How to find duplicate songs in iTunes

If your Mac is running low on precious storage, consider cleaning up your disk space by finding and removing songs that show up more than once in your iTunes library.

If your music library spans more than a decade like mine, I’m guessing you’ve amassed thousands if not tens of thousands of tunes from various sources over all these years.

My library consists of a ton of albums and songs that I ripped from my personal CD collection, as well as those purchased from iTunes Store back in the day when streaming wasn’t a thing.

When adding items to your iTunes library from multiple sources, chances are you’ll inevitably end up with duplicate songs that take up valuable storage space. Thankfully, iTunes includes a feature that can help you easily identify and remove any duplicates from your library.

To learn how, follow our step-by-step tutorial included below.

How to find duplicate songs in iTunes

1) Open iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC.

2) Choose Songs underneath the Library heading from the sidebar on the left.

3) Click the File menu, choose Library, then select Show Duplicate Items.

find duplicate songs in iTunes

iTunes detects duplicates based on song metadata

iTunes filters out all the songs except duplicates. It’s important to know that duplicate items are determined based on the song name and artist rather than on audio analysis. If your tags are all messed up, iTunes may fail to find identical songs even if they sound exactly the same.

Identifying multiple duplicate variants

Do you have multiple variants of the same song? For example, live and studio versions or versions from different albums? If so, hold the Option (⌥) key (Mac) or the Shift (⇧) key (Windows) and choose Show Exact Duplicate Items from the File → Library menu.

find variants of duplicate songs in iTunes

Get rid of duplicate songs in your iTunes library to free up valuable disk space

This particular feature only shows duplicates with the same name, artist and album. With any duplicate items found, conveniently identified and collated in one place, now might be a good idea to decide which identical songs you should remove from the iTunes library.

How to delete duplicate songs in iTunes

To help you determine which item to keep and which to remove, it’s always a good idea to sort your duplicates by name, artist, time, release date, genre and what not. Just click any column at the top to sort the items accordingly. You can reveal many more sorting options by right-clicking one of the columns at the top, such as Name, Artist and so forth.

To remove duplicates from your library, follow these steps:

1) Select one or more duplicates that you’d like to delete.

2) Choose the option Delete from the Song menu. If you’d like to delete duplicate songs that you added to your library from Apple Music, choose the option Delete from Library instead.

3) When you’ve finished deleting duplicates from your library, click Done.

delete duplicate songs in iTunes

Hold Command (⌘) to select discontinuous items or Shift (⇧) for a contiguous selection

Information in other columns, such as Time, Release Date or Genre, can also help you determine which item to keep and which to remove. For example, the Plays column shows which version of the song you’ve listened to more. If you have iCloud Music Library turned on, you might also want to use the iCloud Status or Kind columns to help you decide.

Need help? Ask iDB!

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