If you have multiple missing songs in your iTunes library, there are a few things you can try to locate them. Here are some quick answers to common questions about finding missing music in iTunes:
Why are songs missing from my iTunes library?
There are a few main reasons songs can go missing from your iTunes library:
- The file has been moved or deleted from its original location on your computer or external hard drive.
- The song file has become corrupted.
- Your iTunes library database is damaged.
- You don’t have the file location properly set in your iTunes preferences.
How can I find missing songs in iTunes?
Here are some steps to locate missing songs in your iTunes library:
- Check if the file is still in its original location – Go to the location where the original song file was saved on your computer or external drive and see if it is still there.
- Search your computer – Use the search function in Windows Explorer or Mac Finder to search for the song title, artist name, or filename.
- Check if the song is hidden – Go to View > Show Hidden Files in Finder (Mac) or Folder Options > View (Windows) to show hidden files and see if the song is in a hidden folder.
- Look for exclamation points – Songs with missing files will have an exclamation point next to them. Sort songs by title and scroll to see which tracks have exclamation points.
- Check recently added – Go to Songs > Recently Added playlist to see if the missing tracks show up there.
- Turn on iCloud Music Library – If you use Apple Music, turning on iCloud Music Library can help restore missing purchased tracks.
- Check iTunes Library.itl – This is the database file for your iTunes library. You can find it in Music > iTunes on a Mac. Make a copy, delete it, and let iTunes recreate it.
- Deauthorize and reauthorize computer – Deauthorize your computer in iTunes, restart, then reauthorize to refresh missing files.
- Restore from backup – Restore your iTunes library database file from a previous iTunes or external drive backup.
How can I recover missing song files?
If you can’t locate a missing song file in its original location, try these file recovery methods:
- Restore from Time Machine or File History backups – Use Time Machine on Mac or File History on Windows to recover missing music files.
- Use data recovery software – Programs like Disk Drill or Stellar Data Recovery can scan your drives and recover deleted files.
- Try file carving – This technique reads the raw data on a drive to reconstruct lost files.
- Re-rip CDs – If the missing songs came from CDs, re-rip or re-import them into iTunes.
- Re-download purchases – If purchased online, try downloading the songs again if available.
How can I prevent songs from going missing in iTunes?
Follow these tips to keep your iTunes library organized and prevent music from going missing:
- Consolidate your library – Go to File > Library > Organize Library to consolidate all files into the iTunes folder.
- Keep iTunes media folder organized – Don’t move or edit files outside of iTunes to avoid broken links.
- Use Copy files to iTunes Media folder – Enable this option in preferences to keep copies of imported songs in your library.
- Back up library and files – Sync devices and back up iTunes library database and media folders regularly.
- Set correct file location in preferences – Ensure iTunes knows the location of your media files.
- Turn on iCloud Music Library – Stores your library online so it can be re-downloaded if needed.
What are some other tips for finding missing music in iTunes?
Here are a few more troubleshooting tips for locating lost music:
- Restart computer and iTunes – Restarting can help iTunes re-index and find missing files.
- Update to latest iTunes version – Software updates may include bug fixes for missing file issues.
- Disable and re-enable iCloud Music Library – Turn off and on again to re-sync and match tracks to the cloud.
- Check song metadata – Missing metadata like artist name can prevent tracks from appearing properly.
- Remove and re-add files – Deleting broken links and re-importing song files can reconnect them.
- Check Apple Music settings – Make sure Show Apple Music is enabled in preferences if you subscribe.
What if I still can’t find missing songs in iTunes?
If you still can’t locate missing iTunes music files after trying the above methods, here are a few last resorts:
- Contact Apple Support – Apple may be able to help recover purchases or troubleshoot other missing file issues.
- Re-rip from original CDs – If you own the original CDs, re-ripping is an option if files are completely lost.
- Look for song downloads – Check email history for past music download links from sites like iTunes or Amazon.
- Search the internet – You may be able to find the missing tracks on sites like YouTube or music blogs.
- Re-purchase lost music – As a last resort, you can re-buy missing songs if needed.
Troubleshooting missing songs in iTunes can be a frustrating experience, but using the right tools and methods makes it possible to recover lost music. First make sure files are actually missing and not just hidden. Search your computer thoroughly, enable iCloud Music Library, and restore from backups where possible. As a last option, you may need to re-rip or re-purchase lost songs that can’t be recovered. Keeping regular library and file backups is key to protecting your music collection from going missing in the future.