How to Change Song Information (ID3 Tags) with iTunes

change song information itunes - screenshot
iTunes 12's Get Info Window for Editing Song Info.


Songs copied from CDs into iTunes usually come with all kinds of information like artist, song, and album name, year the album was released, genre, and more. This information is called metadata.

Metadata is useful for obvious things 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 when syncing music to iPhones and iPods. Needless to say, even though most people don't think much about it, it's pretty important.

Songs will usually have all the metadata you need, in some cases this information may be missing or could be wrong (if this happened after ripping a CD, read 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.

How to Change Song Information (ID3 Tags) with iTunes

  1. Open iTunes and highlight the song or songs you want to change by single clicking it. You can also select multiple songs simultaneously.

  2. Once you've selected the song or songs you want to edit, do one of the following:

    • Go to the File menu. Select Get Info.
    • Use the keyboard. On a Mac click Command + I; on a PC, click Control + I.
    • Right-click, or hold down Control when clicking.
  3. Whichever method you selected, this pops up the Get Info window that lists all of the song's metadata.

The Get Info window gives you access to edit virtually any information about the song or songs (the actual fields you edit are the ID3 tags). Here's what you need to know:

  1. The Details tab (called Info in some older versions of iTunes) 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. Depending on what else is in your iTunes library, autocomplete suggestions may appear.

  2. The Artwork tabs shows the album art for the song. You can add new art by clicking the Add Artwork button (or just 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.

  3. 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'll need to copy and paste in lyrics into this field. You can also override the built-in lyrics by clicking Custom Lyrics and adding your own.

  4. The Options tab lets you control the volume of the song, automatically apply an equalizer setting, 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.

  5. 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 (e.g., 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 will show up in the same album view without permanently changing the original ID3 tag.

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

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

  8. The Video tab is only used to edit video tags in your iTunes library. Use the fields here to group episodes the same season of a TV show together.

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

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. Because you're editing a group, you can't select a group of songs and then try to change just one song name.