I let iTunes copy the files i add to it into the iTunes Media folder. I have recently learned that I can delete songs from my mac once they are in iTunes. Having not known this, the amount of storage being taken up by audio on my laptop is huge. I was wondering, if there is a way through iTunes, or perhaps a AppleScript, that will locate all the original files of my iTunes and delete them as they are not needed as they are stored in the iTunes media folder. This would mean i have over 100GB of space saved on my laptop (Yes I have a lot of music).

Anyone able to help would be wicked,


  • What kind of help are you looking for here? "How to find audio files in Finder", "Checking for duplicates between audio files in Finder and iTunes" or something else? In the first case, are the audio files stored in a few specific folders or ("randomly") all over the place?
    – nohillside
    Oct 30, 2014 at 12:58
  • Hi man All my music is all over the place basically on my computer and i have been importing music without knowing it gets copied to a new folder meaning the original file is still on my mac, i want to delete these original files as they are taking up too much room and iTunes have created copies for everything in a single folder.. hope that is a bit clearer?
    – Dan
    Oct 30, 2014 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


iTunes does not keep track of where imported files were originally found. In other words, it knows where the copied files are (within the iTunes folders) but it has no record of where the original files are scattered around your hard drive.

That said, you could use Spotlight to find the files. Note that for this method you will need to know where your iTunes folder is. (Unless you have moved it, it is located at /Users/your-username/Music/iTunes.)

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Click on your computer's name in the sidebar under Devices.
  3. In the search box at the upper-left, type kind:music. (A drop-down menu will appear asking if you meant "name: music". Click outside of the menu to make it disappear.)
  4. To the far left, right under the search box, you will see two buttons, "Save" and a plus sign. Click the plus sign.
  5. On the new row that appears, it should say "Kind is Any". Across from this there is a minus button and a plus button. Press and hold Option and click the "..." button (which replaced the plus sign button because you are pressing Option).
  6. Now click the minus button on the "Kind is Any" row.
  7. You should now see a row that says "Any of the following are true". Change "Any" to "None".
  8. On the line below that, click the first drop-down menu and choose "Other..." at the bottom.
  9. In the window that pops up, type "folder". You should see two results, one of which is "Document Container". Click on that line and click OK.
  10. Next to where it now says Document Container, change "matches" to "contains".
  11. In the box, type iTunes.

This will search for all files on your machine that are music, and that do not live in the iTunes folder. All of the resulting files should safely be able to be removed.


It isn't exactly that you can delete the tracks once they are in iTunes: it's that iTunes' default configuration leaves your original file where it was and makes a new copy in the iTunes music folder. So the first thing to do is determine whether or not this is how your iTunes is configured - whether or not you really have duplicates of the files. In iTunes, open the Preferences ("iTunes" menu --> Preferences), go to the Advanced tab, and see if "Copy files…" is checked.

If it is, and you've been adding files by dragging them into iTunes, you're right: you have lots of duplicates sitting around. In that case, you want to search you computer for all duplicate music files. There are lots of apps that do this… search Google "mac duplicate remover" or search the App Store for "duplicate". I personally like DupeGuru ME — it's very powerful, and gives you the option of reviewing all supposed duplicates before culling.

Going forward, iTunes actually has a solution to this problem… it's just poorly implemented. In the iTunes Media folder (might be called iTunes Music folder, if you're on an older version of iTunes - the default location is Music/iTunes/iTunes Media) there's an "Automatically Add to iTunes" folder. Anything dropped into that folder will be added to iTunes without duplication. I keep that folder in my Finder window sidebar so that it's always convenient

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