How to Add Album Art in iTunes

Album art enhances your music experience

Illustration of a person looking at Album Artwork on an iMac

Lifewire / Derek Abella

When you buy music from the iTunes Store or other online music stores or add songs from streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify to your library, the songs or albums come with album art. This album art is the digital version of the album cover or CD booklet cover. However, album art may be missing for songs you download from a file-sharing service or rip from a CD

You can enjoy music without album art, but iTunes and the iOS Music app are visual. Your experience with your music is more interesting if you have the artwork for as many albums and songs as possible. 

Information in this article applies to iTunes 12 and iTunes 11 on a Mac or Windows PC except as noted. Album artwork can only be downloaded using the desktop version of iTunes.

Use iTunes to Get Album Cover Art

There are a few ways to get album art, but using the iTunes built-in album artwork grabber is the easiest. Here's how to use this tool to get album art in iTunes.

Use the iTunes album art tool to find the cover images for your favorite songs.
 Busybee-CR/Getty Images

The built-in iTunes album art tool scans your music library and the Apple servers. When it finds art for songs that you have, even songs that you didn't buy at iTunes, it adds them to your library.

The process depends on the version of iTunes: 

  • In iTunes 12 and iTunes 11, select File > Library > Get Album Artwork.
  • In older versions of iTunes, go to the Advanced menu and select Get Album Artwork.

In some versions of iTunes, a window displays a message that you have to send information about your library to Apple to get album artwork but that Apple doesn't store that information. There's no way around this. Apple needs to know what music you have to send you the art for it. If you want to proceed, select Get Album Artwork.

In some versions, the status window at the top of iTunes shows a progress bar as it scans your library for albums and downloads the correct art from iTunes. In others, select the Window menu and choose Activity to follow the progress.

How long the process takes depends on how much music needs to be scanned, but expect to spend at least a few minutes. The art is automatically downloaded, categorized, and added to the correct songs.

If you use iTunes Match or Apple Music, art is added automatically.

Review Missing Album Art

When iTunes completes the scan for the album art and imports the available art, a message appears and lists the albums for which iTunes couldn't find or add any album artwork. Use another method to get album art for these songs or albums.

View Album Art

To see the artwork you have, click or play songs or albums in iTunes and see if the album artwork shows up. In iTunes 12 and iTunes 11, the album art appears in Album view or when you play a song.

Album view in iTunes showing album art

In iTunes 10 and earlier, the art displays in the album art window. To reveal the window, go to the lower-left corner of the iTunes window and click the button that looks like a box with an arrow in it.

In iTunes 10 and earlier, use Cover Flow to see the artwork. To view your iTunes library using Cover Flow, click the fourth button in the upper-right corner next to the Search box. Navigate using the mouse or arrow keys through a presentation of your iTunes library by cover art. Some albums will have artwork, and others won't. Cover Flow is not available in iTunes 11 and higher.

Choose other view options, such as Artists or Albums. Different options are available depending on the version of iTunes. You'll find these options at the top or right of the iTunes window. You can also use the View menu to control the content shown in the main iTunes window. Any of these options display cover art when it is available.

Add CD Cover Art From the Web to iTunes

To add album cover art to albums that iTunes didn't download, find the album cover image online. To find suitable images, go to the band's website, its record label's website, Google Images, or Amazon.

When you find the image you want, download it to your computer. How you do this depends on the browser you use, but in most cases, right-click the image and select a download option.

Band website showing album art for download

Then, open iTunes and find the song or album that goes with the downloaded artwork.

Add Art From the Web to a Song

To add cover art to a song:

  1. Right-click the song title that lacks album art and select Song Info. Or, press Command+I on a Mac or Control+I on a PC to open the information screen.

    ITunes library showing a song without album art

    You may need to click the album art and open it before selecting the song.

  2. Go to the Artwork tab and drag the art you downloaded to the window. In iTunes 12, click Add Artwork and select the file on your hard drive.

    The Artwork tab of a song's information screen
  3. Click OK, and iTunes adds the new art to the song.

    Album art with missing artwork added

Add Art From the Web to an Album

Adding album art to more than one song at a time follows the same process as adding it to a single song, but you must open the album and select all the songs on the album (press Command+A on a Mac or Control+A on a PC), right-click any song, then select Get Info to open the information screen. Select the Artwork tab and drag an image to the space for album art or click Add Artwork. When you click OK, iTunes updates all the selected songs with the new art.

If a lot of songs need art, use a third-party tool to automate the process. Check out the best free cover art downloaders for digital music.

Add Album Art to Music on Older iPods

Some older iPods require an additional step that isn't necessary on recent iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.

Sync your iPod, go to the Music tab, and select the Display album artwork on your iPod check box. When you play songs on your iPod, the album artwork will show up.

Screenshot showing specific steps to add album art on some older iPods

If you don't see this option when you sync your iPod, you don't need it for your device. Album art is added automatically.