iTunes – Determining Gapless Playback Information

What exactly is Gapless Playback? Here’s what Apple has to say about it:

Gapless playback means that there is no pause in playback between the end of one audio file and the beginning of the next audio file. This allows for playback of content with no gaps the way it was meant to be heard. Some examples of gapless albums include:

  • “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd
  • “Abbey Road” by The Beatles
  • Many live and classical albums

Gapless Playback in iTunes
Gapless playback is always on in iTunes 7 or later unless the Crossfade feature is turned on. If Crossfade is on, only audio files that have the “Part of a gapless album” option checked and are capable of being played gaplessly will play with no gaps.

So apparently the new version of iTunes wants to behave more like a CD or a record… you know… how the songs just blend so beautifully together. For all of those albums that have songs that flow into one another with no real fade-in or fade-out iTunes has come up with their version of a “solution”. Good idea in theory? Maybe. But what about those of us who have hundreds or thousands of MP3’s? I for instance, have a computer that hosts all of my media files – music, pictures, videos, etc. so when iTunes decides that it wants to read through my entire music catalog it causes havoc on my computer and my local network.


See this post: Disabling iTunes Determining Gapless Playback

92 thoughts on “iTunes – Determining Gapless Playback Information”

  1. what about turning it on to all files? i mean, that’s the way cd-s work, there is no gap inserted between tracks when you play an original cd in a cd player… so it wouldn’t hurt, right? i’m just surprised no one pointed that out yet, so that makes me a bit uncertain. trying it out now.

  2. OMFG what a relief ive been at this all night and NOBODY i mean NOBODY had an answer i dont even know how i got to this site. man some times Apple sucks. to not have a way out of this is phucked. Thank you a lot for helping me out.

  3. i hope my last comment went here THANKS i was getting so pissed man this was a lllooonnnggg nite

  4. I tried to highlight all the songs and click “get info” and check the gapless album box when it’s set to ‘no’, and i click ok, and it processes it for all my songs…then after i’m done, nothing has happened! i go back to the “get info” screen and the box is unchecked again. please help?

  5. I didn’t work for me either. I make sure the dropdown is set to “No”; check the box and hit OK. A progress bar comes up showing all the files it’s editing. But when it’s done, if I go back in to edit them again nothing is changed! My changes aren’t sticking!

    So when I restart iTunes it STILL says “determining gapless playback”!

    How do I turn this #$@&*!! thing off?!

    (and I can’t just let it run “overnight” – I have thousands of songs on a NAS – at the rate it processes them it would take DAYS and DAYS to finish)

  6. “I’m having the exact same issue as SeanLazer. I set every song to Gapless album=no, restarted iTunes and away it went determining gapless info again…”

    Ditto. I think this idea of a gang edit to set gapless to NO (and checking the box) is an urban myth. It doesn’t work for me; it doesn’t work for lots pof people here, and all over the web people are saying it doesn’t work.

  7. “Gapless Playback” crashes my PC into the floor. I have a 1.5 GHZ processor, is that the problem? It seems like alot of PC users are having this problem, do you think that Mac would help troubleshoot, I bought an ipod for christ sakes. I’m losing my mind.

  8. Well since Mac’s suck ass don’t even bother doin that…

    Try, when it says ‘Determining Gapless Playback Information’ in iTunes, immediately press the little X in that area to stop it, since it doesn’t really do anything.

  9. I’ve tried this on Windows XP – it works, but only for CD’s you’re ripping fresh – it won’t help with MP3’s you already made . . .

    Have iTunes rip the songs. Despite what you may have heard, the iTunes MP3 encoder isn’t that bad, at least at medium-high bitrates. I use 192 kbps, VBR, “highest quality” and I can’t hear any encoding artifacts or deficits WRT fancy-pants encoders like LAME.

    If iTunes (7.x+) did the rip it doesn’t have to “determine gapless playback” every time it’s added to the library.

  10. Thanks, just seeing that there were people who hate this feature a tenth as much as I do helped me calm down.

    What type of music programmers force a feature that cannot be successfully turned off and destroys the original intent of the creators (there is supposed to be a pause between songs on 90% of all albums ever made)?

    Plus you can check of all the things you want in the ‘options’ and then they get undone immediately. This seems like such amateur incompetence.

    If anyone finds a way of deleting this feature altogether please let us know.

    P.S. “I found this page by searching “I hate gapless playback.”

  11. just found this forum while looking for advice on this gapless playback problem- am still on iTunes v7.01, always refuse the update offers (but still get asked every time!). This problem only started recently, not sure why – it seemd to be freezing on one particular track (it’s only trying to get info on 29 of them) but I trashed that mp3 and it now freezes on a different file.
    Worst of all, each crash actually corrupts my harddrive. I can do a safe boot and repair but that’s not not exactly ideal – will be checking out the iTunes alternatives for sure!

  12. I’ve only just upgraded to Tiger – prior to this I’ve had no trouble with iTunes and the gapless playback check. Suddenly when adding my music library to iTunes it balked — I’ve only got 3700 songs but it would stop somewhere around 381, assuring me that it was determining gapless playback. Ultimately it froze my system. I looked into alternatives (primarily Songbird) but Songbird sucks up so much CPU that I can’t run anything along with it.

    My solution ultimately ended up being this: trash the Library files (but not the music), open iTunes and Add to Library one album at a time. It’s a supreme pain in the rear, and worse for those of you with a lot more music than me, but I’ve shut down iTunes and re-opened it and it hasn’t done the gapless playback check again (because one album at a time it’s already done the check).

