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. Thanku thanku thanku!!

    ‘Gapless playback blah blah’ principle; good idea. Practicality; pain in t’arse.
    Hopefully I won’t have to re-boot my Mac each time I plug my ipod in now…

  2. May i note that you may want to include that doing this will also turn “Skip when shuffling” and “Remember Playback Position” to off as well.

    It’s no problem i just went through the audiobook, comedy album, etc categories afterwards and changed them back, but its something to keep in mind.

    Thanks for the advice, helped me sort out my gapless playback problem!

  3. Brilliant – I love you!
    How many times has my PC ground to a hlat whenever I forget to stop that pesky Determine Gapless Playback Information function.
    Poolio x

  4. Hi from Sitzerland,
    Sorry for my poor English writing. I was fortunate enough to escape the mayhem of iTunes 7 and I’m still on a 6 version. But obviously, I’ll have to switch one day. May I ask, I thought that once you install V 7.x it automatically begin to look and modify your files. Will I be able to put “no” as stated BEFORE it begin reading ? I work in a radio and our collection has more than 45k VBR mp3’s on a 500Gb drive… so you can imagine our stress of switching to v7 !!
    So, can we ctrl-A BEFORE it acts reading on the first place ? Thanks a lot ! Juliette Perrot. Geneva, Switzerland.

  5. I just got my 2000t and all of my songs are skipping in iTunes, and I cant figure out why. If someone could help me out and tell me how to fix this I would really appreciate it because its driving me crazy. Thanks for the replys.

  6. Juliette,

    I’m not sure you’ll be able to stop it before it starts, however you should be able to interrupt it. I was able to stop the process by pressing the “x” in the upper status bar of iTunes while it was processing.

    Hope the helps… and good luck!!!

  7. The instructions at the top of this page saved my life and my sanity.

    I couldn’t stop the gapless analysis except to quit. When I quit, I couldn’t transfer songs to my ipod. I was going beserk.

    In five minutes, my mind, my life, and my computer are all mine again! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  8. How long does it take to rewrite all those tags? That would probably crash my computer as well. Another suggestion: Just click the ‘x’ in the iTunes progress bar when its trying to get em. That way, it may determine it for a few songs before you click it, but it wont slow you down after that.

    I just refuse to rewrite all my mp3 id3 tags cause itunes wants to build its own crap information.

  9. Great information. iTunes was actually crashing on me on startups (There was just time to click the little (x) if I was quick, but I’m often not. Dugg it.

  10. I tried this but it didn’t work. As soon as I closed and reopened iTunes, it started trying to determine gapless playback information again. My music is coming from a network share and I wonder if that has something to do with it. Does anyone know why this is happening or if there’s another way around this?

  11. SeanLazer >
    My music comes from a network drive as well. When iTunes starts going through your songs, press the X to stop it inside the window that tells you the progress. Since your songs are on a network, it could take iTunes awhile to respond and recognize that you told it to stop, but it should stop none-the-less. Once you’ve done this, select all your songs and remove them from the gapless album.

    Good luck!

  12. 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…

  13. ALLLL this time later it is still happening…no solution. I cant get the x cause it happens on song 10-11 etc. oh well. thanks apple!

  14. Please, HELP! I have the same problem as the others: even though I check the flag No Gapless Album of my tracks, this silly f****** iTunes do the gapless analysis anyway, causing the crash of the program… Ctrl-Alt-Del and so on.
    Furthermore, I have no time to press the X to interrupt the process!
    The last solution I think about is to find an ancient version of iTunes (before version 7) so that this stupid option won’t break my nerves anymore.
    I really need help ’cause I can’t transfer music on my iPod without provoking iTunes crash. Please :-(

  15. Same problem as seanlazer and b
    I’ve tried everything. Now I have to downgrade my itunes and figure out another way to get music onto my wife’s shuffle.
    Oh well.

  16. I’ve got 55000 MP3s on a NAS. Importing 1050 of them into ITunes brought my system to a halt becasue of all the crap that ITunes does (getting artwork, this gapless stupidity, etc.). I’ve managed to turn everything else off, and am now trying your solution. I did what you suggested, and it’s processing them about 2 seconds per song (while still processing the gapless stuff). Now it’s 2X ground to a halt!

    Have you people ever heard of Winamp? Does everything that ITunes does, faster, better, more efficiently; none of the garbage. Oh, and IPod sucks, Sansa is much better.

  17. Hi people,

    It’s bad!

    I’ve the exactly same problem as detailed here:

    But with 7000 songs to determine. Because my bloody 5G iPod crashed and needed to be restored, gutted! And my computer only just working again so needed to add them all back to itunes. Same as the link, even after i’ve clicked ‘NO’ to Gapless Album and its processed all the tunes, but nope when check ‘get info’ the ‘no’ box is unticked and when itunes opens again, bloody kills laptop trying to find gapless info. Even got crossfade on, but NO still don’t help.


