Ask most people what their least favorite software is that Apple makes and they’ll probably tell you it’s iTunes. Ironically, iTunes is probably also the most used piece of Apple software those people use. If you own an iOS device, there’s almost no way not to use iTunes, as it’s built to manage not just your music, movies, and TV shows, but your apps as well.
The number one complaint people have about iTunes is that it’s “bloated.” And by that they means slow. There is, of course, a reason for that: the app is over a decade old and designed for a time before most of our media was housed in the cloud. Apple always says they are “constantly working” on ways to improve iTunes, but we’ve yet to see any major overhauls of the app for years. But just because the app is a bloated mess doesn’t mean your iTunes library needs to be. Here are four of our favorite tips how to keep your iTunes library organized.
Add movie posters to your (legally) ripped videos
I use iTunes to manage all the movies I have on my computer. Many of these movies I buy through the iTunes Store, but I also have dozens of movies that I’ve legally ripped from DVDs that I purchased long ago. Regardless of where I got the movies from, I keep them all stored under the Movies tab in iTunes.
The problem is only the movies I buy directly from the iTunes Store show the beautiful movie poster art. The ripped movie simply display the first frame or so of the video—usually just a black screen or a movie studio logo.
I’ve found two tools that I love that help me easily add movie posted to all movies in my iTunes library. This first is apaid Mac app called MovieIcon. The app allows you to drag and drop all your movie files into it. It will then scan multiple sources online and automatically add the movie poster to the file, so it shows up in iTunes when you drag the movie into your library. In my experience, the app works amazingly accurately 95% of the time. There were only a few movies it couldn’t find the poster for (or selected the wrong poster).
For those movies I used the excellent free web toolcalled iTunes Artwork Finder by developer Ben Dodson. He’s built the tool to search the iTunes Store for the exact artwork Apple uses for movies, TV shows, podcasts, books, and albums. Of course, the drawback to this tool is you need to manually search for each piece of artwork individually, but it’s a great tool to use to get those artworks that the excellent MovieIcon misses.
Get spaced back by deleting iOS apps you don’t use
Sometimes the reason iTunes is so slow is because it had dozens or hundreds of gigabytes of media files in its library. Chances are you won’t want to delete your movie feels (which take up a lot of space), but there is one place you can almost always save space: in the apps department.
Most of use delete apps from our iPhones to free up space on our mobiles, but we rarely remove the copies of those apps stored in our iTunes library. That’s a problem, because over time those apps can take up a HUGE amount of space on our PCs. I recently did an iTunes library app purge and reclaimed—I kid you not—23GB of space on my Mac by deleting iOS apps I don't use anymore. So go through your iTunes library and remove any old apps you don’t use. And remember, if you do need them in the future, you can always just download them again for free from the App Store.
Fill in missing metadata
When we buy media from the iTunes Store, all the metadata for that media is nicely filled in. It’s one of the advantages of buying digital media. However, when we manually add music or movies to iTunes many times those files don’t have a complete set of metadata—this is especially true for legally ripped DVDs.
Your iTunes library will be much more manageable if you add missing metadata to your media. You can do this manually by selecting the media, such as a movie file, and choosing “Get Info” then entering the metadata you want. Or there arethird party tools you can use to add metadata automatically.
Ditch the duplicates
Our final bit of advice is to hunt down duplicates in your iTunes library, which could be taking up a lot of space and slowing down navigation. Luckily, Apple makes this easy: simply choose View>Show Duplicates from the menu bar and iTunes will give you a list of all the duplicates in your library. You can then manually delete the duplicates you no longer want.