How to Change Song Information (ID3 Tags) with iTunes

ID3 tags contain all the information about a song

change song information itunes - screenshot


Songs you copied from CDs into iTunes or download from the music site usually come with all kinds of information such as artist, song, and album name, the year the album was released, genre, and more. This embedded information is metadata, also called ID3 tags.

Metadata is useful for obvious purposes like knowing the name of the song, but iTunes also uses it for categorizing music, knowing when two songs are part of the same album, and for some settings such as when syncing music to iPhones and iPods. Even though most people don't think much about it, it's essential.

Songs usually have all the metadata you need, but in some cases, this information may be missing or could be wrong (If this happened after ripping a CD, check out what to do When iTunes Doesn't Have CD Names for Your Music. In that situation, you'll want to change the song's metadata (also known as ID3 tags) using iTunes.

Information in this article applies to iTunes 12 and iTunes 11 unless otherwise indicated.

How to Access Song Information (ID3 Tags) in iTunes

The information window for a song in iTunes gives you access to edit virtually any information about the song or songs. The fields you edit are the ID3 tags.

  1. Open iTunes and select the song or album you want to view the ID3 tags for by single clicking it.

  2. Press Command + I on a Mac or Control + I on a PC to open the information screen for the song.

    The screen that pops up lists all the song's metadata grouped in a series of tabs.

  3. Select each tab and review or change the metadata iTunes has stored about the song.

The tabs in the information screen are Details, Artwork, Lyrics, Options, Sorting, and File, which is new in iTunes 12. Each one contains related information you may want to check out or change.

The Details Tab

Details, called Info in some older versions of iTunes, is the most common place to edit iTunes song info. Here you can edit song name, artist, album, year, genre, star rating, and more. Select the fields with the content you want to add or edit and type to make your changes. Depending on what else is in your iTunes library, autocomplete suggestions may appear.

The information screen for a Bob Dylan song

The Artwork Tab

The Artwork tab shows the album art for the song. You can add new art by clicking the Add Artwork button (or Add, depending on your version of iTunes) and selecting image files on your hard drive. Alternatively, you can use iTunes' built-in album art tool to automatically add art to all the songs and albums in your library.

Artwork tab in iTune song info screen

The Lyrics Tab

The Lyrics tab lists lyrics for the song when they're available. Automatically including the lyrics is a feature of the latest versions of iTunes. In older versions, you need to copy and paste in lyrics into this field. You can override the built-in lyrics by clicking Custom Lyrics and adding your own.

Lyrics field in iTunes song metadata

The Options Tab

The Options tab gives you control over the volume of the song, automatically applies an equalizer setting, and determines the start and stop time of the song. Click the Skip when shuffling box to prevent the song from appearing in Up Next or a shuffle playback.

Options Tab in iTunes

The Sorting Tab

The Sorting tab determines how the song, artist, and album show up in your iTunes library when it's sorted. For example, a song might include a guest star in its Artist ID3 tag. This would make it appear in iTunes as separate from the album it's a part of. For example, a song by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard would show up as a separate artist with a separate album, even though the song is from a Willie Nelson album. If you add the artist and album name to the Sort Artist and Sort Album fields, all the songs from the album show up in the same album view without permanently changing the original ID3 tag.

Sorting tab of metadata in iTunes

The File Tab

The File tab, which is a new addition in iTunes 12, provides information about the song's time, file type, bit rate, iCloud/Apple Music status, and more.

New File tab in iTunes

When you're done making edits, click OK at the bottom of the window to save them.

If you select an album with multiple songs, use the arrow key at the bottom of the information screen in iTunes 12 to move from one song to the next, either forward or backward, so that you can edit the data for every song.