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Delete a playlist from iTunes

This tutorial will show you how to delete an iTunes playlist; deleting playlists does not delete the items you currently have in the playlist, it only delete the references iTunes created to the items. We will also explain alternate options to actually deleting playlists, since this action cannot be undone. While re-creating a deleted playlist is as simple as creating a new playlist, calling it the same way, and dragging to it the same songs, the process gets quickly tedious.

Delete an iTunes playlist

Delete an iTunes playlist Since iTunes gives you a lot of flexibility, and you can easily rename playlists (both standard playlists and smart playlists), edit smart playlists, and rename iTunes folders, you will rarely delete playlists for organizational purposes.

It is, however, possible and simple to delete an iTunes playlist: simply right-click on a the playlist or smart playlist you would like to delete, and choose Delete. Before proceeding with the deletion, iTunes will first ask for your confirmation:

Deleting an iTunes playlist

There is no temporary "recycle bin" for deleted iTunes playlists; once deleted, your playlists are irrecoverable. iTunes' "Are you sure you want to delete the playlist [your-playlist-name]" confirmation message includes the name of the playlist you clicked on; make sure it is in fact the playlist you want to delete. Click the Delete button, and iTunes has completely removed the playlist. Note that since playlist contains only "links" to the actual songs they contain, deleting a playlist only delete references to these items, and none of your content will actually be deleted.

Keyboard shortcut: hit the Delete key when the focus is on the condemned playlist

Below the confirmation message, iTunes offers you to skip this confirmation in the future; since you seldom delete playlists, it is recommended that you let iTunes get your final confirmation before permanently deleting a playlist. Check the "Do not ask me again" checkbox to skip the warning from now on.

Click Delete to proceed with the playlist deletion, or Cancel if you changed your mind. 

Delete smart playlist in iTunes

Unlike regular iTunes playlists, smart playlists can take much more time to create; to delete a smart playlist, follow the exact same steps we took deleting a regular playlist. But keep in mind that a smart playlist's conditions can be edited to match your new needs. You can also disable  "live updating" on the smart playlist to prevent it from automatically adding new content matching its content.

See how you create smart playlists in iTunes, and how to edit smart playlists.


iTunes Tutorial

Unless specified otherwise, our free iTunes tutorials apply to both Mac OS X or Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

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