Deleting the iTunes Album Artwork Cache Folder May Resolve Problems with Album Art Displaying

I’ve recently gotten a number of emails from people with iTunes issues where album artwork doesn’t display correctly. There’s a simply trick that can resolve these issues: it involves deleting a cache folder that iTunes stores on your computer to speed up the display of album art.

When you view files in iTunes, the app checks to see if there is album artwork embedded in the files, or downloaded separately (for purchased files). If so, it creates a cache file of the artwork, so it doesn’t have to read the music files every time it displays them. I’ve found that, when I have issues with album art not displaying correctly, or not displaying at all, deleting this folder – stored in your iTunes folder – resolves them.

The folder is in ~/Music/iTunes/Album Artwork; that’s the iTunes folder in the Music folder in your home folder (the one with your user name and the house icon):

Itunes album artwork folder

Delete the Cache folder, empty the Trash, quit iTunes and relaunch it. You’ll notice that iTunes lags a bit when displaying a lot of content; as I said above, it has to extract the artwork from the files, and this takes a bit of time. But over time, the cache will be rebuilt, and this can fix some issues with album artwork displaying incorrectly.

Don’t delete the other folders; they contain artwork for purchased tracks, where the artwork isn’t embedded in the files, or other items in the cloud.

If you often add music or other content to your iTunes library and remove it, I’d recommend deleting this folder from time to time, if only to save space. It will contain cache files for items you’ve deleted, and, as you can see above, it can take up a lot of space. Mine is more than 4.5 GB, for a library of some 70,000 items.

Note: as one commenter pointed out, deleting this folder resolved an issue where iTunes was slow to launch. I hadn’t thought that it might have other effects on iTunes, so if you have any problems with iTunes running slowly, you might want to try deleting the folder. It can’t hurt; as I say above, iTunes just recreates the cache files.

52 thoughts on “Deleting the iTunes Album Artwork Cache Folder May Resolve Problems with Album Art Displaying

  1. Don’t really use Album Art feature of iTunes but deleting the Album Artwork cache did resolve a long time issue of iTunes loading lag–Computers are strange!

  2. Don’t really use Album Art feature of iTunes but deleting the Album Artwork cache did resolve a long time issue of iTunes loading lag–Computers are strange!

  3. But what about sound quality?

    When I deleted the cache folder, the sound somehow sounded “thin”. So I restored the cache folder from a backup, and whaddya know?

    I expected higher resolution, but at a cost of some type of tonal shift. Nope. No tonal shift, just MORE. More of everything musical and real, less (much less) of everything that is electronic, tense and fatiguing. The cache allows one to relax. Much like when one goes from redbook CD to DSD or vinyl. There is a physical relaxation that is in response to the sound being produced by one’s audio system. I hope that makes sense.

    • I’m finding the same problem. Deleting the folder just takes out so much bass in my music. Not sure how to restore my cache folder and my sound. Any help would be appreciated! I’d rather have great sound and no album artwork than crappy sound and artwork.

  4. But what about sound quality?

    When I deleted the cache folder, the sound somehow sounded “thin”. So I restored the cache folder from a backup, and whaddya know?

    I expected higher resolution, but at a cost of some type of tonal shift. Nope. No tonal shift, just MORE. More of everything musical and real, less (much less) of everything that is electronic, tense and fatiguing. The cache allows one to relax. Much like when one goes from redbook CD to DSD or vinyl. There is a physical relaxation that is in response to the sound being produced by one’s audio system. I hope that makes sense.

    • I’m finding the same problem. Deleting the folder just takes out so much bass in my music. Not sure how to restore my cache folder and my sound. Any help would be appreciated! I’d rather have great sound and no album artwork than crappy sound and artwork.

    • No, the iOS problem is clearly different.interestingly, the iOS Remote app displays album artwork on my iPod touch, but not on any of my other devices.

    • No, the iOS problem is clearly different.interestingly, the iOS Remote app displays album artwork on my iPod touch, but not on any of my other devices.

  5. I solved the problem in this easy way: Clear the Cache. Preferences >Advanced>Clear the Cache. The missing Album Artwork began to show up. Mind you, it is a slow process.

    • That’s the iTunes Store cache (it says, Reset iTunes Store Cache). It has nothing to do with artwork for tracks in your iTunes library.

  6. I solved the problem in this easy way: Clear the Cache. Preferences >Advanced>Clear the Cache. The missing Album Artwork began to show up. Mind you, it is a slow process.

    • That’s the iTunes Store cache (it says, Reset iTunes Store Cache). It has nothing to do with artwork for tracks in your iTunes library.

