Why won’t my iTunes playlist rearrange?

If you find that your iTunes playlists won’t rearrange no matter what you try, there are a few potential causes and solutions to try. In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common reasons an iTunes playlist gets stuck and won’t rearrange, along with the steps you can take to fix the problem.

Make Sure “Rearrange Songs” is Enabled

The most obvious reason your iTunes playlist won’t rearrange is if you have the “Rearrange Songs” option disabled. By default, iTunes allows you to rearrange songs within playlists, but it’s possible to turn this capability off.

To check if “Rearrange Songs” is enabled:

  1. Open iTunes and select the playlist that won’t rearrange.
  2. Go to the File menu (or Ctrl+B) and choose Get Info.
  3. In the Get Info window, click the Options tab.
  4. Make sure the “Rearrange Songs” checkbox is checked. If not, check it and click OK.

Enabling “Rearrange Songs” should allow you to manually rearrange tracks within the playlist again.

Refresh the Playlist View

Sometimes iTunes playlists get stuck in a weird state where the app thinks the songs are in a certain order, but refreshing the view resets things. To refresh a playlist:

  1. Right-click on the playlist and choose Refresh.
  2. Or select the playlist and press Ctrl+R.

Refreshing forces iTunes to reload the playlist view. This can reset any stuck interface issues that prevent rearranging.

Check for Duplicate Songs

One of the most frustrating iTunes playlist issues is when you have duplicate songs saved unintentionally. If you have the same song filed twice in a playlist, it will confuse iTunes and prevent correct rearranging.

To find duplicate tracks:

  1. Make sure the problematic playlist is selected.
  2. Go to the View menu and choose Show Duplicate Songs.
  3. iTunes will highlight any duplicates.
  4. Remove the extra, unwanted copies of each song.

Deleting duplicate songs often resolves playlist rearranging problems and also saves storage space.

Restart iTunes and Your Computer

One of the simpler fixes for an unresponsive iTunes playlist is to fully restart the app and your computer. This clears out any memory issues or glitches:

  1. Completely close iTunes if currently open.
  2. Shut down your computer and wait at least 10 seconds before powering back on.
  3. Once the computer starts, launch iTunes.
  4. Open the problematic playlist and try rearranging again.

Restarting gives iTunes a fresh start which can resolve misbehaving playlists.

Update iTunes Software

Outdated iTunes software can also cause problems with rearranging playlists and other features. It’s a good idea to keep iTunes up-to-date:

  1. In iTunes, click Help > Check for Updates.
  2. Install any available iTunes updates.
  3. Restart iTunes and your computer after updating.

Updating ensures you have the latest bug fixes and improvements for smoothly managing your music library.

Recreate the Playlist

If you’ve tried the other troubleshooting steps with no success, recreating the playlist from scratch may be necessary. This is more work but often fixes stubborn rearranging issues:

  1. Right-click the problematic playlist and choose Delete.
  2. Click the + icon to add a new playlist.
  3. Give it the same name as the deleted playlist.
  4. Drag and drop the songs you want into it in the desired order.

Rebuilding gives you a fresh playlist that iTunes can rearrange properly again.

Repair the iTunes Library

In rare cases, errors or corruption in the iTunes library database can cause problems like stuck playlists. If other troubleshooting hasn’t resolved the issue, try repairing your library:

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. Hold Shift and launch iTunes to open the repair window.
  3. Click Repair and wait for the process to complete.
  4. Restart iTunes and test playlist rearranging again.

Repairing corrects errors that may block playlist reordering capabilities.

Reset iTunes Settings

If your iTunes library seems okay but playlists still won’t rearrange properly, resetting iTunes may help. This clears any odd settings or customizations that could be causing interface issues.

On Windows:

  1. Close iTunes.
  2. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run command.
  3. Type %Appdata%\Apple Computer\iTunes and click OK.
  4. Delete the iTunes folder.
  5. Restart iTunes, which will recreate the folder with defaults.

On Mac:

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. In Finder, choose Go > Go to Folder.
  3. Type ~/Music/iTunes and click Go.
  4. Delete the iTunes folder.
  5. Open iTunes, forcing it to create a new iTunes folder.

Resetting iTunes often resolves miscellaneous interface and functionality problems.

Check for Corrupted Files

Damaged or corrupted files in an iTunes playlist can also lead to strange behavior like an inability to rearrange. Check each file in the playlist:

  1. Right-click the first track and choose Get Info.
  2. Click the File tab and look at Location.
  3. Open that folder location on your computer.
  4. Play the file in another audio app like VLC. If it won’t play, the file is corrupted.
  5. Delete any corrupted song files.

Weeding out damaged songs removes files that could be confusing iTunes and disrupting the playlist.


iTunes playlists that get stuck and won’t rearrange properly are annoying but usually fixable. The most common solutions include checking that song rearranging is enabled, looking for duplicate tracks, restarting iTunes, updating the software, recreating the playlist, repairing your library, resetting program preferences, and testing songs for corruption. With persistence and systematically working through these troubleshooting steps, you should be able to get your iTunes playlists rearrangeable again.

Potential Cause Fix
Rearranging turned off Enable “Rearrange Songs” in playlist settings
Stale interface view Refresh the playlist view
Duplicate songs Delete extra copies
Memory issues Restart iTunes and computer
Old iTunes version Update iTunes
Corrupted playlist Recreate the playlist
Library errors Repair iTunes library
Bad settings Reset iTunes preferences
Damaged files Check and delete corrupted songs

Further Troubleshooting Tips

If you still can’t get a stubborn iTunes playlist to rearrange after trying all of the steps above, here are a few additional things you can test:

  • Create a brand new test playlist with a couple of songs and test rearranging. If the test playlist works properly, it points to a corruption issue with just the problematic playlist and not iTunes overall.
  • Log into iTunes on a different computer and try to rearrange the playlist there. If it works on another machine, something is misconfigured on your original computer.
  • Back up your iTunes library and do a clean reinstall of iTunes. Wiping everything and starting fresh is extreme but can resolve elusive issues.
  • Call Apple Support for personalized troubleshooting assistance if all else fails.

While an unresponsive iTunes playlist can be incredibly frustrating, methodically working through possible solutions will hopefully get your music library back in working order. With iTunes managing millions of media libraries, occasional quirks like stuck playlists come with the territory.

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