Home > All, Hacks/Tricks, Internet, iTunes, Music, Technology > iTunes Doesn’t Sort By Track Number [Fixed]

iTunes Doesn’t Sort By Track Number [Fixed]

Have you ever had this problem before? You’re browsing your iTunes library, and for some strange reason, some tracks aren’t listed by track number? In other words, some albums are jumbled up in terms of track number. See the image below for an example…

itunes-track-numbers

For some reason, track 8 is sent to the bottom of the list. In some instances, this can happen with multiple tracks in a given album, and the only way to fix it was to click the “Track #” column to sort by track number. But, when switching to view multiple albums, you only see track #1 on all your albums. You get the point. It’s inconvenient.

Well, I’ve found a fix for this, and it’s pretty simple. But, let me set the stage first.

Let’s say, to start out with, you open up iTunes and you have the browser up. You’ve got “All” selected in the Genre, Artist and Album field. You also click the “Album” column so that your library is sorted by album, either ascending or descending. It doesn’t matter. Now you can see your entire library in the track view sorted by album.

From here, select “All” in the “Genre” field. Select the artist you’re having this problem with in the “Artist” field. Select the album that is giving you problems in the “Album” field.

If you’re having this problem, the tracks won’t be listed by track number.

In order to fix this, all you have to do is select all of the songs in the album (highlight one of the songs, then press CTRL + A). All of the songs should be highlighted in blue. Be absolutely sure you only have the songs from the album in question selected. You run the chance of ruining any artist or album titles in your library if not.

Now that you have your songs selected, right-click and select “Get Info.” A window will pop up displaying the information about the tracks you’ve selected. Your next step is to delete the contents of the “Album Artist” (not the “Artist” field) field and make sure there is a check mark in the box next to “Album Artist.” Hit “OK” and you’re all set. You’ll notice that immediately your songs will be sorted by track number!

I’m not sure exactly why iTunes does this in rare circumstances, but that’s it. Problem solved. Hope this helped.

Read a book. It’s good for you.

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  1. Jason
    Friday April 17, 2009 at 11:42 PM

    Before you do this, you might try this. Do the “Get Info” on one of the tracks that are sorted correctly and then select the “Info” tab. Then, check out the “Track Number” and “Disc Number” on the right and take note of what is listed. After that, do the same thing on the track(s) that are not sorting correctly and see if they match. If not, update those fields to match and then they should be sorted fine. This worked for me.

    • Saturday April 18, 2009 at 9:04 AM

      Jason,
      Thanks for the input. If I come across this problem again, I’ll definite try your suggestion.

    • Saturday April 18, 2009 at 9:41 AM

      Jason,
      I just wanted to let you know that I ran across this problem again today with my Suicidal Tendencies album, F.N.G. I checked out what you said, but to no avail. Everything was kosher.

      As soon as I cleared out the “Album Artist” field for all tracks on the album, the tracks sorted properly.

    • Lilzee
      Tuesday February 9, 2010 at 11:38 AM

      The track numbers were fine, but the disc info (1 of 1) were missing on the tracks that were out of order (and that info was included on all of the other tracks). Adding them in reordered the list properly & instantaneously. Thanks!

  2. Matthias Hoys
    Monday May 18, 2009 at 7:59 AM

    I wouldn’t mark the problem as “fixed” ;-)
    I currently have the problem with one album and I can’t figure out how to fix it.
    I tried emptying the “Album Artist” fields one by one but some of them keep coming back!
    And each time that I remove it by selecting all tracks and then check the checkbox in Get Info, the next time I click on a column to sort on, iTunes fills the Album Artist field back in… The only thing that helps is displaying the track number column and manually sorting on that… This is very annoying!!!

    Matthias

    • Wednesday January 2, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      Go to “View” up above and click “View Options” uncheck the box that says “checked” and you should be good to go.

  3. Ryan
    Monday July 6, 2009 at 3:47 PM

    This problem can be tricky, and you may have to go through track by track and see what is different about the track that won’t sort.

    For example, I just made sure everything matched, and it still wouldn’t sort. Then I saw that the track that wouldn’t sort had “Disk 1 of 1″ set, and the other tracks didn’t. Once I removed that everything sorted correctly.

