Not mentioning iTunes is next to impossible when talking about Mac OS X. Apple’s most important built-in app went a long way from a simple music player to becoming a completely renewed entertainment tool that includes movies, audiobooks, podcasts and, most of all, music.

Take half-a-decade old MacBook or current fully maxed MacBook Pro; both came with the iTunes app on board. Despite Apple’s dedication to making iTunes a better experience for everyone, the internet is still flooded with questions “Can I delete iTunes without losing music?”, “How do I reset my iTunes Library”, “If I uninstall iTunes will I lose my Library?” and many more. If you have a burning iTunes question but can’t seem to figure it out manually, then stick around for this guide to walk you through.

delete itunes on mac

How to Delete iTunes from Mac

Let’s begin by answering the “How do I uninstall iTunes from my Mac?” question. Before jumping into the step-by-step part of the guide, it is worth noting that Apple really does not want you to delete iTunes off your Mac. This becomes even more evident on later releases of macOS. The manual process is tricky and gets even more tedious if you are looking to completely erase iTunes from your computer.

To uninstall iTunes, take the following steps:

  1. Open Finder and go to the Applications
  2. Find iTunes, Control-Click the application icon and select Get Info.
  3. In the Sharing & Permissions section click on the lock icon and enter your admin password.
  4. Set the “everyone” privilege to Read & Write.
  5. Close Get Info window and drag iTunes icon to Trash.

If you are on OS X El Capitan or higher, you will need to disable Apple’s System Integrity Protection before you can delete iTunes. Disabling SIP is unadvised and equals letting down all guards on your Mac.

itunes.app info

How to Delete iTunes Library Information and Start Over

What if permanently deleting iTunes is not what you are interested in, but you are rather looking to find out the answer to “How do I remove all of my iTunes music files from computer?”.

Even when your iTunes library is a hot mess, it really does not make a whole lot of sense to delete off every iTunes file on Mac. Instead of purging everything iTunes-related, clean up all your songs and playlists to start off a clean slate on your Mac.

  • Open your iTunes library.
  • Hold Command-A to select all files.
  • Hit Delete key and choose to Keep File (removed from iTunes but still on your drive) or Move to Trash (item is permanently deleted once you Empty Trash).
  • If you want to keep a backup of your library, then take these steps manually:
  • Open Finder and hold Command-Shift-G.
  • Go to the directory ~/Music/iTunes/.
  • Backup iTunes Library.itl & iTunes Music Library.xml and then delete original files to clean your iTunes library.

If you ever feel like you want to come back to your original library, simply paste these files back in place, and you’re good.

How to Reinstall iTunes on Mac Without Losing Your Music

Two other popular questions regarding the removal of Apple iTunes from Mac OS X are “How can I reinstall iTunes without losing library data?” and “Do I need to remove my music before I reinstall iTunes app?”

remove itunes from mac
Reinstalling iTunes could solve the majority of iTunes issues on your computer. However, most users stray away from doing so in fear of losing their music. Another common misconception is that you need to delete iTunes app (uninstall it) and only then install freshly in order to fix its problems. In fact, reinstalling iTunes is a simple task. Before you perform reinstallation, it is advised you back up current data.
  1. Go to official iTunes download page.
  2. Click on Download Now to get the latest version of iTunes.
  3. Run the installer to refresh your iTunes app.

How to Reset iTunes to Earlier Version

Remember everyone saying that backups are important? Well, they are, namely because your backups are the solution to “How do I revert iTunes to an earlier version on my Mac?”

If you’ve been keeping your account on backups and you’re able to track down the correct backup with the needed iTunes version, then, congratulations, you are through the difficult bit. With the needed backup at hand, make a new one to save your music library in case something goes wrong.

  1. Enter Time Machine.
  2. Go to Macintosh HD -> Applications -> Choose iTunes.
  3. Control-click and choose Restore to -> Applications Folder.

How to Remove iTunes from Mac Completely

Finally, those of you who are after the “How do I completely get rid of iTunes on my computer?” question will find this section of the guide particularly useful.

The full uninstallation of iTunes will require manually removing of all iTunes files (both old and new), folders, all music, etc.

Begin by clearing out your Library, deleting all songs and playlist related data:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Hold Command-Shift-G to open Go to folder.
  3. Navigate to ~/Music/ and move iTunes folder to Trash.
uninstall itunes from mac

Next, uninstall the app itself:

  1. Go to Finder -> Applications and find iTunes.
  2. Control-Click and choose Get Info.
  3. Click the lock icon and enter your admin password.
  4. Set “everyone” permissions to Read & Write.
  5. Move iTunes to Trash.

In case you can’t change permissions or uninstall iTunes even with updated permissions, you need to disable System Integrity Protection

  1. Restart your Mac and hold Command-R until Apple logo pops up.
  2. When in OS X Utilities window choose Utilities -> Terminal.
  3. Enter “csrutil disable” command.

After successfully disabling System Integrity Protection you will need to reboot your Mac again and repeat uninstallation process. This time, macOS should not be resisting to changes you are attempting to make, thus allowing you to uninstall iTunes. It is important you go boot back to OS X Utilities screen and re-enable SIP after deleting iTunes with the “csrutil enable” command to ensure the safety of your system.

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