MacOS iTunes logo

If you do a lot of downloading outside the iTunes store, songs in your library can get jumbled up, leaving you with duplicate albums. If you’d like to know whether you’ve downloaded something twice, it’s easy to tell in iTunes.

Show Duplicate Items in iTunes

MacOS iTunes show duplicate items

Open up iTunes from the Dock or your applications folder. From the File menu in the top menu bar, hover over “Library” and select “Show Duplicate Items” from the dropdown.

This will display a list of items that share the same name and artist, so two songs with the same name by different people won’t show up here.

The album, length, and content can be different, which may lead to some confusion. Not everything in this list is an offender, so you shouldn’t just go deleting everything.

MacOS iTunes duplicate items

For example, compilation and “best of” albums that curate songs from that artist will show up here if you also have the original copy. If an artist puts out an updated version of a song on a later album, that shows up here as well, assuming it has the same name. “Premium” editions of albums that feature additional songs will show up here too if you have both versions. In each case, you might want to keep some of the songs iTunes claims are duplicates, so double check before deleting anything.

However, you never want to select everything and delete, because this list shows both copies of the song. You’ll have to hold down Command to select multiple items and manually click on each song you want to get rid of.

MacOS iTunes select multiple items

This is annoying, but there’s no faster way that takes into account all the possible reasons why you’ll have duplicates. Once you’ve selected everything, you can right-click and select “Delete from Library” to remove the items you chose.

MacOS iTunes delete from library

At the top of the screen, you can change the view mode to “Same Album,” which narrows it down much more and solves most of the issues with separate albums.

MacOS iTunes duplicate items in same album

Items in this list are likely import issues, and you can usually remove most of the duplicates without any worries.

Bulk Editing

If you’d like to keep the duplicate songs, but change the album they are contained in, you can do that with bulk editing. Select multiple songs you want to edit with Command+click, then right-click the selected items and click “Get Info” on the context menu.

MacOS iTunes edit multiple items

This will bring up a prompt informing you that you are trying to edit multiple items. You can press “Do not ask me again” to hide this in the future.

MacOS iTunes edit items prompt

Click “Edit Items” to proceed to the info screen. From here, you can make changes to any of these boxes, and they will be applied to every song you have selected. If you change the album, the songs will sort into a new album, though you may have to add the album art back under “Artwork.”

MacOS iTunes multiple items edit menu

Be careful when changing information here because it’s hard to sort everything back into place should you mess something up. One annoying thing is the track numbers, which you can’t edit in bulk. If your track numbers are out of place, you’ll have to edit them one-by-one manually, which can take some time.

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Anthony Heddings is the resident cloud engineer for LifeSavvy Media, a technical writer, programmer, and an expert at Amazon's AWS platform. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and CloudSavvy IT that have been read millions of times.
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