Should I uninstall iTunes before reinstalling?

If you are experiencing issues with iTunes and want to reinstall it, you may be wondering if you need to uninstall it first or if you can just reinstall over the existing version. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, so it’s worth considering which method will work best for your situation.

Quick Answer

In most cases, it is recommended to uninstall iTunes before reinstalling it. Uninstalling completely removes all iTunes files and settings from your computer before reinstalling a fresh copy. This can resolve many issues caused by corrupt files or settings.

Detailed Answer

Here is a more detailed look at whether you should uninstall iTunes before reinstalling it.

Advantages of Uninstalling Before Reinstalling

  • Removes any corrupted files or invalid settings – A complete uninstall erases all iTunes files and resets settings to default.
  • Fixes issues caused by problematic installations – If the original install went wrong, a complete uninstall provides a clean slate.
  • Avoid possible conflicts with old files – Any files left over could potentially interfere with the new version.
  • Smaller download size – You only need to download the iTunes installer, not the entire program as with repair install.
  • Guarantees complete reinstallation – An uninstall allows you to start again from scratch.

Disadvantages of Uninstalling Before Reinstalling

  • Lengthy reinstallation – You have to go through the full install/setup steps again.
  • Could lose settings – Any customizations to iTunes will be lost and reset to defaults.
  • May need to reauthorize computer – Deauthorizing required if you’ve reached authorization limit.
  • Lose installed iOS apps – Apps synced from iTunes will have to be reinstalled.
  • More time consuming – Full uninstall/reinstall takes longer than repair install.

Advantages of Reinstalling Without Uninstall

  • Faster process – Avoid uninstall time and can retain files/settings.
  • Keep settings intact – Customizations and preferences will remain unchanged.
  • Don’t need to reauthorize computer – Authorization preserved.
  • iOS apps remain installed – No need to reinstall synced iOS apps.
  • Less disruptive – Other programs are untouched.

Disadvantages of Reinstalling Without Uninstall

  • Doesn’t fix serious issues – Corrupt files or settings may remain unchanged.
  • Potential conflicts with old files – Outdated files could interfere with reinstalled version.
  • Larger download – Need to redownload entire iTunes platform, not just installer.
  • No guarantee of full fix – Issues could persist if corrupted files remain.
  • Can fail mid-process – Partial uninstall during reinstall could corrupt files.

When to Uninstall Before Reinstalling

Here are some of the most common situations when it is recommended to fully uninstall iTunes before reinstalling:

  • You are experiencing major functional issues in iTunes – Crashes, freezes, bugs.
  • iTunes is damaged or corrupted – Common after power outages or install issues.
  • Making major operating system update – e.g. Windows 7 to 10.
  • Switching from 32-bit to 64-bit iTunes – Or vice versa.
  • Doing a clean install of operating system – e.g. reformatting hard drive.
  • Troubleshooting tricky iTunes problems – To eliminate all variables.

In these cases, a full uninstall best allows you to start over with a clean slate before reinstalling iTunes fresh.

When Reinstalling Without Uninstall Works

Here are some instances when you can successfully reinstall iTunes without uninstalling first:

  • Minor issues like slowness or visual glitches – Corrupt files unlikely.
  • After small operating system update – e.g. Windows 10 update.
  • Fixing installation problems – If initial install froze/crashed.
  • Updating to new iTunes version – When replacing older version.
  • If you rely on current settings – Want to preserve customizations.
  • When pressed for time – Faster than full uninstall process.

In these cases, the benefits of saving time and avoiding disruptions often outweigh uninstalling first.

How to Reinstall iTunes Without Uninstalling

If you decide reinstalling iTunes without uninstalling is the best approach, here is how to do it on Windows:

  1. Open Programs and Features (Control Panel > Uninstall a Program).
  2. Find and select iTunes.
  3. Click “Repair” or “Change” to reinstall iTunes.
  4. It will redownload and replace existing files.
  5. Allow it to finish reinstalling then restart computer.

