iTunes deletegate has caused a lot of consternation among music lovers with iTunes libraries, and with Apple, who has admitted that there is a problem, but says it only affects a small number of users. The whole story is confused and confusing, having started with a blog post by one person whose story just doesn’t ring true. And some of the reasons various journalists have given – mostly around the admittedly confusing dialog box that iTunes displays when you delete a track – don’t make sense; this could only explain the man’s problem if he had mistakenly selected his iTunes library and deleted it.
However, in a comment to this article here on Kirkville, a user wrote about something quite surprising. He says:
Just last night I went to delete a “duplicate” file by clicking on the icon and selecting to delete it. (I’ve done this hundreds of times before) — this time the delete took longer than normal, 30-60 seconds. My entire library was in the recycle bin completely mixed up.
This is very interesting. Plenty of people delete individual files, and if there’s a bug in iTunes that causes the app to trash all your music when you delete one file, that rules out some very unlikely behavior by users. I have no idea if this is what’s going on with deletegate, but it’s certainly worth looking into. If this happens to you, take screenshots of your iTunes library, and your Trash folder or Recycle Bin, and get in touch. This is information that Apple would find useful in order to track down the bug.
Note that if this does happen, you can drag all the files back to the iTunes window; it doesn’t matter if they’re not in folders. As long as you have iTunes set to keep your library organized (in the Advanced folder), iTunes will put them in the right place.