How to find and delete duplicate songs in your iTunes library

How to find and delete duplicate songs in iTunes

If you've got a hefty iTunes library that's been transferred over from Mac to Mac or PC to PC, odds are you've run into issues with duplicate songs. It happens from time to time and as your library grows, so do the problems that come with it. For the most part, ridding your library of duplicate tracks is a pretty painless process.

Here's how:

How to show all song duplicates in iTunes

  1. Launch iTunes on either your Mac or PC.
  2. In the top navigation, click on View.
  3. Now select Show Duplicate Items.
  4. iTunes will now display anything in your library it thinks are duplicate tracks.
  5. By holding down Command and clicking on titles (control for PC users), you can select the ones you'd like to remove and simply drag them to the trash.

It's important to note that sometimes iTunes can confuse different mixes and slight variations that come on different albums. So make sure what you're deleting is actually a duplicate and not a remix or version from a different album. That's why we recommend using the exact duplicate option explained in the steps below.

How to show only exact song duplicates in iTunes

  1. Launch iTunes on either your Mac or PC.
  2. Hold down the Alt - Option key on your Mac (Shift key for Windows users) and now click on View in the top navigation.
  3. While still holding down the Alt - Option or Shift key, you'll now notice that the duplicates option has now become Show Exact Duplicate Items. Click on it while still holding down.
  4. iTunes will now display only exact matches. Here you can weed through tracks easier than you can showing all duplicates.

Other options

If you're still having issues or have a massive library that requires a more powerful and less time consuming option, apps like TuneUp can not only automatically clean up duplicate tracks, but also replace missing cover art and fix album titles. If you're looking for something more slimmed down with a lighter price tag, Song deDuper is a cheaper option and available in the Mac App Store. Song deDuper allows you to narrow using several criteria and can clean out your library without the need for you to manually delete duplicates. It's not as powerful as suites like TuneUp but it does what it says it will, and does it well.

If you've used other software to remove duplicate tracks from your library, let us know what you used and how well it worked in the comments. Especially you Windows users out there!

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 18 comments. Add yours.

TheNickKitchen says:

What if you have a massive library but you use Windows 8? Is there a good program for cleaning up dupes there?

Cliff_caltech says:

I used CopyTrans TuneTastic on my windows 8 to remove my iTunes library duplicates. The program is free:

Mikey-24 says:

Tune Sweeper is the best program I could find for cleaning up masses of iTunes duplicates on my Windows 8 computer. See here

Sharky66 says:

Is there a similar option for Windows based iTunes? Show Duplicates gets me over 1,300 items - exact duplicates would solve a lot of problems. Or alternatively, a Windows version of Song deDuper

Derrick4Real says:

I don't know a Windows one off the top of my head but i can tell you i use windows and have a large library. I had to do this maybe 6 or 7 years ago and there are programs. I used one. I simply forget it and i was running xp/vista then. My suggestion is google something like "remove duplicates from itunes" or something along that lines and just go from there and see what you get. I think i had to test two or three apps before i found one i could use. I'm sure now there are much better options. In fact that ideduper below looks decent.

Be careful though, find one that's got good searching variables. Because if you're like me and have multiple versions of songs you surely don't want a weak software that only searches the artist name and song name. I always paid attention to song length to tell if it was really a duplicate. Also be careful not to break up full albums if you don't actually intend to. good luck.

Derrick4Real says:

can't vouch for any of these as i said i did this a long ago but this looks like a possibility

Sharky66 says:

Thanks bud - appreciate the help!

Allyson Kazmucha says:

The only options I could find for Windows that looked legit was this:

I just didn't list it because I couldn't verify how well it works since I'm Mac based.

NAMISH says:

Frickin' Awesome! I have an increasing number of tracks in my library and pretty much every song has its proper album art, and IDE tags... yet I have the occasional duplicates. Somehow I never noticed these options in iTunes before and ended up relying on coming across duplicates when playing on my iPod or iPhone or manually hunt them down within Windows Explorer.

This'll help tremendously in straightening out my playlist and I'm completely OCD about keeping my library organized and all tracks updated with the proper information and no duplicates, etc.


markbun says:

I'm using duplicate files deleter you can download here

Kaddisoni says:

Thank you. I know I can delete iTunes duplicates with iTunes, but it's not the like I want. Fairly inconvenient. I then noticed an automatic tool allowing me to do this and repair my iTunes library in a favorable way. Recommend imElfin Tunes Cleaner with all you guys. You will love it just like me.

janery song says:

Show duplicates is now under VIEW in iTunes 11. Just use the drop down menu to select between music, movies, etc. Then go to view>show duplicates. Then you can just select all and delete.

Hope that helps with some of it!

Cecily Walker says:

TuneUp is $49.99, not $4.99 as listed in the article.

hangmong says:

But but if you have 4,725 songs showing as duplicates since re-importing your files, it's not very practical. I have ever come accross such issue. Finally my boyfriend help me remove these duplicate songs with one click by using itunes clean up tool. It seems to called Tenorshare Music Cleanup.

riracal says:

Here is a video guide can help you find and delete duplicate songs in itunes more easier:

ijabz says:

Can I recommend songkong for windows and osx - hre are the details of delete duplicate options

smithcool says:

Thank you. Althought for it was fairly easy to remove a single duplicate on a Mac by just clicking "View > Show Duplicate Items” in iTunes 11 and later version. However, I've to do it manually one-by-one. It’s time consuming. I've checked Tunesup, but it's only for Mac. I googled and find this for both mac and win: How do u think of it pls?