of them are free and others are paid but still offer an iTunes duplicate remover free trial.
They all work in the same way. First, they identify all the files with the same name and attributes. Then, they remove iTunes duplicates in your library. They are extremely easy to use and intuitive. Simply install the software of choice, run it, de-select any duplicates you want to keep (if any), and proceed to delete all the others at once. Now, even with an older iTunes version, you will be able to remove duplicates in iTunes hassle-free.
How to Prevent Duplicates from Being Imported in iTunes
Fortunately, the latest iTunes version does not import duplicate files anymore. If you try to import a music file that already exists in your iTunes library, it will simply ignore it. However, if you do not have the latest version or want to really make sure this doesn’t happen, follow these steps:
- Go to Preferences -> Advanced. Then, tick the Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized and the Copy Files to iTunes Media Folder when Adding to Library
- Choose to Reset All Dialog Warnings by clicking on the option.
- Click OK to save all your changes.
Now, you will be able to keep all your music files in an orderly fashion. Forget about ever needing to remove duplicates in iTunes ever again or disorganized folders with messed up tags and attributes!
Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.