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Aug 17, 2013

iTunes tutorial: How to clean up and slim down your library

by Freddie Harrison

Whether your Mac is running slow, you’re about to switch machines or just fancy starting fresh for OS X Mavericks, here’s how to clean up your iTunes library.

iTunes 11 - Clean up library - FeaturediTunes 11 - Clean up library - SidebarMost of us have been using iTunes for years. We’ve been buying music from the iTunes Store, importing CDs, acquiring music from other sources, discovering videos and finding that all of this has created an unsightly mess in desperate need of a clean. With OS X Mavericks just around the corner, this is a good time to have a tidy up and ensure that your experience of the update is a pleasurable one. You will find that your library has missing cover art, artist information, duplicated tunes and missing data. There will be songs you think are rubbish and need to be moved to make searching easier. You could use Tunes Cleaner via the Mac Store for this, but it comes at a cost. If you have a small amount time, however, you would be better served with this tutorial. This way, you get a hands-on feel for your library.

iTunes 11 - Clean up library - Step-by-Step

iTunes 11 - Clean up library - Step 1

Step 1: Delete the duplicates

You may have duplicated songs you want to delete. This cannot be done in iTunes 11, so in previous versions, go to File>Show Duplicates and delete. Depending on your version you may find this particular option under the View menu.

iTunes 11 - Clean up library - Step 2

Step 2: Get Match’d

To rid your Mac of music, you may want to consider iTunes Match, which allows you to stream and sync your library through the cloud.

iTunes - 11 Clean up library - Step 3

Step 3: Remove songs

If you’re the kind of person who likes to rate songs, you can remove unwanted tunes pretty easily. Select Music>Songs. Click Ratings to group one and two-star ratings. Hold Ctrl+Select+Delete.

iTunes 11 - Clean up library - Step 4

Step 4: Consolidate files

Go to File>Library>Organize Library, select Consolidate files and hit OK to consolidate all types of media into one easy-to-find place.

iTunes 11 - Clean up library - Step 5


Step 5: Create sub-folders

You are also able to create sub-folders and place imported media from Music to Audiobooks into them. Just tick the Reorganize files box.

iTunes 11 - Clean up library - Step 6

Step 6: Edit the metadata

Ensure that the metadata is working well for you and has, at the very least, correct info. Right-click a song, select Get Info and choose the Info tab.

iTunes 11 - Clean up library - Step 7

Step 7: Batch edit music

You may need to edit a lot of similar tunes. Maybe a band’s name is misspelled. Highlight a batch by Ctrl+clicking tracks. Right-click and select Get Info.

iTunes 11 - Clean up library - Step 8

Step 8: Grab album artwork

If you want to find missing album artwork for songs in your library, click File>Library and select Get Album Artwork. Your iTunes app will now perform a scan.

iTunes 11 - Clean up library - Step 9

Step 9: Sweep through tunes

Sort your songs by name and look for any that are called unknown or untitled. Do the same with artist and album. Ensure you alter the metadata too.

(Click on the image below to zoom in and view the annotations.)

iTunes 11 - Clean up library - Annotated

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    • anxyex

      What if you have hundreds if not thousands of songs in your iTunes that have incorrect or with songs with typos or completely blank track names. Trust me to sit in front of your computer and manually change the names and correct them is going to take you a very, very long time. It’s just not doable. This is true especially if you have a really, really large catalog of music in your iTunes. What you need is just a easy-to-use cleanup tool called Tenorshare Music Cleanup:
      I have ever used it to clean up my mess iTunes music library in just 1 click.

    • GeraldTalbert