I'm experiencing a very annoying issue with the latest version of iTunes; there are 92 songs for which it is determining gapless playback information over and over again, at every launch of the app.

Any ideas on how to debug this / how to fix it? Googling yields a few Apple threads which tell you to readd the files one by one which is useless; that just bypasses the check instead of fixing the actual issue.

  • Is your iTunes library located on an external drive? Are you on Mavericks? I'm guessing that Mavericks puts to sleep the external drive after which it is "woken up" each time you start iTunes upon which point iTunes behaves as if it sees the contents of the library for the first time after a major changes being applied to the library. – jDonMas Jul 18 '14 at 13:14
  • @jDonMas: no, it's all on the local hard drive and yes this is no Mavericks. However I believe even if it were on an extrenal drive iTunes stores the metadata (such as gapless playback info) on your local drive so it should work in either case – houbysoft Jul 18 '14 at 22:10
  • I think that the gapless information is located in either the ITL or the XML file of your iTunes library which is found wherever your Media Folder is found (i.e. it could be on either external or local drive). If as you say all is on a local drive, I'm out of ideas. Do you have a pretty huge iTunes library? This could make the ITL file really big and in turn it could take time for iTunes to open it. – jDonMas Jul 28 '14 at 13:28

Try breaking the ITL file & make iTunes rebuild it

First, move the existing iTunes Library.itl to the desktop, just in case.
Don't touch the .xml, just the .itl file.

It can be found in ~/Music/iTunes/


  • Delete the existing ITL if you left a copy in the iTunes folder.

  • Open Terminal & enter this touch ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Library.itl That will create an empty ITL file, broken enough for this.

  • Launch iTunes. It will now notice something is 'wrong' & start rebuilding the ITL file, using your existing XML file. The message is 'Importing ‘iTunes Music Library.xml’ This will take some time, maybe 15 minutes or so, depending on your Library size.

Breaking it rather than not having any .itl file there at all makes the difference between several minutes & several hours for the rebuild.

You may find some album artwork missing - it never seems to be a truly perfect solution, but your play counts, playlists etc should all survive intact.

  • Awesome! This worked perfectly. It indeed lost a few album covers but it stopped checking the gapless information, finally. – houbysoft Mar 4 '15 at 20:25
  • I only just realised how old your question was. I'm so glad it helped you. – Tetsujin Mar 4 '15 at 20:39
  • Alas in the latest version of iTunes ( there are no more .itl files. I tried 'breaking' the iTunes Library Extras.itdb file but that made no difference. – Dave Sag Oct 11 '15 at 3:17
  • I still have an itl file, iTunes modifies it if I change any info, so it's till live on – Tetsujin Oct 11 '15 at 5:27

I've been going nuts with this determining gapless playback nonsense. I realize this is a very old video, but thought I'd share my stop-gap (no pun intended) solution. I'm using http://www.freerip.com/ to rip actual cds. When you are adding songs to your iTunes library, choose the "add file" instead of "add folder" option. Same thing with any downloaded albums. This, for whatever reason, does not seem to kick off the determine gapless playback function. It's a shame that iTunes has such a problem handling this for its customers, but this seems to be working for me in the meantime. I'm just posting this in any threads I've found useful for future people facing this issue.

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