    • You could try moving it to an external, and making an alias, but the external drive will have to be mounted when you use iTunes.

      • Thanks for the speedy reply.

        Mounting the HD isn’t an issue, since that’s where my iTunes Media folder is. That’s what is annoying, why doesn’t the album artwork save to my iTunes Media folder?

        Anyway, should I put an alias in the folder on my local drive?

        • On an absolute level, you ideally want that on your startup drive, because it will be read faster. If you want to move it to an external drive, move the folder, delete the original, create an alias to the folder in the location of the original.

    • You could try moving it to an external, and making an alias, but the external drive will have to be mounted when you use iTunes.

      • Thanks for the speedy reply.

        Mounting the HD isn’t an issue, since that’s where my iTunes Media folder is. That’s what is annoying, why doesn’t the album artwork save to my iTunes Media folder?

        Anyway, should I put an alias in the folder on my local drive?

        • On an absolute level, you ideally want that on your startup drive, because it will be read faster. If you want to move it to an external drive, move the folder, delete the original, create an alias to the folder in the location of the original.

  7. This did nothing to fix my album artwork, and I don’t think it sped up my iTunes, either. I have Windows, so that might be the problem. Any suggestions?

  8. This did nothing to fix my album artwork, and I don’t think it sped up my iTunes, either. I have Windows, so that might be the problem. Any suggestions?

  9. This 100% fixed the problem for me, which was that scrolling in album mode was sluggish. I think the problem arose when I moved my entire library to be shared by multiple users but then moved it back to my personal user name folder. THANK YOU!!

  10. This 100% fixed the problem for me, which was that scrolling in album mode was sluggish. I think the problem arose when I moved my entire library to be shared by multiple users but then moved it back to my personal user name folder. THANK YOU!!

  11. Deleting the Cache did not fix my artwork problem – but it did break iTunes, which no longer shows a composite of 4 artworks for Playlists like it did before. Thanks.

    • Did you only delete the Cache folder? Because the artwork for playlists is stored in the Generated folder. Try displaying your music and scrolling through it all – displaying in Albums view is best for this – then go back to a playlist and see if the artwork is there. If not, select a track and scroll through a playlist and see if that regenerates the artwork.

  12. Deleting the Cache did not fix my artwork problem – but it did break iTunes, which no longer shows a composite of 4 artworks for Playlists like it did before. Thanks.

    • Did you only delete the Cache folder? Because the artwork for playlists is stored in the Generated folder. Try displaying your music and scrolling through it all – displaying in Albums view is best for this – then go back to a playlist and see if the artwork is there. If not, select a track and scroll through a playlist and see if that regenerates the artwork.

  13. Wow, this was really helpful in restoring display of embedded albumArt.
    Recently added songs that seemed to show in fading shades as opposed to black, which has refused to play also responded after deleting cache.
    Thanks.

  14. Wow, this was really helpful in restoring display of embedded albumArt.
    Recently added songs that seemed to show in fading shades as opposed to black, which has refused to play also responded after deleting cache.
    Thanks.

  15. I have a subscription to Apple Music and no more album art would show on my apple TV screensaver when listening to streaming music. I checked apple support but did not find anything there. Your advise fixed it and I am so glad 🙂
    Thanks a lot.
    David

  16. I have a subscription to Apple Music and no more album art would show on my apple TV screensaver when listening to streaming music. I checked apple support but did not find anything there. Your advise fixed it and I am so glad 🙂
    Thanks a lot.
    David

  17. So thrilled to find this! After moving iTunes to an external hard drive, problems with disappearing cover art was driving me nuts. I had to delete my cache folder three times before it was completely restored, but it worked a charm. Even three years on, this was the only solution I found. A call to Apple support got me nowhere, but now the problem is solved. Thanks!

  18. So thrilled to find this! After moving iTunes to an external hard drive, problems with disappearing cover art was driving me nuts. I had to delete my cache folder three times before it was completely restored, but it worked a charm. Even three years on, this was the only solution I found. A call to Apple support got me nowhere, but now the problem is solved. Thanks!

  19. I followed your instructions, because the artwork wasn’t copied to my iPod Classic with the aiff files. I then resynced and now I have artwork. I haven’t noticed any difference in speed, and of course, there is no effect on music quality.
    I am only using an old HP laptop running Windows 7 Pro.
    Thanks for this tip!

  20. I followed your instructions, because the artwork wasn’t copied to my iPod Classic with the aiff files. I then resynced and now I have artwork. I haven’t noticed any difference in speed, and of course, there is no effect on music quality.
    I am only using an old HP laptop running Windows 7 Pro.
    Thanks for this tip!

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