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I download MP3 podcasts when I have Wi-Fi to listen to when I'm offline.

I just download them onto the hard drive. I don't have an iPod or phone or anything else attached to the Mac, either by cable or BlueTooth, etc.

When I doubleclick on the MP3 to listen to it, iTunes starts up and I've noticed there's first a message telling me that it's copying the MP3.

Why? Where is it making this copy? Can I disable it? I don't need two copies.

3

It is putting the file in the iTunes library. you can find that location by going here:

iTunes Preferences > Advanced

And it is listed under iTunes Media Folder Location at the top of the window.

Default behavior is to copy the file to the iTunes media folder. If you uncheck "Copy media to iTunes media folder when adding to library" on that same Preferences window it will stop doing that.

1

Steve's answer is correct... though you need to consider something else.

Are you ever going to listen to these again?
Do you want iTunes to always know where they are?
If you delete or move the original from your downloads folder, iTunes will lose track of it.

So, if you want to keep them, leave the setting as it was, to automatically copy - then once it's finished you can delete the original from downloads & iTunes will always know where it is.

If you don't want to keep them - if you only want to listen once then discard - you can get around iTunes ever seeing them by tapping the spacebar instead.
The built-in QuickLook will play it so long as you don't select anything else in the Finder as it's playing, though you can switch apps & get on with other work. Another tap of the spacebar & it stops.
iTunes will never know it existed.

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Another approach if you do not want iTunes to add it to its library, and if you do not want iTunes to make a copy: Control-click your MP3 file, and select "always open with…". Instead of iTunes (the default), open it with Quicktime. Future .mp3 files will then launch Quicktime instead of iTunes and no copies will be made. Other media-playing apps are available, such as VLC or whatever you prefer.

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