Itunes Music Skipping

Category: Music , Quickies


I have trouble with iTunes songs 'skipping.' At first I thought it was because of my speakers, but one of my friends mentioned that she has the same problem. Is this due to low RAM or because iTunes takes so much RAM? I started to use WinAmp again because it doesn't have such a long lag time as iTunes and doesn't do the weird skipping thing.


Yes, the most likely cause is not enough RAM to feed the memory-hungry iTunes application, especially iTunes version 7. You can perhaps verify this by shutting down all other applications except for iTunes. If you try that, use the Task Manager to kill non-essential applications, including Itunes auxiliary programs ituneshelper.exe and ipodservice.exe. Other tasks you can safely terminate are qttask.exe (QuickTime), iexplore.exe (Internet Explorer), and others that you recognize as applications you use. If you don't know what a task is, don't mess with it.

Another solution that works for some Windows users is to go to Control Panel, Click on Quick Time, Select the Audio tab, then check the Safe mode (waveOut only) checkbox. Now look below in the Sound Out section and set Size to 16 bit. Close Quicktime and iTunes and re-open them.

If you notice a lot of hard disk activity while running iTunes version 7, it could be that iTunes is scanning all your music files for gapless playback info, a new feature in this version. The scanning process can take several hours (depending on the speed of your system and the number of music files you have) and may cause skipping while songs are being played.

See the comments below for additional information, or to share what works for you.

This article was posted by on 20 Oct 2006

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Most recent comments on "Itunes Music Skipping"

(See all 40 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Ben A.
20 Nov 2007

Would the fact that I am running other programs like a file downloading or installing affect the musics skipping? keep in mind I am running a dual-core 1g ram 250gb hard drive and the hard drive is brand new so it wouldnt be corrupt files.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Possibly, but why not just test it? Try playing a song when you're NOT downloading or installing something.

Posted by:

21 Nov 2007

I use iTunes 6 and had the same problem, used the SafeMode in QuickTime and has worked perfectly now. Thank you so much!

Posted by:

Mathieu Morissette
03 Dec 2007

My problem is the same as Jon (31 Mar 2007) and SireeBob (

18 Apr 2007) ... Is there a fix for these Creative drivers vs iTunes/Quicktime? iTunes doesn't seem to be able to properly use the soundcard to decode the music as it uses majorly more CPU usage than any other music program I've tried. (iTunes is a bigger and more complex program, and so uses more memory, but that shouldn't affect CPu usage much...)

I get 5-10% CPU usage while playing a song on iTunes vs 0-1% on any other program,a nd I have a FX-60 dual core CPU...

EDITOR'S NOTE: Maybe this will help:

Posted by:

Dave McClain
28 Dec 2007

iPod Service and Apple Mobile Device have been killed. I'm running ONLY iTunes and Firefox 2.0 on a fully-up-to-date-on-all-drivers-and-software system with XP, 1.5GB of RAM, and a 2.8GHz P4. There is NO reason iTunes should be skipping like it does, but the fact remains, it is. Especially when I type or if I open new tabs in Firefox. This editor has no idea how to fix it. I'm glad he helped others, but he certainly doesn't have all the answers. Thanks for nothin, Bob.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sounds like you missed some of the great suggestions in the reader comments. Did you try some of the iTunes settings tweaks mentioned there?

Posted by:

09 Feb 2008

My PC is an E6600 Core 2 Duo, 4GB of memory, and a Sound Blaster X-Fi. iTunes still skips when using Firefox (opening tabs, refreshing JavaScript heavy pages). Only iTunes though.

iTunes also uses 5% CPU for playing MP3s? The problem is not the OS, the problem is iTunes and crap Apple coding. My 486 could play MP3s with that much CPU usage when using the old WinAmp, and WMP has no such problem.

Posted by:

12 Mar 2008

my itunes skips when i listen to radio stations through it. it just started yesterday. help or suggestions?

thanks much.

Posted by:

Liz Remus
19 Mar 2008

Thanks for the info! This has made listening to itunes so much more enjoyable while I am web surfing!

Posted by:

10 Apr 2008

Music skipping, especially when it's happening with only certain songs, and skips always at the same location on playback, could also be a sign of a bad AAC file that was being delivered by iTunes Store.

I had one such problem recently with music I had purchased and did not play back correctly (songs would skip at the same spot every time). I contacted Apple, was given a refund, and told they would investigate the files and that I should try downloading the material again in a few weeks.

Posted by:

04 Jul 2008

Thanks for the great info. However, most of these suggested fixes seem to be for Windows. What about Mac? I opened Quicktime in OS and there don't seem to be options to change the synthesizer default or enable safe mode. I'm using OS 10.4 and iTunes v7.

In addition to skipping songs during the burn, I'm also getting the occasional random song truncating. Muy annoying. Love my Mac but am very disappointed in Apple SW lately.

