All owners of an Apple device met iTunes at some point during the use of their device. No wonder, since mobile phones and tablets are becoming more multimedia device that just an ordinary phone; and iTunes is a media player, library and mobile device management application. With it you may play, organize and download digital and audio material.
Part of iTunes is iTunes Store, where you may purchase and download different contents, including music, music videos, audiobooks, movies and television shows. This is a real multimedia tool that gives every owner an opportunity to create its own collection of songs, videos, movies, TV shows, books and much more.
Problems with iTunes
As you can imagine, no matter how good the tool is, there is always a way to get into some problems. Tool developers will do their best to prevent them, but there are some things even the best developer can´t prevent. When it comes to the iTunes, one of the biggest problems is an amount of duplicates that may appear with time.
When you get a brand new device with an empty iTunes, it is normal that with time you will start to fill it. Your favorite songs and performers, their videos, some good TV shows or movies, and even few books; they will all find a place on your iTunes list. The possibility that with time you download the same song or video few times is more that real.
Unfortunately, your own mistake is not the only way you can get duplicates in your iTunes. It looks like they sometimes appear without your assistance; and it is possible that in some cases you update some content you have downloaded, and iTunes didn´t erase the old version. This way or another duplicates pile up.
At the beginning, it is not a big problem, but with time, it will cause fewer problems. Probably the biggest is that they are occupying a space you could use for some other content. There is another big problem. It looks that iTunes have a bug which activates if encounters a duplicate of a purchased material. In that case, it causes iTunes to stop syncing some content. That will create various problems, such as the impossibility of starting some contest and so on.
How to solve the problem
Once we spotted the problem, the real question is how to deal with it. The logical solution would be to delete all duplicates, but with thousands of different files, it is not easy to find duplicates at all.
So, manual searching is not the best solution, since it takes time and effort. Still, if you decide to manually search for duplicates, remember that you may arrange iTunes columns in a way to see a name of the song, artist, and album.
That way duplicates will be on the list next to each other and it will be much easier to spot them.
In some cases, you will find duplicates that are not really duplicates.
For example, you may have a same song performed by two different artists; or it can be a studio and live version of the same song by the same artist. To make sure you see genuine duplicates, use “View Exact Duplicates” in iTunes options. This way you will get a list of duplicates with same name, artist and album.
Short instruction in manually searching for duplicates
– Open iTunes, click on “Library” and choose the area you want to check for duplicates (let´s say it is “Music”, but you can do the same with anything in iTunes, like videos or e-books).
– You will get your tracks listing. For better visibility, the best solution is to arrange columns to show Name, Artist and Album. It will be displayed if you hold down the Control Key and click on a column at the same time.
– Click on the Name column. That way iTunes will sort all files by name, which will ensure that all files with the same name (those are possible duplicates) stand next to each other, which makes things easier to use and more visible.
– Click on “View”, and then click on “Show Duplicate Items”. At this point, iTunes will display only duplicates. This is a good time to be careful if you want to delete them, since this match is based on a Name of the song and Artist, and not the name of the album. It means if you have more than one version of the same song; for example, if that song is on two different albums, or there is studio and live version, iTunes will show one of those songs as a duplicate.
– Once you deleted all duplicates, go to “View”, then click on “Show All Items”, and you will be back in a normal view mode, with all songs you have listed on your screen.
Now that you’ve found them, don’t forget to actually delete those duplicate songs in iTunes.
Duplicate removing software
Fortunately, there are other solutions that require less of your effort and more work of software that can remove the iTunes duplicates for you. Luckily, there are more and more tools that may help you with this job. They may recognize duplicates; find the most relevant ones based on their quality, length, last time played or some other criteria. Based on that, they will give you a suggestion what version you should keep. Depending on a tool, it may do several other things, such as a graphic statistic about your library.
As you can see, duplicates in iTunes may cause different problems such as sync problems, not enough space in memory for other contents, difficult searches or listening to the same song more times than you would like to. You may think that you don´t have duplicates in your device´s iTunes, but if you try to check it, it is very likely you will experience an unpleasant surprise when you see the amount of duplicates.
What will you do with them is your problem, but being aware of is the first step if you want to solve the problem.