On Mac:

  1. Go to Applications and find iTunes.
  2. Right click it and select “Show Package Contents”.
  3. Navigate to Contents > MacOS and run “iTunes” or “iTunes Helper”.
  4. It will trigger a file check and reinstall any missing files.
  5. Restart computer when done.

How to Completely Uninstall iTunes

If you want to do a full uninstall of iTunes before reinstalling, follow these steps:

On Windows:

  1. Open Programs and Features (Control Panel > Uninstall a Program).
  2. Find and select iTunes.
  3. Click Uninstall.
  4. Check for any remaining Apple-related programs to remove.
  5. Delete any files still left behind:
    • C:\Program Files\iTunes
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\iTunes
    • C:\Users\{user}\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes
  6. Empty Recycle Bin to completely remove files.
  7. Restart computer.

On Mac:

  1. Open Finder and go to Applications.
  2. Drag iTunes to Trash.
  3. Open Terminal and enter:
    sudo rm -rf ~/Music/iTunes
    sudo rm -rf ~/Music/iTunes Library.itl
    sudo rm -rf ~/Music/Mobile Applications
  4. Restart computer.
  5. Empty Trash.

This will completely remove all iTunes-related files and settings, leaving you with a blank slate before reinstalling.

How to Reinstall iTunes After Uninstall

Once you have completely uninstalled iTunes, follow these simple steps to reinstall a fresh copy:

On Windows:

  1. Go to Apple’s website and download the iTunes installer.
  2. Run the .exe install file and follow the setup prompts.
  3. Restart computer when prompted.
  4. Open iTunes and it will configure initial settings.
  5. Log in with your Apple ID when asked.

On Mac:

  1. Go to Apple’s website and download the iTunes installer.
  2. Double click the .dmg file once downloaded.
  3. Drag iTunes icon into Applications folder.
  4. Open iTunes from Applications.
  5. Follow prompts to start configuration process.
  6. Log in with Apple ID when asked.

You now have a fresh iTunes install. You can redo your customizations and sync mobile devices to restore your usual setup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to uninstall or reinstall iTunes?

If you’re experiencing major issues, it’s usually best to fully uninstall and then reinstall iTunes for a clean slate. If it’s just minor problems, try repairing/reinstalling first before uninstalling.

Will I lose all my data if I uninstall iTunes?

Uninstalling iTunes removes the program from your computer but does not touch your actual media files or iTunes library data. However, you may need to re-import or resync some files after reinstalling iTunes.

Is iTunes removed completely after uninstalling?

The iTunes uninstaller from Programs and Features will remove the core program files. However, you may want to check for leftover support files that don’t get deleted automatically. Remove these manually to finish the uninstall.

What happens if I reinstall iTunes without uninstalling?

Reinstalling iTunes without uninstalling will replace the existing program files. This can fix minor issues caused by corrupt files. However, any major issues are unlikely to be resolved if old settings remain.

How do I reinstall iTunes on iPhone/iPad?

You cannot directly reinstall iTunes on an iPhone or iPad since they do not run macOS/Windows. However, you can connect to a computer running iTunes to sync and reinstall iOS apps, media, and backups stored in iTunes.


While uninstalling and reinstalling iTunes takes more time and effort, it’s often the best way to fix major problems or troubleshoot tricky issues. It wipes the slate clean and gives you a fresh install. Reinstalling without uninstalling can work for minor fixes or quick updates, but risks leaving corrupted files behind.

Consider how severe your issues are and whether a full removal is warranted for your situation. Back up your iTunes library and device data regularly so they are safe regardless of how you reinstall. With the right approach, reinstalling iTunes can get your media management back on track.


Uninstalling iTunes completely before reinstalling is usually the best approach if you are experiencing significant issues or problems with the application. It allows you to start fresh with a clean slate and new iTunes files. However, in some cases a simple reinstall without uninstall can work fine for minor issues or quick updates. Evaluate the specifics of your situation to determine if a full uninstall is needed before putting in the extra time and effort of a complete reinstallation process.