Delete iTunes song duplicates?

Esoremada

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 5, 2009
10
0
How do I delete duplicate songs in iTunes? No, I don't want to see hundreds of pairs of songs side by side that must be selected and removed one at a time. No, I didn't just add a folder twice by mistake so sorting by date and deleting recently added duplicates isn't an option.

It seems like this should be a basic functionality but all I can find is Dupe Away for $14. I'd really rather not go through the bother of finding new media software, how can I delete iTunes duplicates for free?
 

Esoremada

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 5, 2009
10
0
Yes and I end up with this.



This is what I was referring to with "hundreds of pairs of songs side by side that must be selected and removed one at a time". Am I missing something, is there a way to sort them in to 2 groups or something?
 
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ObuckiO

macrumors regular
Dec 9, 2011
219
0
Ohio
Yes and I end up with this.

Image

This is what I was referring to with "hundreds of pairs of songs side by side that must be selected and removed one at a time". Am I missing something, is there a way to sort them in to 2 groups or something?
I found a simple video that you might have seen, but don't know if it will do the trick Take a peek
 

Esoremada

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 5, 2009
10
0
I found a simple video that you might have seen, but don't know if it will do the trick Take a peek
Thanks, but that didnt work either. He's basically just displaying "Exact" duplicates and deleting them all. For the people that had it work, they probably had one copy of the duplicate songs with a different album or something so it worked. But as you can see in the comments tons of people just got talked in to deleting most of their music lol.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think DupeGuru ME has an option to automatically check off one of each of those side-by-side pairs which so discourages you. And it's free!

http://www.hardcoded.net/dupeguru_me/
When I open it it says it's "fairware" which means I can only delete 10 duplicates before buying it. I also can't get it working to delete even 10, it seems to show me filenames instead of tags for some reason.

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I ended up just going through selecting alternate songs 1 by 1 while displaying songs because it didn't take as long as the time I spent looking for a faster way haha. If anyone has a way though, Im sure I'll have this problem again in the future.
 

SuperCachetes

macrumors 6502a
Nov 28, 2010
793
142
Away from you
I ended up just going through selecting alternate songs 1 by 1 while displaying songs because it didn't take as long as the time I spent looking for a faster way haha. If anyone has a way though, Im sure I'll have this problem again in the future.
Why wouldn't you just try and figure out what is causing you to have duplicates in the first place?
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
757
This is what I was referring to with "hundreds of pairs of songs side by side that must be selected and removed one at a time". Am I missing something, is there a way to sort them in to 2 groups or something?
First, there are reasons why you may want to keep some duplicates. iTunes considers items duplicates if the song name and artist fields match. They may be from different albums, have different lengths, may be live and studio versions, etc. There is no software that can make those determinations for you. The safest method of dupe deletion is manual. With any other method, you run the risk of deleting something you didn't intend to delete.

Also, you only have 282 duplicates, which means you have around 140 items to select for deletion. From the time you posted the screen shot, you could have already finished the task before the next person posted in this thread. Just hold the Command key down while you click on all the duplicate tracks, then hold the Option key down and press the Delete key. When asked, select to move the files to the trash. Done.
 

Esoremada

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 5, 2009
10
0
Why wouldn't you just try and figure out what is causing you to have duplicates in the first place?
Every few months I copy paste my iTunes library in to a folder. I decided to put the folder back in to iTunes to listen to songs I was sick of and deleted but might want again.

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First, there are reasons why you may want to keep some duplicates. iTunes considers items duplicates if the song name and artist fields match. They may be from different albums, have different lengths, may be live and studio versions, etc. There is no software that can make those determinations for you. The safest method of dupe deletion is manual. With any other method, you run the risk of deleting something you didn't intend to delete.

Also, you only have 282 duplicates, which means you have around 140 items to select for deletion. From the time you posted the screen shot, you could have already finished the task before the next person posted in this thread. Just hold the Command key down while you click on all the duplicate tracks, then hold the Option key down and press the Delete key. When asked, select to move the files to the trash. Done.
Yeah I agree but in the past I've had hundreds and I probably will again in the future, I think it would be an easy useful feature for iTunes to have the option to delete all but one of each duplicate.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
757
I think it would be an easy useful feature for iTunes to have the option to delete all but one of each duplicate.
That feature is already there. Click File > Display Duplicates. That will show you all the duplicates, where you have the option of selecting and deleting any duplicates you choose. As already stated, it's not safe to automate the selection and deletion process, since you could end up losing the copy you wanted to keep.
 