  4. Don
    Thursday August 27, 2009 at 3:15 AM

    I had this problem as well and the above fix didn’t work so instead of just checking the Album Artist field I checked all the fields that I didn’t need / want such as genre, grouping, comments etc that fixed it for me – hope that helps someone!

    • Monday September 23, 2013 at 8:27 PM

      This worked for me! I had a soundtrack CD with all different artists and composers and checking all boxes worked! Thanx Don…I know this is a very old post, but this helped me with something that’s been bugging me for a couple of years!!!

  5. Alex
    Saturday August 29, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    All my tracks were the same in the album artist and disk fields, but the problem “fixed” itself when I ed through the entire album.

  6. Marissa
    Thursday September 10, 2009 at 12:40 PM

    This worked! I had a compilation of songs and had painstakingly applied track numbers to each (which had been deleted). I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t sorting by track number. This was exactly it, thank you!

  7. Friday October 2, 2009 at 2:41 AM

    Sometimes one or more of the tracks gets a custom sort name (Sorting tab) and that throws out the sort order.

  8. Veronica
    Friday October 9, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    I need to put info in the Album Artist Field as it helps to group compilations together when viewing in cover flow. The track order is only correct using the Album By Artist field though as the Album Artist field lists compilation tracks alphabetically.

  9. Joe
    Friday October 23, 2009 at 10:48 AM

    Well, When I sort my music by Album, everything is 100% fine. Like all songs ANYWAY. But when I sort it by Album Artist, (which is the best one I reckon). It goes all in the wrong order. I try loads of stuff, I even change my “sorting” for most of them. But its really annoying and there is no diffence between them GRRR!

  10. Sam
    Tuesday December 15, 2009 at 10:41 PM

    This works, thanks. Weirdly there was nothing in the Album Artist field either, but by ticking the box next to it I fixed the problem. If it doesn’t work, check that the track numbers are correct and there are no differences in Artist either.

  11. Saturday January 2, 2010 at 6:03 AM

    Had a playlist with 100 songs and also had this problem. Your trick fixed it though. Thanks.

  12. Gert
    Saturday January 16, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    Thanks! this problem was driving me mad!

  13. vdog
    Sunday March 7, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    One more thing that was causing the sort order to mess up for me was that one track (#3 out of a 10 track album), in the “Get Info” pop-up had the “Disc Number’ fields filled in or partially filled in, while the other tracks did not. Track #3 was appearing below track #10 until i cleared the track number field. So the basic take away is that you should clear all fields you expect to be empty as a straggled data point might be there throwing off the sort order. Thanks for this string that gave me the inspiration to find that derivative

  14. Sunday April 25, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    I found out the problem when I was trying to sort by Album then track number. Some had “Album Artist” as an included field which messed it up – separate from the viewable artist. When I got rid of it the problem was fixed.

  15. Sunday April 25, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    Ok never mind. I miss read the instructions. Way to go – you’ve got it right! :)

  16. omairhe
    Saturday May 8, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    try Ctrl+a on entire collection, select Info; Disc 1 of 1. press ok. wait for it to complete. Now u sort it “album by artist”

    hope it helps..

  17. David
    Sunday June 20, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    Solved my problem perfectly! Thank you!

  18. Aaron
    Thursday July 15, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    iTunes 9 has a SORTING tab when you GET INFO for a song. This is where all SORTING issues can be resolved.

    The compounding issue I experienced when trying the aforementioned recommendation of deleting ALBUM ARTIST info on INFO tab is that this removed the associated artwork for some of the songs and replaced it with other song artwork with no rhyme or reason (or at least none that I could figure out).

    My recommendation:
    1) On INFO tab, ensure all information is accurately entered for NAME, ARTIST, YEAR, ALBUM ARTIST, TRACK NUMBER (# of #), and ALBUM. I have not thoroughly tested it, but I’m guessing that all other fields on the INFO tab can be filled out as well.
    2) TRACK NUMBER is important because it tells iTunes the order of the tracks on the album.
    3) On SORTING tab, delete ALBUM ARTIST info. For me, iTunes had automatically filled out NAME, ARTIST, ALBUM ARTIST and ALBUM. So I had to simply delete the ALBUM ARTIST info only.
    4) Repeat steps #1 thru #3 for all songs in playlist and click OK.
    5) Test the results by clicking on the ALBUM column. iTunes will rotate between ALBUM sorting, ALBUM BY ARTIST sorting, and ALBUM BY YEAR sorting.

