Cleaning out one’s iTunes Library safely
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I periodically like to clean out my iTunes library, in a major way. However, I make myself nervous: will I delete something I want to retrieve at a later time? Is there an automated, or at least easy, way to backup files before I delete them?
A: Actually, we’ve recently gone through a similar cleaning-out process, and we really enjoyed the ease and safety with which we went about it. Here’s our process:
Create a new empty, standard playlist, and call it “Marked for Deletion.”
Create a smart playlist, with the single condition that “Playlist is not ‘Marked for Deletion’”. Call this playlist “Working List.”
Now, enter the “Working List” playlist, and as you progress through it, drag songs into the “Marked for Deletion” playlist. They will subsequently disappear from view, as if they were actually deleted. This allows you to see the results of your cleaning efforts, while keeping them 100% reversible: to “undelete” a song, simply delete it from “Marked for Deletion.”
Keep working through your “Working List,” make changes as necessary, and when you’re ready, open your “Marked for Deletion” playlist, and burn it to a Data CD or DVD using the procedures in our tutorial here.
Then, simply delete the “Marked for Deletion” playlist and all songs it contains by selecting it in the Source column, holding down the Shift (PC) or Option (Mac) key, and pressing Delete.
We’ve found this to be a fool-proof, easy, elegant way to conduct a massive overhaul of our iTunes Library, and we highly recommend it.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- iDevices adds dynamic automation, enhanced scheduling to ‘Connected’ app for HomeKit
- Apple reports that iOS 10.2.1 significantly reduces unexpected iPhone 6s shutdown issues
- Mobiata announces sunset of FlightTrack 5 and FlightBoard apps
- Harman announces first Wireless CarPlay implementation
- Report: Apple still considering several possible wireless charging solutions for ‘iPhone 8’
- Mini Metro adds Endless Mode
- Apple issues statement opposing Trump administration’s rescission of transgender rights
- ResearchKit study conducted using Apple Watch reveals new insights into seizures
- Instagram adds ability to include up to 10 photos or videos in a single post
- Facebook’s talks with MLB raise possibility that game streams could come to Apple TV
- PureGear PureSwitch HomeKit-enabled Wireless Smart Plug
- 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones
- Revogi Smart Lightbulb, Smart Lightstrip, Smart Candle + Smart Meter Plug
- Audeze iSine10 In-Ear Headphones
- MOCACARE MOCACuff Connected Blood Pressure Monitor
- Apple AirPods
- Elgato Eve Motion
- Olloclip Core Lens Set for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack
- Elgato Eve Light Switch
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10