Blog Post

Deleting iTunes Tracks from Playlists

I don’t know why it bugged me so much, but I always hated the fact that there was no easy (a.k.a. obvious) way to delete tracks from my playlist AND my library at the same time.

You know the situation: you’re listening to your playlist and come across a song that should never have been added to your library in the first place, let alone your playlist. Perhaps the song was ripped incorrectly, came from an ex-girlfriend you’d rather forget, or maybe you just developed a deep hate for the song’s melody – but whatever the reason is, the song just doesn’t belong in your playlist or your library.

Pressing ‘delete’ only solves half the problem – deleting it from your playlist. Deleting the song from your library takes another few steps. Sure, call me lazy, but being forced to navigate back to the library, search for the doomed song, and then deleting it is just too much work.

Enter the “secret” key combination: Option + Command + Delete

This secret key combination will not only delete a song from your playlist, but also ask if you want to delete the song from your hard drive as well. Problem solved.

105 Responses to “Deleting iTunes Tracks from Playlists”

  1. smackfu

    Woo, I got a chance to try this on my home computer, and it does work for Smart Playlists. I have one for recently added stuff, and I’m always trying to delete things from it and failing. And now I can succeed!

  2. I knew about this a long time ago, but I didn’t remember and couldn’t be bothered to figure out by testing which of the modifier keys to hold down, so I always just held down all four (Command, Option, Control, Shift). It still worked fine. For those of you who have trouble remembering shortcuts, just try holding them all down. In general, deleting is strengthened or has no warning when modifier keys are held down.

  3. You are my hero for the day!

    I download lots of mp3s from blogs, and I keep track of where they came from by using playlists. Naturally, I don’t like all the songs. I had been using the little arrowhead links that show up when a song is highlighted to quickly jump me to the song in my Library. I have always been looking for this key combo.

    • Are you guys serious. This is ANOTHER major design flaw not a feature. I hate how counter productive Mac applications are and how much they lengthen any process…

    • You shouldn’t have to memorize stupid keyboard shortcuts all day. Instead they should have intuitive menus. This option should be right below the Delete option in the RIGHT click menu. You should have Delete from Playlist or Delete from iTunes.

  4. Hey JBagley, that would be shift+del on windows.

    At least i think it is, ‘cos i had to vnc into a pc at work, so obviously i used my apple keyboard while vnc-ing, but you will find out eventually.

    Funny comment of yours, hehe.

  5. They should really give an option to make this the default! I ALWAYS want to delete the song off my computer when deleting from playlist.

    As someone mentioned earlier, does anyone know if there’s an equivalent for iPhoto?

  6. when deleting tracks from my iPod, I like to change the title to ” (delete) “. It shows up at the top, when I sort my library by Artist. I get the ridiculous satisfaction of deleting a massive chunk at once.

  7. Thank you! Works even in smart playlist, which allows me to build that not-played-in-5-years-and-very-low-bitrate playlist and then delete everything I want to get rid of at once! Excellent!

  8. Anyone have a way to delete tracks from the library without having to confirm the deletion of the file? That bugs me so much more.

    Hello, I’m deleting it from my library. Of course I want to delete the file as well.

  9. You can also just drag it to the trash icon in the dock. I’m sure the Apple engineers thought it was “the Mac thing to do.” I discovered it before the keyboard shortcut. (Although, I prefer keyboard tricks over mouse ones)

  10. actually, just option+delete will do the same thing… i’ve been doing that for a while for the podcasts that i’ve heard. my playlist has podcasts that have a play count greater than 0, i select them all and hit option+delete. gone.

  11. piminnowcheez

    I love you.

    This has been one of those low-grade annoyances that constantly comes up and irritates, but doesn’t quite cross the threshold of making me mad enough to set everything aside until I can find a fix for it. Now, you have set me free, my brother. Bless you.

  12. Alt + Delete is similar but in this case it first asks if you want to remove the item from the playlist (assuming you haven’t ticked the box so that it does not ask again) and then asks if you want to keep the file or move it to the trash.