Reinstall, downgrade or completely uninstall iTunes on macOS

How to reset iTunes on macOS 


Since macOS Catalina, iTunes was replaced with the Apple Music app, Apple TV app, Apple Podcasts app, and Apple Books app. The steps in this article can only work on earlier macOS versions. 

Sometimes to go forward, you need to go back. iTunes is one of the most popular apps globally, and Apple has made some great strides over the years. There is no denying that iTunes is the media hub for many, but sometimes a new version arrives that is broken, or introduces a feature that you don’t like, or removes a feature that you did like.

That’s why in this guide, we’re going to show you how to take full control over your version of iTunes. We’ll cover how to reinstall iTunes, clean up iTunes junk files, perform a complete uninstall of iTunes and possibly even downgrade to an earlier version of iTunes.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Reinstall iTunes

A healthy iTunes is a great experience, but if the app starts behaving strangely, then it’s time to take action. If iTunes keeps playing Britney Spears music for no reason, your Mac is probably demonically possessed. Unfortunately, you will have to set fire to your Mac. It’s the only way.

However, if iTunes is merely crashing or freezing, then a simple iTunes reinstall should solve the problem. You could first try to download the latest version of iTunes and run the installer.

Even if it’s the same version as you have installed, this will reinstall iTunes without any hassles.

If that doesn’t fix the problem, you should completely uninstall iTunes before running the downloaded install.

Completely uninstall iTunes

Whether you want a more effective reinstall of iTunes or if you want to remove the app from your life for good, we’ve got you covered. However, you may have realized that Apple doesn’t make it easy for you to uninstall iTunes, so it requires a few extra steps.

Note – A complete uninstall iTunes app will remove your user settings, playlists, etc.

To completely uninstall iTunes, follow these steps:

  1. Drag the desktop iTunes icon to the trash - if you receive an error, continue to step 2; if you don’t, skip to step 6.
  2. Right-click file in the Applications folder and click Get Info.
  3. Click the padlock icon and enter your Admin Password.
  4. Expand Sharing & Permissions and set "everyone" to Read & Write.
  5. Close the window and try step 1 again.
  6. Empty the Trash.
  7. Type Activity Monitor into Spotlight and launch the app.
  8. Find iTunes Helper and remove it.
  9. Navigate to Library > Preferences and remove files with "" at the beginning.
  10. Restart your Mac.

Clean iTunes junk

Speaking of cleaning iTunes, if you use the app – even if it runs perfectly - you should try out CleanMyMac’s specialist iTunes Junk cleaner. You wouldn’t believe all the wasted space iTunes takes up thanks to broken downloads, copies of apps, old backups, and all sorts of other junk.

A quick scan from CleanMyMac, and you’ll be given the option to clear up a lot of space – space that can be used for more important things. No, not Britney Spears' albums.


The iTunes Junk feature is only available on macOS 10.14 or earlier.

Downgrade iTunes to an earlier version

There comes a time where a new version of iTunes makes us wish we never updated in the first place. However, we want to be clear that the best thing to do is give the new version time, see if there isn’t a workaround to solve whatever is bothering you and submit feedback to Apple.

If you’re impatient and want to roll back iTunes now, then there is a method that could achieve exactly that. But, of course, this solution will only be possible if you use Time Machine to create regular backups.

Important Note – Before you begin, make sure to create a Time Machine backup. If anything goes wrong, you can just restore to the current version of macOS.

Itunes downgrade tutorial

Here's how to downgrade iTunes:

  1. Type Activity Monitor into Spotlight and launch the app.
  2. Find iTunes Helper and remove it.
  3. Type Terminal into Spotlight and launch the app.
  4. Type sudo rm –r /Applications/ and press Return.
  5. Type Time Machine into Spotlight and launch the app.
  6. Restore the version of iTunes you want from the relevant Time Machine backup.
  7. Also, restore these files from the ~/Music/iTunes folder:
    iTunes Library Extras.itdb
    iTunes Library Genius.itdb
    iTunes Library.itl
    iTunes Music Library.xml

iTunes should now be reverted to an old version, with all your settings and data intact.

Putting the “i” back in iTunes

We hope that this guide helped you to feel more in control of your iTunes for Mac. There is no doubt that iTunes is an awesome app, but Apple’s insistence can be a bit overhanded. Now you can make iTunes cleaner with CleanMyMac X, fix a broken iTunes, downgrade iTunes to an earlier version and even uninstall iTunes completely.

You have the control and the power. Use it wisely.

Laptop with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.