Denimgirl

macrumors newbie
Aug 22, 2003
3
0
Western Australia
So if you have more than one duplicate of a single song i.e. the same song 4 times and the icloud status is Matched, Duplicate, Uploaded and Purchased...how do you know which ones to delete so that you still have one on your computer and one in the cloud??

Cheers
Denimgirl
 

Esoremada

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 5, 2009
10
0
That feature is already there. Click File > Display Duplicates. That will show you all the duplicates, where you have the option of selecting and deleting any duplicates you choose. As already stated, it's not safe to automate the selection and deletion process, since you could end up losing the copy you wanted to keep.
Having the option of selecting duplicates and deleting them isn't what I'd call a feature. Display Duplicates is a useful feature, and all I'm saying is that having another button called Clean Up Duplicates or something that deletes all but one of each duplicate would also be a useful feature. If this is too powerful a feature for the average consumer and not safe to put in a program, then I don't want to live in this world anymore lol.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
757
Having the option of selecting duplicates and deleting them isn't what I'd call a feature. Display Duplicates is a useful feature, and all I'm saying is that having another button called Clean Up Duplicates or something that deletes all but one of each duplicate would also be a useful feature. If this is too powerful a feature for the average consumer and not safe to put in a program, then I don't want to live in this world anymore lol.
How would you propose a "Clean Up Duplicates" function would work? By what criteria would it select which files to delete and which to keep?
 

Esoremada

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 5, 2009
10
0
How would you propose a "Clean Up Duplicates" function would work? By what criteria would it select which files to delete and which to keep?
That's for Apple to decide based on how much work they want to put in. Making a button to delete all but the newest duplicate would be extremely easy I'd assume because they already have the criteria for duplicates for Show Duplicates. But they could put it as a section in the Preferences so you can choose to have it keep one based on bitrate or date added or album. Or it could be a pop up box that appears when you click the button instead.

Implementation isn't that important, but the more power the user has the better IMO
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
757
Implementation isn't that important, but the more power the user has the better IMO
That's exactly why deleting duplicates manually is the most effective method. It gives the user complete control to decide what criteria, or combination and priority of critera, will be applied, including bitrate, date added, song length, tag information available, etc. There is simply no reliable method that can be applied to automatic deletion without the user ultimately being upset because the "delete duplicate" deleted the wrong thing. I don't want iTunes or any other app making those decisions for me. If you had proceeded with the manual method, your duplicates would have been gone almost a month ago, the same day you started this thread.
 

Esoremada

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 5, 2009
10
0
That's exactly why deleting duplicates manually is the most effective method. It gives the user complete control to decide what criteria, or combination and priority of critera, will be applied, including bitrate, date added, song length, tag information available, etc. There is simply no reliable method that can be applied to automatic deletion without the user ultimately being upset because the "delete duplicate" deleted the wrong thing. I don't want iTunes or any other app making those decisions for me. If you had proceeded with the manual method, your duplicates would have been gone almost a month ago, the same day you started this thread.
I did do that almost a month ago and it took around 15 minutes which could have been 15 seconds with a simple feature.

That's exactly why deleting duplicates manually is the most effective method.
I'm not suggesting they remove the ability to do it manually. If there was a feature that removed all but one of groups of files with shared characteristics x, y and z (choosable in preferences) that would make deleting duplicates a lot faster in pretty much every situation. If people are too scared that this is too complicated and powerful a feature to approach, they can simply not use it.

This thread should indeed not be here after a month. It was a help thread and it is now clear that there is no solution aside from paying for 3rd party software; it is now a suggestion thread that should be moved to that forum section or locked. (admins?)
 

PreetinderBajwa

macrumors regular
May 30, 2009
130
0
HK
What I found

Hi everyone,

I was having the same problem and I ran across this thread. One thing I found which I can share with you :

Sometimes in show duplicates, you only see one song which means its leaving a song behind. Sometimes I saw two songs (same details) and correctly so. I did a quick search of the library and I found 3 copies of song... 2 in duplicates were shown.....

So in a lot of circumstances, its safe to just delete everything that pops up in show duplicates/show exact duplicates(Option+show duplicates) and there still be one song in your library left for you.

Yeah album differences/small length differences in song are the risk you take.

Thanks
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
757
This thread should indeed not be here after a month. It was a help thread and it is now clear that there is no solution aside from paying for 3rd party software; it is now a suggestion thread that should be moved to that forum section or locked. (admins?)
Many threads are still useful for years, as others may have questions or comments that add value to the thread. It doesn't need to be closed or moved, as it's in the right forum.