I just did a batch rename in Finder (using AppleScript), however the filenames in iTunes remain unchanged.

I tried restarting iTunes and that did not help.

I also tried iTunes >>> File >>> Library >>> Organize Library, but it happens to be grayed out, as I had already recently done this (prior to renaming the said files).

Any clue how to get these files renamed in Finder to show up in iTunes without manually doing so? It's too large a number to do manually.

Many thanks

  • 1
    iTunes uses the ID3 tag of the song, not the file name. Changing the file name breaks the iTunes music library database. You will first have to fix your database by rebidding it.
    – user10355
    Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 19:31

5 Answers 5


Unfortunately, updating the files in Finder will not update the files in iTunes. This is because iTunes uses a file called iTunes Library.itl as a database of all your media.

You can however use the automator actions "Get Specified iTunes Items" and "Set Info of iTunes Songs" to automat the process of updating the metadata. There are some other good Automator actions in there too.


What's worse is that by doing this, iTunes has no idea where the renamed files went. The key to any iTunes-related file management is to do it within iTunes itself. If you choose File -> Library -> Organize, then "consolidate" the library, you will see a large number of exclamation marks next to the renamed files. If you don't re-attach iTunes with them, it will not be able to play those files, sync them, etc.

The simplest solution would likely be to restore from backup (or otherwise undo the batch change) then re-write your AppleScript to talk to iTunes instead of Finder.


You will need to clear all the songs in your library then drag the media library folder into iTunes,

This will reset all the files into iTunes as by renaming the source files you would have broken the links between the software and the music file.

  • comments with downvotes? Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 0:10
  • 1
    I wasn't the down-voter, but I'll give you a good reason: if you re-import files, iTunes does not care one lick what the files are named. It runs from the metadata stored in the file, and takes precedence. Removing the library and re-importing will make sure iTunes knows where all files are, but it will not fix the "wrong name" situation the asker was trying to solve. Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 4:29
  • Thanks, The OP will have to do what I have suggested, otherwise iTunes will not be able to find the files, as he has changed the file names. I have edited the bit about information. Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 7:54

When ID3 are missing, it would be very easy for iTunes to read the file name and use that as its track name in ID3 but if there is no ID3 tags on a file it was obviously not purchased from any music store so as far as Apple is concerned it is not a file worth caring about...


I would suggest using mp3tag to rename files and change the id3-tags, which tell iTunes what this song called. I've tried a couple of programs like this (including Musicbrainz Picard), but this one is really good! (I especially love how you can turn the filename into id3 tag and vice versa!)

The only problem I still have is that iTunes won't recognize the change...

  • 2
    So the problem you still have is the one the question is all about?
    – nohillside
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 7:27

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