How to Erase All Duplicates on iTunes

Deleting duplicates manually is generally time consuming.
... Nick White/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If something goes wrong while you sync your portable devices with iTunes, you can end up with thousands of duplicates in your iTunes library. If going through all your albums and deleting duplicate songs manually is not an option, iTunes can display all duplicates in mere seconds. Note that duplicate songs are listed below the original song. Be careful what you delete because you may not be able to recover deleted songs.

Launch iTunes and select the "Music" subcategory from the Library section.

Hold "Shift," click "View" and then choose "Show Exact Duplicate Items" from the menu to view the duplicate songs. Only songs that have the same name, artist and album are displayed by iTunes when you select the Exact Duplicate Items view.

Hold "Ctrl" and click each duplicate until you select all duplicates. Note that duplicate songs are always displayed below the original song.

Press "Delete" and then click the "Delete Songs" button to erase all duplicates.

  • Information in this article applies to iTunes 11. Procedures may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
  • You may not be able to recover your songs after you confirm the deletion. Make sure only duplicates are selected before you press "Delete."
  • To ensure the items are duplicates and the software isn't picking up the wrong files, you can compare them. To locate each file, select it in iTunes, click "File," choose "Get Info" from the menu, right-click anywhere inside the "Where" field and then choose "Show in Windows Explorer" from the menu.
  • To return to the standard view, click "View" and choose "Show All Items" from the menu.
  • Duplicates are erased from your portable devices when you sync them with iTunes.

Nick Peers has been writing technology-related articles since 2003. His articles have appeared in dozens of technical publications, including MSN UK, CNET, BBC Who Do You Think You Are, LifeHacker UK and TechRadar. He holds a Masters in information technology degree from the University of East London.