    With luck, the developers will be able to add an option to turn off the gapless playback check in future releases–surely that can’t be harder than coding the check in the first place.

  13. I’ve had this problem, but it’s reached a much more serious stage. I hit the x enough times that iTunes opened up determining a damaged file and instantly crashed. I deleted said file, but it hasn’t done any good. As soon as I open iTunes, it’s completely unresponsive. Has anyone found a definitive solution yet?

  14. I applied the fix you suggested, and it works great! now I also know how to manually assign which albums to play gaplessly (is that a word?)! Hooray for, and hooray for Google (top of the list under “disable gapless playback itunes”)!

  15. Please where are the instructions for turning off gapless playing, I can’t find them on this site. I need Help itunes is the poorest piece of programming I’ve ever come across. This is my first Mac and i won’t be buying another one because itunes sucks so much. All I want to do is play my tunes but i tunes just freezes.

  16. thank you SO much. i thought i had a virus and i kept downloading it again and again. it was so frustrating! this reallllly helped thank you so much!

  17. when itunes “determined gapless playbackinfo” on my comp it deleted all my playlist, plus some songs in “my music” file. HOW DO I GET IT BACK??

  18. Thank you for this article!
    I had always thought it was required to let it run, but waiting so many hours for my 30GB of music was getting tiring.
    Not to mention the wait for it to sync with my crappy, out-of-date iPod!

    Thanks for saving me a few hours (considering it’s on song.. two-thousand-something?)
    It’s much appreciated! 😀

  19. Thank you for this, this was driving me crazy, I knew what it was for “Gapless Playback” but I have too many Albums for iTunes to “Determine” rather it needs it or not… whew, I was about to choke the #$%@ out of iTunes lol

  20. Thanks! I have 240 GB of music on an external HD and it was taking forever to do this gapless album information! Now I have switched it off I have control over iTunes once more! Now if only iTunes could work out a way of keeping playlists when moving music to an external HD then I would be happy!

  21. Wow– appears this post is over 3 years old and the problem is still rampant. I finally ported all of my music (over 3000 tracks) over to iTunes after previously only using it to sync my iPod to particular albums. I was tired of trying to juggle two players which inevitably resulted in duplicated tracks, etc. Anyway, as soon as I brought all my tracks in, I’d boot up iTunes and it would freeze my desktop after about 20 seconds. Your suggestions solved the problem– thank you! Seems pretty stupid that this buggy “feature” is turned on by default, and turning it off is hardly straightforward.

  22. Thanks for saving me some time. iTunes automatically runs the most inane and TIME CONSUMING processes. Thanks to you. I’ll be skipping this one.

  23. Hi Tracy, thanks for the comment! Glad it helped you out… I still can’t figure out why Apple won’t allow Gapless Playback to be disabled. It’s a pretty useless function for most users.

  24. Update: got tired of trying to catch and stop gapless playback every time I downloaded something from iTunes Store. Switched to Songbird. It’s a shame– I liked iTunes otherwise.

  25. Hi Lara – how do you like Songbird? I’ve tested it out and tried it out a couple times, but have since switched to Media Monkey. I’m curios to hear how you like it for organizing/managing your music.

  26. I like it, although it crashes when I try to play files in m4p format, which I suppose isn’t entirely unexpected since it’s a protected format. The UI is quite nice. I have an iPod, so of course that’s problematic. There are a couple of schemes for syncing an iPod with Songbird but I haven’t had time to try them out, yet. I still buy music from iTunes Store– again, no time to check out other options (but I will). When I do download new music, I just convert everything to mp3 and import it into Songbird. A PITA, for sure, but not as bothersome as dealing with gapless playback!

    One thing I really loved when I was using Windows Media Player was that you could set up playlists according to genre and “mood”, and you could apply multiple genres and moods to each track. Sometimes I want the randomness of the shuffle without deviating from whatever sound I’m in the mood for, and the opportunities with WMP were limitless in this regard.

    What are your thoughts on Media Monkey?

  27. (i’ll try enabling the crossfading playback, but it will be about 40 minutes before itunes draws the “X” button to stop the gapless playback bull, and another 120 minutes or so before it actually responds to being clicked)

  28. Please please help me. I kinda like the gapless playback but in certain songs it just stops and goes totally unresponsive and then my computer freezes and my iPod wont sync because of that. What do I do?

  29. I have the worst possible scenario. I’ve been hosed by some brilliant codewriter at iTunes that is so anal retentive as to write a code that locks up my computer because of the gaps between songs. I have a VAST music library I’ve collected my entire life, and Itunes won’t play it because it’s hung up on “Determining Gapless Playback Information”. I’d just let it run, but other than being ANNOYING, it locks up my itunes on the same song(s) over and over and over.
    If I’m fortunate, I can write down the song and just delete the sucker and loose my song. I lost about a dozen this way before the one it gets hung up on now happens so fast that I can’t check the little “X” to stop it before it locks.

    The end result? I open Itunes, blink, and it locks frozen solid.

    I called Apple about this, but they want to charge me 29.99 for an IPOD support issue. I don’t have a problem with my IPODs. They function just fine. Of course I can’t sync them because of freaking Itunes being rendered functionless by some moron.

  30. I have found the solution to my problem. I started looking for duplicate songs in my playlist and noticed while there were songs with the same name the audio and time track did not add up. In short itunes had somehow managed to jumble up songs together on the same track to create a cluster f@#* of music. I found 281 songs all clustered together like this. Look for songs with an additional number at the end, an” _ ” (underscore) or that have the artist title and Album in the same area of info.

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