Erase Personal Information from iTunes Plus Songs

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 27, 2007
Updated • Jul 11, 2013
Music and Video

The outcry of the Internet community was loud and clear when information were published that songs purchased without DRM from Apple's iTunes store would contain the name and username of the buyer. Horror scenarios where created that suggested that someone could get convicted if purchased songs would be found on P2P websites even if they would not have been shared personally.

A stolen CD, notebook or hacked computer could be a reason why the songs would make their appearance on P2P. Those scenarios might not be that likely but I can definitely understand the concern of some users. I already described a way to get rid of the information by converting the songs directly in iTunes.

An easier way is to use the free software Privatunes which removes the information as well. Just select the song, chose if you want to backup it before removing the personal information and click on anonymize it to start the process.

What I do not like that much is that you have to do this for every single song that you have purchased at the iTunes store. There is unfortunately no batch processing at all. Still a nice way to remove the personal information from the iTunes plus songs.

Update: The Privatunes website is no longer available, so that the service can't be used anymore. There is however another option that we would like to point you to. In how to anonymize iTunes songs we have explained how you can remove the personal information from songs that you have purchased on Apple's iTunes platform.

The programs that you need for that are still available, and I'd suggest you check out the article for further information and download links. One benefit of the method is that you can batch process files, which Privatunes did not offer.

The process does involve a command line tool though. While it should not be too problematic even if you do not have any command line experience, the method's full strength comes only to light if you run it in a batch file to process all iTunes music found in a particular directory at once.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. dvd jon wannabe said on February 25, 2009 at 11:26 am

    The Privatunes download is dead for me, so here’s another way to do it. Note that the EFF has found [] that the personal information may exist in many other hidden places in the file, though, so this method may not be totally bulletproof.

    First, you’ll need to clear the Apple ID field (usually just your email address) and purchase date (which is different from the iTunes “Date Added” field)
    * Download AtomicParsley [] and unzip it.
    * Open a Terminal window (it’s in Applications/Utilities)
    * Drag the AtomicParsley application’s icon into the Terminal window. Do not hit enter.
    * Drag the m4a file into the Terminal window. Do not hit enter.
    * Enter the following command. Note that the dashes before “manualAtomRemove” are double dashes, even though they may not be displayed as such here because of HTML encoding.
    –manualAtomRemove “moov.udta.meta.ilst.apID” –manualAtomRemove “moov.udta.meta.ilst.purd” -W
    * Hit Enter

    Now, you still need to remove your name:
    * Install HexFiend []
    * Open the file in HexFiend
    * Find your name
    * Replace those characters with the exact same number of periods.
    * Save the file

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