How to Remove Duplicate Songs from iTunes

Have you ended up with duplicate songs in iTunes that you want to remove? iTunes has a built-in “Display Duplicate” feature which can be helpful, but I prefer to use the slightly hidden “Display Exact Duplicates” feature instead. Here are instructions:

  • Open iTunes.
  • Hold down the Option key, click on the File menu, select Library, and then click on the View menu and select “Show Exact Duplicate Items”. (If you don’t hold down the option key you’ll instead see “Show Duplicate Items.”)
  • iTunes will do a search and do its best to display pairs of songs which are exact duplicates of each other. This feature doesn’t work perfectly but it’s pretty good.
  • Then to actually get rid of the duplicates you can hold down the Command key (aka Apple key) and click on each of the songs that you want to delete.
  • Finally, press the Delete key.
  • You’ll be asked if you really want to remove the song. Click the Remove button.
  • Finally, you’ll be asked if your want to move the song file to Trash or keep it in the iTunes Media folder. You could do either but to really get rid of the file you should put it in the Trash.

Note: There is a reason why I don’t like to use  iTunes’ built-in “Show Duplicate Items” feature. In a nutshell, it doesn’t seem to be very effective. I think it only compares the song’s Name and Artist. There are times when one might want two copies of the same song by the same artist. For example, one might have two versions of the same song — one from the original album release and a second version from a live concert album or a greatest hits album.

If you find that iTunes’ “Show Exact Duplicate Items” is not adequate for your needs then you might want to consider some third-party duplicate removers. Here are some applications that’ll help you remove duplicates from iTunes.

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