    For me, this is my desired outcome, which I achieved following the above:
    - When I select ALBUM sorting, playlist will display songs in correctly sort by track number, starting with track 1 at the top.

    It’s amazing that new comments have been posted to this thread for over a year. Hope my experience helps someone else in the future.

  19. Someone
    Wednesday October 20, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    None, zilch, zero, nada, of your suggestions worked on “Kevin Yost Presents … Vol. 5″.

  20. josh
    Tuesday November 30, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    i had the same problem but all fields were the same. the sorting order was the same across the entire album too. i tried emptying the album artist field to no avail. what finally got it for me was going through and erasing all track numbers, then manually re entering them 1 by 1. when i then clicked sort by track number, then resorted by album, they were fixed! hope this helps

    • Tuesday November 30, 2010 at 5:57 PM

      This seems to be an interesting problem. Different people have solved it with different solutions. What seems to be the basic idea is that altering the data in some way, shape or form tends to fix the problem. Is it that something is triggered in the iTunes database when the information is changed?

  21. Melt
    Monday December 13, 2010 at 6:37 PM

    Ah, my problem was that, I let iTunes to sort my albums in my music folder, by Album by Artist. For some reason my tracks didn’t have this fielf filled in, so I did that and voila! All is good again!

  22. Melt
    Monday December 13, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    field*

  23. baso
    Saturday January 22, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    Hey guys, i has the same problem.

    Click another tab at the top to sort, like ‘name’ for instance

    then click the ‘album by artist’ tap at the top and it should sort it’s self back to normal (right click the tabs up the top and select ‘album by artist’ if it is not on your itunes)

  24. bob
    Sunday January 23, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    geez, imagine my surprise when I search for a solution to this problem and the first result comes with a screenshot of the exact album I’m listening to and trying to get to appear in the correct order…
    thanks, your solution worked

  25. db
    Monday January 24, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    Problem: On a few tracks i need to leave the Album Artist information in; therefore in the main library, when i click on Album, sorting by Album still does a secondary sorting by Album Artist, which screws up the track order on some albums. None of the solutions listed above seem to deal with this issue.

    Solution: If you would like to leave in the Album Artist information, but do not want itunes to use this information in the sorting process, do this:

    1. Highlight ALL tracks (you can do this all at one time, or in batches). You can, of course, pick and choose but I chose to make it universal.

    2. Cmd-I to go to the Multiple Item Information box; Click on “Sorting”

    3. In the “Sort Album Artist” box, type anything you want. (I typed in “Don’t sort by album artist” just as a reminder as to what i had done). It actually doesn’t matter one bit what you type in, as long as every track contains the exact same thing. This way, anytime itunes automatically sorts by Album Artist, the result will have absolutely no bearing on the sort because all Album Artist information will theoretically be the same (as far as itunes’ sorting mechanism is concerned), and the next in line for the sorting action should be the disc/track numbers.

    Hope this helps – it cleared up an age-old problem for me.

  26. Paul Adams
    Sunday February 20, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    I ran into not being able to sorty by track # and in my case if I simply selected to order by “Artist” (which for a given album is typically the exact same value since the album was produced by a single artist) this magically re-sorted the album back into track # ordering.

  27. Chris
    Sunday March 20, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    I have a playlist with in it one album.
    I added track number before the song title. This number then appears in the track number column.
    Clicking on the title header sorts correctly.
    Clicking on the track number give a random order! The bad thing is that the songs appear in the same random order on my iPhone.
    None of the suggestions above helped!

    Are the people of Apple reading his?

  28. ccelow
    Tuesday April 5, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    Finally fixed the problem by updating the disk values on all the tracks to be the same. Either empty or an actual number. Undid it to verify it and it worked.

  29. ccelow
    Tuesday April 5, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    Finally fixed the problem by

    1) Highlighting all the tracks
    2) Right-clicking and selecting “Get Info”
    3) Updating the disk # to 1 of 1 for all the tracks.

    To tested my solution, I undid it and it reverted back to the original problem.

  30. Robin
    Wednesday June 15, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    I finally figured it out! None of the above tips worked, many of my albums were “compilations of mixed artists”. And each track (in an album) had different, itunes called “albumartist”. I selected ALL my songs in itunes, “cmd + a” and then “cmd + i”, select the field “albumartist” checkbox, with “blank” info, then OK, sort again, FIXED!