Posted by:

10 Jul 2008

Good call. Saved me from going insane.

Posted by:

05 Oct 2008

I am running iTunes and there is no way my skipping problem is caused by a lack of RAM. I am using it on a laptop with a 1.73 GHz dual-core with 2Gb DDR2 RAM. When I'm running iTunes in the background while playing World of Warcraft, I still have almost 1Gb of RAM free. I hate iTunes when it skips but I love my iPod and iTunes does such a great job of organizing music. I guess I'll deal with the skipping until Apple gets this figured out.

Posted by:

28 Oct 2008

Ive got a dual core AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-50 and from what I have read on the net and can work out, the music skips due the second core powering up and down. There is a powersave feature built in which activates the second core when the load on the CPU reaches a certain threshold but then powers it off again when the load is reduced again to save power. This might be complete crap but I have done pretty much everything I can think of to fix it: formatted the hdd and clean installed windows, installed another gig of ram to take it from 1gb to 2gb, plugged in a soundblaster audigy 2 nx external soundcard and messed with any and all audio settings and drivers/codecs etc. I turned the powersave off in bios but it is still on. It is the only thing that makes sense, it skips when you scroll a webpage or load something up or if a background service like an antivirus tries to do something. It is a built in fault and ive just come to learn to live with it unfortunately. If im wrong then please let me know! Id love to be able to fix it!

Posted by:

28 Dec 2008

Hi Bob.

Skipping-songs in my case is a problem I've had since I made the mistake of not selecting the option "error correction" at import, and a dozen, possibly more, albums skip because the content skipped as it was imported. It plays skipping no matter what player I use, iPod, Creative MP3 player, Mac or PC. What I'm looking for is a tool to help me identify those songs which skip so that I can re-import just those albums/songs.

The alternative is to listen to all music and flag songs as I hear them skip, which I've been doing when I'm near the computer, but mostly I just hit >>| . I own 12,100 songs which I play randomly, and skips tend to happen when we are sitting down for dinner with company... not the most appropriate time to run to the computer and flag songs.

What would you recommend I do to identify those annoying skipping songs in one fell swoop, so I know which CDs to dig out from storage and re-import them?

Posted by:

23 Jan 2009

I've got a similar Problem. I've got a brand-spanking new computer with a triple core, 4GB RAM, Windows XP with full patch updates and such, fresh itunes install. I've got a fairly massive itunes library, some 7500 songs, mp3's, m4a's, m4p's, even some wav's and midi's in there.

I usually run World of Warcraft, which takes up about 300 - 350 MB RAM or so, and Firefox with maybe four to ten tabs open, which is like 200 - 300 MB RAM.

Now, randomly, iTunes lags, and just stops playing music for about a second and a half or two and then picks up again. This happens under all circumstances, and totally randomly, it happens for all types of songs, whether they are on my harddrive, shared over the network, or on an external USB drive. It happens near the beginning of songs, or in the middle of them. It happens without regard to what other programs are running. I definitely have sufficient RAM and CPU (I've been watching my processor performance meter while typing this and iTunes has lagged about 5 times, but has peeked at 1% CPU and WoW in the background has peaked at 4% and firefox at 3%. iTunes is sitting at about 85 MB.

Again I've got an AMD Phenom 8450 tri-core with 4GB RAM. I've already googled around a bit; all I find is "LOL get a Mac." Could it just be that iTunes isn't properly optimized?


Posted by:

11 Feb 2009

Hi, I have this same problem. I tried the quicktime control panel safe mode settings etc. then restarted itunes but it didn't work.

I looked to see if there was an update to my sound card driver, i had the latest but i installed it again anyway. After a restart and before i opened itunes again i did the quicktime control panel settings again (turned them off, close, open and reapply). Opened itunes and its perfect!!!

I don't know if it was the reinstalling of the drivers or the control panel settings after restart or both but worth giving ago if your still having problems.

Posted by:

22 Sep 2010

F*** ITunes. Quad core 8gig of ram, 3k$ computer shouldnt have problems with software. So I switched back to VLC and winamp. Fixed.

Posted by:

19 Nov 2010

Thank you for the info, the Quicktime fix so far is working for me :) Also listening to it via the mini player is good too, I suggest to others as it will take up less ram. But thanks for Quicktime tip, it's very good.

Posted by:

28 Dec 2010

I tried shutting down everything and restarting iTunes and it still skipped. I then set my QuickTime audio to 32.khz instead of 44.1 and that fixed it.

Posted by:

19 Aug 2012

Tried the Safe Mode out option and it worked like a charm. Thank you!

Posted by:

05 May 2013

Thanks for the tips, I didn't have Quicktime installed so tried everything else out first, nothing works. But once I installed Quicktime so it showed up in my control panel, as mentioned many times select "safe mode" and it should fix the issue. If not you have an unrelated problem due to ram or using an external usb drive or something else.

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