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How to Use iTunes to Organize the Music on Your Mac

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 4/7/2010

Just getting started with music and your Mac? Learn the basics of keeping that music organized with iTunes

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    Manually Organize Your Music

    Music can be organized a number of ways. You can create subfolders in the Music folder and move your music into them, just as you would do with Documents and Pictures, but you can also do quite a bit of organizing using iTunes. You can create playlists to support a mood, an artist, or an event, or organize the songs to fit on a CD. You can even create smart playlists to automatically change, based on how much you listen to specific songs in your library.

    Before you get started, take inventory of what you have and see how it can be organized. Here are some ideas for sorting songs in iTunes via the Edit>View Options choices:

    · By artist

    · By genre

    · By song size

    · By rating

    · By how often its been played recently

    · By year

    · By date downloaded or acquired

    · By kind

    · By album

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    Use iTunes Consolidate Library Option

    If you have music all over your hard drive, you can organize your music by dragging and dropping the songs into the appropriate folder. However, iTunes offers a simple, albeit somewhat ineffective, way to locate all of your tunes and copy them to the iTunes folder. Once they are copied to the folder, you can organize and categorize to your heart’s content.

    Unfortunately, you may have noticed that the word “copy" was used in the previous paragraph instead of the word “move." As you might guess, when a file is copied, it makes a duplicate of the file. That’s unnecessary data, and to get rid of it once the files are copied, you’ll have to spend some time deleting these duplicate files from your hard drive. However, by consolidating, you’ll have all of your files in one place, making backing up your entire music library much easier.

    To consolidate all of the music files located outside of the iTunes Music folder and place copies of them in your iTunes Music folder, perform the following steps:

    1. Open iTunes.

    2. Choose Advanced>Consolidate Library.

    3. Accept the warning shown by clicking Consolidate.

Good Mac: Clean Up your Digital Files

If you’ve had your Mac for a few years, you can bet you have a lot of digital data you don’t need or want. Clean it up to get better performance from your Mac.
  1. Get Rid of Unwanted Digital Files
  2. Organize Movies and Video Project Files on Your Mac
  3. How to Use iTunes to Organize the Music on Your Mac
  4. Organize your Mac: Graphics Files and Artwork
  5. Get Rid of Unwanted Digital Files in the Music folder