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?
- Apple releases iOS 10.1, tvOS 10.0.1, watchOS 3.1
- New details about Apple Watch Nike+ exclusives, availability
- Apple’s website hints at possible Apple Pay launch in Germany
- ConnectSense Smart Outlet adds power monitoring, reduces price
- Automatic releases new Automatic Lite version of car monitoring accessory
- Apple releases fourth tvOS 10.0.1 beta
- iOS dev finds unimplemented one-handed keyboard in iOS code
- Apple sends out press invites for ‘Hello Again’ Oct. 27 Mac event
- Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.1 to developers
- Apple partners with builders to include HomeKit-enabled devices in new homes
- Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2 Headphones
- Incase Icon, Pop, and Textured Snap for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Philips Hue Motion Sensor
- Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature Headphones
- Tech Armor FlexProtect and Shock Flex for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- SwitchEasy Flash and Fleur for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Blue Microphones Raspberry Mobile Microphone
- Incipio Haven for iPhone 7 and Reprieve Sport for iPhone 7 Plus
- Mophie Hold Force Magnetic Case System for iPhone 7
- Speck Presidio and Tech21 Evo Tactical for iPhone 7
- 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
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps