How to

How to restrict access to iTunes, App Store, and iBooks

How to

How to re-download movies, music, and TV shows to your Mac or PC with iTunes in the Cloud

How to

How to re-download previously purchased apps and games on iPhone and iPad


iTunes 11.3 gives your movies all-new, all-streaming iTunes Extras

How to

How to re-download purchased music, movies, and TV shows with iTunes in the Cloud

How to

How to change the iTunes account on your iPhone or iPad

How to

How to enable automatic downloads for music, books, and apps with iTunes in the Cloud


Please do this before you upgrade to iOS 7.1.2!

Happy 10th birthday British (and French and German) iTunes Store!


iTunes Store, App Store, Apple TV experiencing server problems, don't panic

How to

How to create an Apple ID on your iPhone or iPad

How to

How to use your Photo Stream as the screen saver on your Apple TV


Apple releases iTunes 11.2.2 with a fix for unexpected downloads

X-Men: Days of Future Past is in theaters now — Here's how to catch up on iTunes!


Apple releases iTunes 11.2.1, fixes hidden /Users directory bug


iTunes 11.2 update focuses on podcast improvements

How to

iTunes Match Limit: What to do when you hit 25,000 songs

24: Live Another Day starts tonight, relive Jack Bauer's worst days on iTunes now!

Star Wars Episode VII cast announced, but I still can't watch the originals on iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV?

How to

How to secure your iPhone or iPad with a strong alphanumeric password

How to find and remove duplicate songs in iTunes

How to find duplicate songs in iTunes library

Apple is back with a handy how-to on finding duplicate songs (or videos) in your iTunes library. This is timely for me as some weird combination of MobileMe prefs sycn, Home Sharing, SuperDuper cloning, and iTunes 9.1.1 resulted in my main iTunes library disappearing, and the restore left me with multiple copies of multiple songs. Here's the recommended fix:

Begin by selecting Music in your iTunes Library, then choose Display Duplicates in the File Menu and sort the resulting list by Name. It will display only songs with names that exactly match the names of other songs.

Not all will be duplicates, of course. For example, some might be covers, and others could be different performances by the same artist. To help identify actual duplicates, put the Time column right next to the Name column in your display. (Just grab it by the title and drag it over there. And by the way, hiding the Artwork column will make it easier to spot what you're looking for.) Identical names with identical playing times are highly likely to be duplicates and you can then choose the one(s) you want to get rid of. When you're done, click Show All at the bottom of the window.

There's also a quick way to spot duplicates of the exact same song from the exact same album by changing the Display Duplicates command to Display Exact Duplicates. In iTunes for Windows you do this by holding down the Shift key when you click the File menu, and you can then move down the menu to select that command. On the Mac, hold down the Option key while you select the Display Duplicates command and it will change to Display Exact Duplicates. You'll still need to look carefully before deleting because some albums contain more than one version of the same song, but most of what you'll see will be true duplicates.

I nuked and started over, which was a slower and more aggravating process, so kudos to Apple for surfacing how to articles like this one. If you've dealt with duplicate songs -- or movies, TV shows, podcasts, etc. -- in your iTunes library and have ninja tips of your own to share, let us know in comments!

[Apple iTunes News]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

Wi-Fi Sync for iPhone - Jailbreak app review

Next up →

RunRev responds to Apple's new cross-compiler policy

There are 31 comments. Add yours.

pinki says:

I wrote my own application for this task.
It works perfectly and it needs just one single click.

DrumMmerLee says:

@pinki, sharing is caring. TELL US MORE!

pinki says:

It's just a small application, written in C#, that uses the iTunes COM-API and removes duplicates. Every removed item moves to the recycle bin.

Techwatch says:

thanks this is a great little clean up process

fastlane says:

When I first started using an external drive for all of my media, I mistakenly synced without it hooked up. HUGE mess.
No ninja tips from me. I spent HOURS fixing it all. :|

Janzil says:

@pinki where do I get that app?

Roger says:

Oh, yeah. Then, ALL you have to do is look through THOUSANDS of songs and choose the ones you want to delete. iTunes sucks big time.

Joe McG says:

iTunes = Worst thing about the iPhone

djsity says:

Can anybody tell me how to delete duplicate photos in iPhoto?

Ty says:

Ran out of good stories? .....OMG

Dave says:

I tried using that TuneUp program...I don't know how it performs on a Mac, but in Windows 7, it's slow and inaccurate. It incessantly seeks compliations rather than the real albums (which I prefer). It can find duplicate songs but not always well...I've spent a good amount of time working towards normalizing my music collection but it's a slow ass process to do it by yourself. That said, it's probably the most accurate way, especially if you're like me and have a bunch of remix albums with mixes of songs and the same title.

Im from the apple which means im a MAC says:

iTunes = Worst thing about the iPhone......x2

siddfinch says:

Is it me, or did iTunes already have a way to resolve this? I remember un-hiding my duplicates and cleaning them out a long time ago...

Wizzy says:

How about getting rid of the songs with ! that aren't in your library. All this cleanup should be automated. iTunes sucks!

trock4u says:

I got an app called (SingleMizer for $9.99) it works very good. It finds all duplicates on any folder folder the you ask.

Steven C says:

@Wizzy is absolutly correct... iTunes X anyone?

Dean Elbe says:

problem is that this works for ITunes music library, but not within a playlist, or on your iphone music - the Duplicates command would be useful there too !!

Nigel Tufnel says:

Awesome, thanks for that 8 year old tip.

kirbini says:

Not only is it an 8 year old tip, it still doesn't actually find most of your duplicates. I find it faster and easier to just sort the entire library (only 1500 songs) by name and manually search for similarities.

djsity says:

@trock4u: thanks, Singlemizer was perfect!

Laura says:

I have tons of music on my iTunes. I use TidySongs and I LOVE it! Works great. Does all the work for me.
You can get it HERE

Billy BoB says:

Why the "f" can't apple just make a delete option on their phone like the one for contacts and e-mails. (Oh ya then they wouldn't be able to sell you the clean up app)epic

Irwan says:

Still, it’s so frustrating to manually select the songs you don’t want to delete. You can use iDeduper on Windows or iMDeduper on Mac.

sfgirl says:

I found an easy way to delete duplicates. I dont know if it will work for most people but it should. I sorted my songs by date added ( right click the title bar in iTunes and check date added), and found the time the second set of songs was imported. I highlighted all and deleted them, moving to recycle bin.
But that's only if you have a whole library imported at once like I did. It would probably be too hard if the duplicates were spread over time. Unless you could somehow create a way for them to be lumped together and then you can highlight and delete. Maybe change the names or add an album name...just sayin.

Boobyleonard says:

this is stupid.. it will take me 8 years to control click every other song.. I don't see why it is so hard for Apply to just have the show duplicates feature simply delete the duplicates instead of showing them.. default to keeping the most played version.. or hell, make that an option..

Gfraize says:

I have 40,000 songs and a large percentage of them have up to (9) duplicates each. It would take me hundreds of hours to click though these. I know, I have tried on more then one ocasion only to raise my blood preasure through the bloody roof!*%#! Why can't Apple simply make it an option to delete "exact duplicates"??? I know this bit of script is not that difficult to program. The programs such as Moleskin and such still have trouble with my sizeable library. Wasted $$. HELP!!!

David Gill says:

You can hold Shift + A to highlight all songs. Then, if there are any songs you want to de-select from the highlighted group; hold CTRL and click the song you want to Deselect.

markbun says:

The fast and easy method would be getting DuplicateFilesDeleter you can see it here for more info