How to Change ID3 Tags and Other Song Info in iTunes

edit itunes song info
iTunes 12's Get Info Window for Editing Metadata.

In most cases, songs copied from CD to iTunes be imported with all their metadata (a name for information about the song, like artist, album, genre, and year). The metadata is useful for obvious things like knowing the name of the song that's playing, but iTunes also uses it for categorizing music, knowing when two songs are part of the same album, and for certain settings for syncing iPhones and iPods.

Needless to say, even though most people don't think much about it, it's pretty important.

While songs will usually have all the metadata you need, in some cases, this information either may be missing or could be wrong and you'll want to change it. To do that, you'll have to edit the song's metadata (also known as ID3 tags) using iTunes. Here's how.

How to Change ID3 Tags  in iTunes

  1. Open iTunes and highlight the song or songs you want to edit by clicking on it once. To highlight a group of songs, click the song at the top of the list you want to change, then hold down the Shift key and click the song at the bottom of the list. This will highlight all the songs in between.
  2. Once you have selected the song or songs you want to edit, do the following:

  • Go to the File menu
  • Select Get Info about halfway down the menu

Alternatively, you can also use keyboard commands to open the Get Info window. Select the song or songs you want to edit and then, on a Mac click Command + I;  on a PC, click Control + I.

For a third method: Right clicking, or holding down Control when clicking, pops up a menu that you can select Get Info from, too.

  1. Whichever method you selected, this pops up the Get Info window that lists all of the song's metadata. In this window, you can edit virtually any information about the song or songs (the actual fields you edit are the ID3 tags). The Summary tab, the first one displayed, shows the album art associated with the song or album, the track name and length, artist and album name, and various other information about the song. This tab has been removed in iTunes 12 and replaced with the File tab. See item 9 below for more information.
  1. The Info or Details tab is perhaps the most common place to edit iTunes song info. Here you can edit song name, artist, album, year, genre, star rating, and more. Simply click on the content you want to add or edit and begin typing to make your changes. 
    • In iTunes 12, there's an Add Field drop down on the Details tab. Clicking this will allow you to add some additional metadata to the song that's not included by default.
  2. The Artwork tabs shows the album art associated with the song. You can add new art by clicking the "Add" (or "Add Artwork" depending on your version of iTunes) button and selecting image files on your hard drive. Alternatively, you can use iTunes' built-in album art downloading tool to add available art to all the songs and albums in your library.
  3. The Lyrics tab is where you can copy and paste in lyrics to the song, if you have them. ITunes doesn't have a built-in lyrics tool, but there are numerous websites that provide this lyrics that can be easily copied and pasted.
  4. The Options tab lets use control the volume of the song, automatically apply an equalizer setting, give or edit a star rating, and determine 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.
  1. The Sorting tab determines how the song, artist, and album show up in your iTunes library when it's sorted by those criteria. 

    For instance, 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 (e.g., 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). But, if you add the artist and album name to the Sort Artist and Sort Album fields, all the songs from the album will show up in the same album view without permanently changing the original ID3 tag.

  2. The File tab, which is a new addition in iTunes 12, provides the information that the Summary tab used to offer about song time, file type, bit rate, purchase information, and more.

  3. The arrow key at the bottom left of the window in iTunes 12 move from one song to the next, either forward or backward, so you can edit more song data.

  4. The Video tab is only used to edit videos in your iTunes library, not songs. Use the fields here to group episodes the same season of a TV show together.
  5. When you're done making the edits you want, click OK at the bottom of the window. If you want to edit the next song listed in your iTunes library, click the "Next" button.

NOTE: If you're editing a group of songs, you'll only be able to make changes that apply to all the songs. For instance, you can change the name of the album or artist or the genre of a group of songs. You can't, however, select a group of songs and then try to change just one song name, because you're editing a group.

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