Clean up iTunes

Clean up your iTunes Library… NOW!


Let’s cut to the chase.  We all have horribly organized iTunes libraries, that’s why we love services like rdio and songza.

I’m going to show you how to reclaim your estate in music and be proud to have a collection that even Sony would be jealous of.


1 . How to delete or restore lost files in iTunes 12 (11.0.1)

(iTunes can’t find the original file location and give the error “The song “X” could not be used because the original file could not be found. Would you like to locate it?”.  You can remove all of these items from your library, unless you want to search and locate them > stay tuned)

Make sure you perform this process first before moving to Section 2.

Here we go:

In the music section.

Create a new playlist called “Good Files”

Select/highlight your entire music library.

Drag all the highlighted rows into the playlist called “Good Files”

(Only the files that can be located will be transferred inside the playlist called “Good Files”, the files that iTunes can not locate will not be transferred.  Now we need to locate those library files only, so we can delete them)

Create a Smart Playlist called “Bad Files”

Match the following rule:

-Playlist Is “Music”

-Playlist Is Not “Good Files”

> OK

Now you will have an entire list of all the songs in your library that iTunes can’t find when it tries to play them in a playlist called “Bad Files”

You have 2 options:

1.  Remove these library anomalies.

2.  Locate each missing song, and then remove the songs you can’t locate.


1.  To delete songs that iTunes can’t find from your iTunes library

-Select / highlight all songs in the playlist “Bad Files”

– Hold “Alt/Option” and “Command” Key then hit “Delete”


2.  To locate as many songs as you can

– Play the song you want to locate that is missing its file

– Click “Locate” when prompted.

– Find the location of the missing song file.

– Repeat this until you are numb in the eyes, then hit yourself with a hammer and proceed to step 1. (If you have 50+ songs to locate)


2.  Delete duplicate songs in iTunes

– Click “View” (in task bar)

– Hold “Alt/Option” key and click “Show Exact Duplicates”  _otherwise known as “Show Exact Duplicates, when you don’t hold “Alt”

-Now you have a list of all the songs with the same name AND the same time.

-Select all Songs and create a new playlist called “Exact Duplicates”

Since we have all the duplicated songs with the exact same time in one playlist now, we can start to sort through them

To sort through the songs by Bit Rate, Sample Rate, or file size…or anything else you’d like …. follow these steps

-Create a new smart playlist and name is “Selected”

Match the following rule:

Playlist is Music

Playlist is Exact Duplicates

Bit Rate is greater than 128kbps


Sample Rate is greater than 44.100 kHz


File Size is greater than 2.0 MB


…….well, you get the picture.


Another way is to just click on the Column Headers and sort by Size, Bit Rate, etc.

Now that you have a smart playlist with the criteria that you want to sort for, you need to decide which files to destroy.

You will have to go one by one and select/highlight the ones you don’t want and then “Alt”+”Command” + “Delete”

Poof!  Gone.

You are now Duplicate Free!