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Like this article? We recommend Clean Up iTunes

Clean Up iTunes

It’s likely that one of the first things you did when you began using iTunes was to rip your CD collection into iTunes so you could listen to songs you already owned on your Mac or iPod. But let’s face it: Do you actually listen to all that music? Most albums contain at least one or two songs that you’d really rather not hear. Why in the world would you keep copies of them in iTunes, occupying disk space better used for other things? (Like, say, more music.)

Go through iTunes and delete the songs you really don’t want to listen to. And while you’re there, go through your library of movies, TV shows, podcasts, and audio books. Remove the items you don’t need on disk; remember, you can archive them to CD or DVD if you think you might want to access them in the future. Video should definitely go if you don’t expect to view it again; it takes up a ton of space on hard disks.

One more thing. If you have a lot of music in iTunes, you’re likely to have a few duplicates. With iTunes active, choose File > Show Duplicates. iTunes displays all items with duplicate names. As shown in Figure 6, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the same. Manually go through the list and delete the duplicates. When you’re finished, click Show All at the bottom of the window to show all songs again.

Figure 6 iTunes can list duplicate files, but are they really duplicates?

And remember, anytime you delete something from iTunes, if you’re asked whether to move it to the Trash or keep it in the iTunes Media folder, click Move to Trash (Figure 7). Otherwise, it will remain on your hard disk, which defeats the whole purpose of deleting it to regain disk space. Don’t forget to empty the Trash.

Figure 7 Click Move to Trash to free up disk space.

Weed Out Your Photo Library

Digital cameras are great. They make it possible to shoot 250 photos of your kid’s soccer tournament at the same cost as shooting 25 photos of this momentous event. So what do you do? You shoot 250 photos!

But are all of those photos really worth having? The blurred ones? The ones where you cut off your kid’s head? Or photographed the wrong kid? Or snapped just as the woman in front of you jumped up to cheer her kid?

In other words, do you really need to keep every photo stored on your computer?

Go through your photo library and delete the photos you know you’ll never look at again. Or, better yet, back up all of an event’s photos to CD or DVD and then just keep the top 10% of them on your computer. Delete the rest. You can always pull them off the backup if you need them. (And remember, if you keep your photo library in iPhoto, empty iPhoto’s trash after deleting them.)

You’ll be amazed at how much disk space those 10 megapixel images take up. Right now, my main Mac has over 10 GB of hard disk space occupied by over 10,000 images I need to weed through and delete. And don’t even get me started on what I’ve imported into iPhoto. What’s lurking in your photo collection?

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