I haven't tried doing this in quite some time (iTunes 7 era), but I seem to remember simply editing the XML file iTunes creates was NOT sufficient in updating the Date Added field in iTunes.

In case you're curious why I would want to edit Date Added, it is because I most often enjoy listening to music with iTunes sorted on Date Added field. Most of the time this is a logical order for me, but occasionally (when importing more than one album at a time) iTunes imports a batch of songs in a seemingly random order, so I might have very differing albums intermixed. In these cases, I'd like to go in and make sure the Date Added times are grouped by album.

  • This is a problem I continually have when I lose/break/do not have access to my original iTunes library, and have to backfill my library from an iPod device. I lose most of the metadata library information, like Play Counts/Ratings (Plays/Play Counts I've used applescripts to help), and Date Added. I use Date Added for a lot of Smart Playlists. Removing and changing the system clock, and adding again seems like the only viable solution for me currently. It's a bummer it's Read-Only :(
    – mswieboda
    Jan 10, 2018 at 20:33

3 Answers 3


Just change the system clock and add the file again:

  • Remove the track.
  • Change the date on your system clock to the desired date.
  • Add the track.
  • Or he can just change the date in the iTunes Library.xml file May 31, 2014 at 4:46
  • 1
    ahh, changing the clock back, oldest trick in the book, I should have thought of that!!
    – mswieboda
    Jan 10, 2018 at 20:35
  • Well, did it work for anybody without causing unintended side effects? Sep 27, 2019 at 6:55

You could try sorting by the Date Modified field. Date Added is readonly, but you can modify Date Modified. There's an app called SortHelper for iTunes.


The Date Added field is officially read only. AppleScript can't change it, nor can any menu or command within iTunes. iTunes Music Library.xml is a text file, so in theory it could be edited to modify the Date Added information, then force iTunes to rebuild the iTunes Library.itl file. Not particularly easy.

If there's a better solution, I'd love to see it, but I'm afraid Apple made the Date Added field difficult to modify.

  • This won't work. When iTunes rebuilds the library from the XML file, the date added information is wiped out and replaced with the current date/time.
    – Seth Tisue
    Dec 30, 2011 at 16:51
  • 1
    @SethTisue if that is the case just change the current system date to what you need it to be, then change it back.
    – Ruskes
    Dec 21, 2014 at 23:27
  • Huh? How is that helpful? All the information I was trying to save is still wiped out.
    – Seth Tisue
    Dec 22, 2014 at 3:21

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