How to find and delete duplicate songs in your iTunes library

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.