Clear iTunes Library and Playlists

My iTunes was a rickety mess. I had links to songs that didn’t exist on my hard drive anymore, duplicates and a bunch of playlists that I didn’t need anymore. I wanted to start over. I could delete all of this data by individually selecting each item and deleting them, but that’s a pain. There is an easier way. Here’s what I did.

Option 1 – Select All then Delete

  1. Open the list of songs you wish to delete.
  2. Hold “CTRL” and press “A“. All songs in the list will be selected.
  3. Press the “Delete” key.
  4. Select the “Delete Items” button to confirm your selection.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for any other music lists.

The items are deleted from the list, but the actual music files are not deleted from the computer.

Option 2 – Clear Everything from iTunes

Warning: This method will reset everything in iTunes to a default state. All playlists, ratings, apps, and library lists will be obliterated. Music files should still be preserved on your hard drive.

  1. Close iTunes.
  2. Navigate to one of the following locations depending on your operating system:
    • Mac OS X: /Users/username/Music/iTunes/
    • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\
    • Windows Vista: C:\Users\username\Music\iTunes\
    • Windows 7: C:\Users\username\My Music\iTunes\
    • Windows 8: C:\Users\username\My Music\iTunes\
    • Windows 10: C:\Users\username\Music\iTunes\
  3. Right-click “iTunes Music Library.xml” and select “Rename“. Give it a name of “iTunes Music Library.old“. Do the same thing for the “iTunes Library.itl” file.
  4. Open iTunes. The library, playlist, ratings will then be cleared out. New “iTunes Music Library.xml” and “iTunes Library.itl” files will be created.

Now if you wish, you can now drag and drop your music files you want to get back to the main window of iTunes. The main folder for iTunes music is located at Documents > My Music > iTunes > iTunes Music. It’s a good idea to organize your music files first before you re-add your music files back to iTunes to avoid duplicates and errant file names.


  1. Jayson Dela Cruz says

    Thank You so much! u saved me from stupidly uninstalling and reinstalling iTunes from my PC :)
    God Bless You and more great tips :))

  2. says

    With iTunes, it’s a one way sync. Stuff from your computer goes to the iPhone. Not the other way around. You’ll need an application that extracts the music off your iPhone to the computer like iRip.

  3. Chris Gainey says

    Thanks so much for help with this! I have so many songs on my itunes that I don’t want on my phone anymore. All the songs I do want are on my phone and I don’t want to sync it to itunes because it will put all of the other songs on itunes back on my phone. My question is if I do option 2 renaming the folders and have itunes create a new one, once I do that can I just sync my phone to itunes and it will just put the songs that I have on my phone on the newly created itunes? Thanks so much! -Chris

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