How to Match Songs to Playlists in iTunes

Easily locate a song's playlist

Young man using mac laptop and finding a song on his iTunes playlist

damircudic / Getty Images

iTunes is a powerful media tool, capable of holding songs, movies, audiobooks, podcasts, and more. One of iTunes' most popular features is its ability to create playlists. Make playlists with upbeat, motivating songs for your workouts, or use melodic instrumentals for a meditation playlist. Create playlists by certain artists or groups, your favorite oldies, or use the iTunes smart playlist feature to automatically build playlists.

Many of us end up with multiple playlists, and it's easy to lose track of which songs you've put on which playlist. Fortunately, iTunes makes it easy to figure out which playlist houses a specific song.

We've included instructions for locating songs on playlists using iTunes 11 and iTunes 12, as well as using the Music App, which replaces iTunes in macOS Catalina.

Match a Song to an iTunes 11 Playlist

  1. Launch iTunes, located in the Applications folder.

  2. Make sure you're viewing your music library by selecting the Library button, located in the iTunes toolbar.

    The Library button is on the far right. If you don't see the Library button, but instead see the iTunes Store, then you're already viewing your music library.

  3. Select Songs from the iTunes toolbar.

  4. Right-click on a song's title and select Show in Playlist from the pop-up menu.

  5. A submenu will appear, showing all the playlists to which the song belongs.

    Playlists are displayed with an icon showing how they were created. A sprocket icon indicates a smart playlist, while a staff and note indicate a playlist that was created manually.

  6. If you like, select a playlist from the submenu and that playlist will begin to play.

Match a Song to an iTunes 12 Playlist

  1. Launch iTunes, located in your Applications folder.

  2. Ensure that iTunes is displaying content from your music library by selecting My Music from the iTunes toolbar. (Depending on your iTunes version, My Music may be replaced with a button labeled Library.)

  3. Select Songs from the sorting button at the far left of the iTunes toolbar or from within the iTunes sidebar.

    The sorting button displays the current sorting method, so if it says Songs, you don't need to do anything.

  4. Right-click on a song's title and select Show in Playlist from the pop-up menu.

    Playlists that contain the selected song are grouped by type. Smart playlists are depicted with a sprocket icon; playlists you created manually use a music staff and notes icon.

  5. A list of playlists that contain the selected song will appear in a submenu.

    Screenshot of iTunes 12: Show in Playlist

Match a Song to a Music Playlist

If you have macOS Catalina, iTunes functionality now belongs to the Apple Music app.

  1. Open the Music app on your Mac.

  2. Select Songs in the sidebar on the left.

  3. Control-click the song, then choose Show in Playlist. You'll see which music playlists that song belongs to.