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How to Delete iTunes Duplicate Songs in Bulk

It's really annoying when there are thousands of duplicate songs in your iTunes music library. Don't worry, in this post, we will show you how to delete duplicates in iTunes, why does this problem occur and how to prevent duplicates.

By Abby Poole to iTunes Troubleshooting Tips|Last updated on Mar. 12, 2023

What we really hate to see is that the iTunes music library is messed up with duplicate songs. The duplicated songs not only double the space the music should take, they also force users to play the songs twice before they can go ahead with the next song. Really frustrating! In fact, duplicate songs in iTunes have been one of the most notorious iTunes syncing problems for quite a while. Then why does iTunes duplicate songs and how to mass delete duplicates in iTunes? In this post, we are trying to answer those questions.

How to Find and Delete iTunes Duplicate Songs

How to Delete iTunes Duplicate Songs Individually?

First, find the duplicate songs in iTunes.

1. Open the iTunes app on Mac or Windows.

2. On older iTunes version, click View > Show Duplicates. On versions later than iTunes 12, click Find > Library > Show Duplicated Items.

3. Then you will see a list of iTunes duplicate songs. Go check the song's info (release data, genre, release date, etc.).

4. If you have stored different versions of a song, hold the Alt or Option key (Mac) or the Shift key (Windows) and click File > Library > Show Exact Duplicate Items to display the duplicated songs.

find duplicates in iTunes

Second, how to delete duplicates in iTunes.

1. After you sort out the duplicate songs in iTunes library, hold Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac) key and select multiple duplicate songs you want to remove.

2. Click Song button from the top menu bar and select Delete from Library. Then click Delete from the popping up window.

3. After the duplicate songs are deleted from iTunes library, click Done and that's all.

remove duplicate songs in iTunes

Related: How to Sync iPhone to Mac without Erasing, iPhone Not Sync with iTunes

How to Mass Delete iTunes Duplicate Songs?

"My iTunes music library has duplicated my entire music library. I can delete these duplicates individually but it will take me possibly hundreds of hours. How can I mass delete duplicates in iTunes?"

Using iTunes to find and delete duplicate songs is easy, but doesn't necessarily mean fast. Apple provides an option to show all duplicates, no option to remove all of them with one click. It could be a daunting task using iTunes features to manually select and remove all the duplicates of the whole iTunes music library, especially there are tons of tracks. As a matter of fact, music lovers nagged by such problem are not in the minority. Luckily, there are paid and free apps to bulk delete duplicates in iTunes with huge time savings. Below are two famous iTunes duplicates removers that you can download and try.

* Dupin Lite (OS X)

* DeDuper (Windows)

Also see: How to Bulk Delete Photos from iPhone, Delete Videos from iPhone in Bulk

Why does iTunes Duplicate Songs?

Sometimes, new duplicate tracks appear with little cloud icons right after the duplicates are deleted. To stop iTunes from duplicating songs any more in the future, we have to go to the root of the problem. Currently, Apple doesn't provide an official reason for why duplicates are being created in iTunes, but there are a few things that may cause the problem concluded by experienced Apple users.

1. Tracks purchased or downloaded elsewhere (ripped from CD, downloaded online, shared with friends, purchased from artists' site, other stores, etc) will be copied. You may see a little cloud icon with an X on it, indicating that the song is stored in the iTunes the library in the cloud but not from iTunes.

2. If the iTunes is set to copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library (default option) and the same songs are repeatedly imported from outside the media folder or are added from an external drive that saves the media folder that was offline when iTunes was launched.

3. Songs untagged will be sorted into Unknown Artist/Unknown Album in iTunes with the name <Filename>.

How to Stop iTunes from Duplicating Songs?

Since we have got some clues of the reason why does iTunes duplicate songs, now the problem is how to stop it doing the same thing. Below are some actions you may take to prevent iTunes from duplicating songs any longer.

1. Import Songs with An iTunes Alternative

When iTunes is duplicating songs from sources other than iTunes, you can try a third alternative: add songs with other programs. You can use the famous one - MacX MediaTrans. It will add/export iTunes purchased tracks as well as songs, pictures, videos, ringtones, etc. downloaded, ripped or shared from other sources. It will import the songs with fast speed without duplicating any tracks.   

1. Transfer any purchased iTunes music, playlists & albums, ripped/downloaded songs, etc. between iDevices and computer;

2. Add and export music, photos, videos, ringtones, voice memo, etc. by drag and drop without creating duplicate copies;

3. Manage iPhone music library, delete duplicate iTunes songs, create iPhone ringtones, make personal playlists, etc.

4. Mount iPhone as a hard drive, remove iTunes DRM, encrypt iPhone backups, auto convert video/audio for iPhone, etc.

5. The iTunes alternative will remove the restrictions and possible errors that come along with iTunes.

2. Disable iCloud Music Library

There are users reporting that disabling iCloud Music Library will immediately remove all the duplicates in iTunes. By doing this, you will lose the new syncing tracks. Furthermore, this also creates problems. When iCloud Music Library is turned off, new tracks can't be synced to the iPhone. And when it is turned on, it's not allowed to drag and drop songs between Mac and iPhone. So when you get a song not from Apple Music, add it to iTunes > turn on iCloud Music Library on the Mac > upload the song to the cloud and get back all the iTunes duplicates > turn off iCloud Music Library to delete all the duplicates in iTunes.

3. Disable iTunes Copy to... Feature

Since iTunes may automatically copy files to media file when it is launched, you can change the settings to stop iTunes from duplicating songs. First, you can add new tracks directly to the iTunes media folder before adding it to iTunes. Or you're suggested to disable the option "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library".

Still have any problem on how to bring the greyed out iTunes songs back to normal, just email us >>
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