  31. Marisa
    Thursday June 30, 2011 at 3:29 AM

    Thank you so much! I was going insane!

  32. James
    Monday August 1, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Brilliant. Worked a treat.

  33. JCCHU
    Sunday September 25, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    I know this is an old post, but…
    Thank you for the tip. I think I know what is going on now.
    When iTunes doesn’t sort the songs correctly, there is some information within the songs that makes iTunes think they are not of the exact same album. Sometimes it’s the “Album Artist”, but it could be something else. Probably would be helpful to check the info for a song that doesn’t comply to see what field actually is causing the problem.

    Hope this adds to the discussion.

  34. Saturday December 3, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    At first I thought it did not work but all I had to do was do the above instruction and then actually play song with track no. 1 and all the other songs would rearrange :)

  35. Cal Damage
    Thursday December 15, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    The albums that fail for me are Spamalot and SouthPark:Bigger,Longer,Uncut.
    Every track has different artists (Kyle & Cartman, Satan and Saddam, Kyle’s Mom (the Bitch)) and this seems to prevent the album from playing as an album.
    I’ll try some of the suggestions here, see what happens.

  36. AK
    Friday February 10, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    AWESOME! Thank you, I was getting so frustrated. This worked perfectly for me.

  37. Swey
    Saturday April 7, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    GENIUS! It worked! Thanks… now I can listen to my Tool albums in sequence.

  38. rawr rawr
    Wednesday July 25, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    It didnt work all of my songs are even more out of order, they are all from a cd i bought and I checked everything and each song contains the track number, artist, album, genre and song name. This happened to two of my Cd’s help!

  39. James
    Monday August 6, 2012 at 6:08 AM

    Very helpful, fool-proof guide to solving the problem of track listing I faced! I followed it step-by-step and all is now right with the itunes world! Thanks for taking the time to help folk like me!

  40. Thursday October 11, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    HERE IS A FIX: GO TO THE COLUMN TASK BAR AND RIGHT CLICK…CHECK VIEW TRACK NUMBER. THEN SORT BY ALBUM AND IT SHOULD BE DONE. YOU CAN THEN UNCHECK VIEW TRACK NUMBER, BUT EVERYTHING SHOULD BE FIXED BY THEN.

  41. jonoduuude
    Thursday November 8, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    THAAAAANNNNKKKKK YOUUU!!!!

  42. Matt
    Saturday February 16, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    This didn’t work for me, but I found another solution (sorry if a repost, tl;dr replies)

    Simply Click “View > View Options” (or cmd+J) and then the top option is “View by”. Simply choose by track no. and tada!

  43. Joe Bresley
    Wednesday May 1, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    Is there any way of deleting the iTunes track # itself from the play lists? When I copy my songlists into an external drive to put in my phone music player, the title of the song includes the track#. Once in my phone, I can’t even search for the title of a song, because it will have the track number in front, ex: 01 What about Love. Thanks for any suggestions

  44. Inna cadlum
    Wednesday May 15, 2013 at 6:05 AM

    I tried what you said as it doesn’t work… It doesn’t do anything it’s still not arranged properly.

  45. Rodney Cage
    Wednesday July 3, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    I THINK I FIGURED IT OUT! What you wanna do is this. Go to the artists tab in Itunes, then click on artist name and scroll to the artists album you are trying to sort. From this point I’m gonna give an example of what I did…

    There was a song called “Power Trip” (which is track #4) way at the bottom of the album of 16 songs. Then what I did was right-click on “Power Trip”, clicked info, then went to Sorting tab. There I changed the Name AND Sort Name columns from “Power Trip” to “Born Sinner” (Which is the name of track #16). That’s when I had two songs named “Born Sinner” but it sorted the other “Born Sinner” which was actually the “Power Trip” song to it’s rightful place in the album. After that I clicked on the “Born Sinner” that was #4 now and went back to Name and Sorting columns and renamed it back to “Power Trip”, and then it was sorted!

    Sorry I know that sounded confusing but if you follow the example careful it should work for your song that’s not sorted properly. Let me know if it works for you!

  46. Ginell
    Friday September 20, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    THANK YOU!

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