    Anyone know a solution??


  18. If you get that repeatedly on the same song or podcast, you may want to try identifying that song/podcast on your hard drive and deleting its overlying folder. This at least worked for me.

    Good luck to everyone!

  19. It still doesn’t work for me. As soon as I’m done changing all the tags, it starts determining gapless playback information again and when i try it again the box is unchecked. Crossfade is on, but I don’t want that, either. What a horrible mess. WTG, Itunes.

  20. Does Apple know about this problem? Would they fix it? Or do they care?

    Fucking stupid like, trying media monkey, not bad, but want Itunes back! But can’t deal with the hassle of it stuffing my comp up.

  21. This was a great tip…thank you! but I am still experiencing issues with gapless playback and my searches for help have been fruitless. I have over 9000+ songs and the relentless gapless playback crap hangs my iTunes on the same 28 or so songs. The only article I can find from apple states that I should try to “re-add all songs to my libary, make note of the ones that will not reload, and “avoid loading those…

    Does anyone have a better idea for figuring this out? I am happy to reload the 28 songs, and other than sitting at my laptop for hours watching it, I do not know which of the 9000+ songs are the culprit. It would be nice it iTunes would just let me know…an export, or report perhaps?

    Any ideas would be appreciated!

  22. So you’re unable to disable Gapless Playback on only 28 songs? But it works for the other 8,972?

    That’s wierd, I haven’t had that problem yet. Any time I add new music to my library, I have to repeat the process, but other than that it seems to work fine as is.

    Can anyone else help Jen out?

  23. Hi

    I got the new itunes & windows vista – so when i add file to itunes it took the whole day & when it finished there were only 1/3 of my mps. Then when i look in the windows file 1/2 my songs are gone, i can search them, but when i click to play them it says they are either moved deleted etc.
    I hate itunes & vista, this shit is not user friendly..

    please can any1 help me

  24. Wow, I have never heard of that happening. I’m running iTunes on Windows Vista and it seems to work fine (knock on wood). Have you downloaded the most recent version from

  25. I can’t believe I never noticed that little ‘x’ to cancel the process. Maybe it needs to be higher up or something so that it looks like a mini window? And shouldnt the default be off; I mean, I love gapless playback but any process that seems to just take over the computer should be relegated to a premeditated choice by the user.

    Anyway thanks for the web page, this issue was driving me nuts.

  26. Yeah, that’d be really nice if Apple would allow you to turn it off – is there anywhere on the Apple website to suggest features/functionality changes for their products and software?

  27. NICE! gapless playback, a function that no one ever wanted, which ruins you music collection and drives your customers half mad.

    I love software that knows best, ‘i know, I’ll do it like this…’ Has anyone mentioned to Apple that you loose customers through stupid things like this? I wonder how many people haven’t found this advice. Thank you for the help, big love.


  28. This happened to me but i let it do its thing and when it was done MY MUSIC AND VIDEOS WERE F***ED UP THE VIDEOS ONLY PLAYED THE AUDIO AND THEY WERE MIXED IN WITH MY SONGS I WAS PISSED b/c I was going on a trip the next day and was gonna use my ipod to pass the time but NOOOO!!! Ituned decided to F*** me over and F*** up my songs and videos, I had to reload them all, now I’m afraid to add songs on my ipod now, THANKS ALOT APPLE, NO WONDER YOU SEE VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE OF PEOPLE SMASHING THEIR IPODS B/S YOU CANT MAKE A PRODUCT THAT DOESNT F*** PEOPLE OVER, TELL YA WHAT APPLE MAKE THE NEXT VERSION OF ITUNES WITH THE ABILITY TO DISABLE THE GAPLESS PLAYBACK SCAN

  29. yep, me too. while i wouldn’t have expressed it quite like ipod video 5g, i did chuckle evilly when i read that. this feature, and the inability to disable it, suck. as soon as itunes launches, it freezes, so even if i have my mouse poised where i know that damn x will be, i don’t even get a piece of a second to turn it off. furthermore, it won’t force quit. further still, my whole computer freezes. all my apps. even if only word and firefox. booooooohssssss!!!

  30. Thanks for your regular updates on this important topic. I’m coming back here from time to time to see if you (or a reader) has something new on the subject.
    it’s so weird to have so few pages like yours about this insane feature, and ways to solve the problem.
    I’ve got tons of songs and therefore I’m still on version 6.x

  31. Yeah, I still can’t believe that Apple hasn’t done anything to resolve this “issue”. Unfortunately, I think Apple sees Gapless Playback as more of a “feature” than an “issue” … I don’t know what it’s going to take to change their minds.

    Does Apple have a trouble or support forum???

  32. Awesome, Awesome, Awesome:)

    i was getting very p*ssed off at the ‘determining gapless playback’ interupting my syncing shenanigans.

    thankyou for this solution.
    you rule.

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