Find and Delete Duplicate Files in iTunes

Organize your iTunes library by removing duplicate songs and titles.

One of the problems with building up a music library on iTunes or other media players is that you often wind up with duplicates of songs in your collection. This happens over time and is something you rarely notice right away. You may, for example, forget that you've already bought a particular song from a non-iTunes music service and then go and buy it again from Apple. Alternatively, you might have ripped some CDs or copied archived music from external storage and ended up with duplicates.

Although you can download software to deal with duplicates in iTunes, iTunes has its own built-in option for finding identical tracks.

Before you start trashing duplicates, it's a good idea to first back up your music. If you accidentally delete a track that's not a duplicate, you can restore your iTunes library from a backup source.

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How to Find Duplicate Songs in Your iTunes Library

To see all the songs in your music library, including duplicates, you need to be in the right viewing mode.

  1. Open iTunes and navigate to the Library pane.

  2. Select the drop-down menu near the top left corner of the screen and select Music.

  3. Select Songs under the Library section in the Music sidebar.

  4. Select File from the top menu bar and then Library > Show Duplicate Items.

You should now see a list of tracks that iTunes has identified as duplicates. Browse the list to locate and delete tracks you do not want.

iTunes may list remixes, covers, live versions, and compilation tracks in its Show Duplicate Items list—songs that have the same title but are not, in fact, duplicates.

How to Find Exact Duplicates

If you have a large library, you may be looking for exact results. Lurking in iTunes is a hidden option to search for exact duplicates of songs. This feature is better to use if you have a large music library and want to make sure that you aren't deleting songs that are the same title but different versions. This way, you'll ensure that any compilation albums that contain duplicates remain intact. From the same Songs pane in iTunes:

  1. Hold the Option key and select File from the menu bar and then Library > Show Exact Duplicate Items.

  2. In the Windows version of iTunes, hold the SHIFT key and select View from the menu bar. Select Show Exact Duplicate Items.