Missing artwork in iTunes and eventually iPhones and iPads has been a problem for years now. It doesn’t seem like Apple is ever going to get around to fixing it. In fact, after the launch of Apple Music which had its own bugs, the problem seems to have gotten worse instead of better. How does one successfully get album artwork for the songs in their library that don’t have it?
Well, there are a few ways to go about doing this. If you only have a few songs that need album artwork, you can probably get away with the one-by-one approach to adding album artwork. But if you have a large library of songs without artwork, a sweeping third-party application might be necessary. Let’s take a look at the different strategies.
Note: Both strategies outlined below require using iTunes on your computer then syncing the changes over to your iPhone. There is no proper way to fix missing album artwork directly on an iOS device.
Use iTunes to Replace Each Song’s Album Artwork
If you only have a few songs that you need to get album artwork for, you can do so right in iTunes without the help of any third-party software. You can go about this one or two ways. The first is to right-click the individual song or album that’s missing album artwork then click Get Album Artwork in the menu.
If you have perhaps more than a few songs you need album artwork for, you can also attempt to get it all at once. Go up to the File menu in iTunes, hover over Library, then select Get Album Artwork. Unlike the last method, this will get the album artwork for all of the songs that don’t have it in your library.
The biggest problem with using iTunes to get album artwork is that each song needs to have all the proper metadata: album name, song title, artist, etc. If anything is missing or misspelled, iTunes won’t find your artwork. If this is your issue, keep reading.
Tip: Alternatively, if for some reason you downloaded a song that came with the wrong artwork, you can right-click and select Clear Downloaded Artwork first. Then follow the steps above to get the correct artwork.
Use TuneUp to Identify Missing Artwork
A very simple software program called TuneUp works on both Mac and PC and can download missing album artwork for you. In one click it’ll identify and replace all of the artwork issues across your library.
The key to TuneUp’s software though is that it analyzes the songs for their acoustic footprints rather than just relying on metadata. What that means is TuneUp can find your album artwork even if the file names and artist/album/song titles are out of whack. It’ll even fix those titles along the way.
While TuneUp does offer a free trial version, the downside is that the full version of this program will set you back $49.95.
All you have to do is download and install TuneUp. Then open it up and observe the four tabs at the top for the four different services it provides, one of which can remove duplicates too. Click Cover Art and then select Find Missing Cover Art. That’s it. TuneUp will do the rest of the work for you.