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Is there any way to force iTunes 11 to rescan the music library and update the information for any tags that have been changed outside of iTunes? I know that selecting a single track and then 'Get Info" will force an update for that track, but it doesn't seem to work with multiple tracks.

3 Answers 3

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From the MusicBrainz iTunes Guide:

Updating Library in iTunes

Brute force method (full library re-scan)

This method works best if
- you've re-tagged a whole lot of your files and don't remember which files/albums
- or there are far too many for the first approach
- or you've moved/renamed files and iTunes has lost them

Ready?

  • Go to File > Add Folder to Library
  • Point it at the top of your iTunes directory ("My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music\Music" on Windows, by default).
  • iTunes will rescan your music, but recognize it's already imported, so you shouldn't end up with duplicate files (unless you have moved/renamed files)

You can also refresh a selection of songs by following the AppleScript based solution (on the same page linked above):

Mac-only advanced method

This method is a bit more complicated to set up, but easy to use.

Fire up Script Editor (which is under Applications/AppleScript, but it will work with TextEdit). Paste the following code, then save as a Script called /Library/iTunes/Scripts/Refresh.scpt (create the Scripts directory if it doesn't already exist).

tell application "iTunes"
refresh selection
end tell

Now, inside iTunes, you should see a Scripts menu (an icon of a scroll, just left of Help). The "Refresh" item on that menu will force it to re-read the tags for all tracks that you have selected.

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  • 7
    Note that you can save that script in your users home (~/Library/iTunes/Scripts) and it works also in newest iTunes 12 Oct 17, 2014 at 16:56
  • 1
    Unfortunately this doesn't seem to work in iTunes 12.9.
    – fluffy
    Jul 17, 2019 at 6:12
  • Two things on the Apple Script method: 1) if you found this in the present day, you need to sub out "iTunes" with "Music" 2) I initially missed that this works on the songs you selected. So to do your whole library, go to songs, do a select-all, then run the script
    – Billy
    Oct 13, 2020 at 4:05
  • I successfully used the advanced method with the new Music application on Mac OS Big Sur v11.1. I changed "iTunes" to "Music" in the script and copied the script to /Library/Music/Scripts/Refresh.scpt and it worked perfectly. Very tidy solution which I have been searching for quite a while.
    – Guru Josh
    Dec 29, 2020 at 13:51
6

You can go to iTunes->Preferences->Advanced, uncheck Keep iTunes Media folder organized, OK, then go back and check the option again. It will rescan all track after you click OK.

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  • I just tried this with iTunes 11.0.2 and it did not update the tags.
    – pknz
    May 16, 2013 at 5:26
  • This now works fine in Music 1.1.6.37 on Big Sur 11.6.
    – hairboat
    Oct 9, 2021 at 14:55
  • Thank you, this was useful to me on iTunes for Windows!
    – vvaltchev
    Aug 21, 2022 at 9:04
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Building on M K's answer, the following script won't stop the first time it hits a file which can't be found:

tell application "Music"
  repeat with aTrack in selection
    try
        refresh aTrack
    end try
  end repeat
end tell

Edit: in MacOS older than Catalina, change "Music" to "iTunes" for this to work.

2
  • Interesting, though it's probably useful to figure out what your problem songs are...I modified my Apple Script to output the song information to a file as it goes
    – Billy
    Oct 13, 2020 at 4:09
  • My use case was that I wanted to remove the annoying and redundant suffix "(original mix)" from thousands of my MP3s. Building a smart playlist to find them was easy, but I had to write a program to retag them - github.com/ben-xo/unoriginator - then this script was needed to refresh all the tracks in this view.
    – Ben XO
    Dec 6, 2020 at 0:41

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