iTunes IconWhen you are filling your iPod with music, it is inevitable that you will forget what you have on it at some point. If you are a music buff, you may have thousands of songs you have to sort through in iTunes. Finding those duplicate files in iTunes can be frustrating and time consuming if you go through files one by one.

iTunes has a built-in feature that lets you find duplicate files. It is easy to use, takes little time and allows you to easily find duplicates and clean up the duplicate music files.

How to find duplicate files in iTunes

There are two ways to find duplicate files in iTunes. You can either do it manually or use the built-in tool iTunes has to find them for you. While both methods have their individual uses, they both should be used to thoroughly go through your collection when necessary.

In the manual method, you want to organize all your songs by “Name.” You can then go through your entire music collection to see which songs are duplicates and then delete one of them. This can be extremely tedious if you have a large music collection and are going through songs for the first time since loading them into iTunes.

manually finding songs (1)

Using the iTunes built-in duplicate song finder is the quickest way to go through your music collection and determine which songs are copies and which are not. While it is not foolproof, once you go through the songs you can take the time to tag the ones that come up as false positives in the duplicates search.

Sorting the Duplicate files

Before you begin sorting through duplicates, you want to make sure your files are sorted by “Date Added.” You can add this category by right-clicking on the header bar.


Once you add this category, you can filter through which song file was added first. This can help sort out the songs and which one was added down the line because you forgot about the first one. While this may not seem like the most logical category to use for sorting, it can make it much easier to pinpoint the original addition to iTunes library.

Now that you have added the “Date Added” category, you can begin the sorting process. You want to go to File and make your way down to “Display Duplicates.” This will be lit up if there are duplicates present in your collection. If it is not lit up, this means it does not see any duplicates.

file menu

Clicking on this will filter through your iTunes collection and display all duplicate files. Depending on how large your collection is, this can take anywhere from two to three minutes to sort through. Once it is done, you can begin going through your songs to figure out what to delete.

displaying duplicates

For iTunes to register duplicate files, the name, album and artist all much match. If they do not, they will not show up as duplicate which means you may still have to go through files manually to eliminate multiple songs in your music library.

How to delete the duplicate files in iTunes

Deleting duplicate files in iTunes may seem like a simple task. Just finding the files is the easy part but wading through what is actually a copy and what is not can be a little trickier. Depending on what type of music library you have, you may find yourself with multiple song copies simply because you have every version released of a particular song. If this is the case, you have to go through the tags to each song to figure out if it truly is a duplicate or not.


When you find a set of duplicates in your iTunes library, you want to check each one to make sure it is in fact a copy. You want to play each file for about 30 seconds to make sure they sound the same. You may find a mislabeled file with one song actually being a remix or a different version than the original. If this is the case, you can change the name and other tags to differentiate it from the original song entry. You want to do this for each duplicate that pops up to make sure you are deleting the right one.

When you are ready to delete a duplicate song, you want to right-click on the song and click “Delete.” This will delete it for you.


You will want to go through each duplicate entry and determine which ones to get rid of and which to keep. Remember once you delete a file from iTunes, you are deleting it from your computer as well which means if you make a mistake you may not be able to get it back right away.

If you are keeping a file, make sure you double check its tags to make sure they are in order so it does not flag as duplicate again by accident when you clean up your music library again.

Why deleting duplicate files on a regular basis makes sense

If you have a large iTunes music library, going through your files every now and again is a great way to preserve space on your iPod or iTouch. If you are adding duplicate entries, you are taking up space that could be taken up by other songs. If you take the time to go through your music before adding it to iTunes, you can save yourself some hassle when looking for copies down the line.

It takes just a few extra seconds when going through the tags of new songs to avoid duplicates filling up your iPod and iTunes library in the first place. Take the time to manage your tags properly and clean up your iTunes library regularly to keep things tidy and organized.