Does Apple iCloud backup music?

Yes, Apple iCloud can backup music purchased from the iTunes Store or added to the Apple Music library. The music files themselves are not stored in iCloud, but iCloud stores information about the music you own so it can be re-downloaded if needed.

What gets backed up

Here’s what types of music get backed up to iCloud:

  • Songs purchased from the iTunes Store
  • Apple Music songs added to My Music
  • iTunes Match songs stored in iCloud

So if you buy music from iTunes, add songs to your Apple Music library, or subscribe to iTunes Match, all of that music can be re-downloaded from iCloud if needed.

What does NOT get backed up

Here are some types of music that do NOT get backed up to iCloud:

  • Songs ripped from CDs
  • MP3s added from other sources
  • Apple Music songs saved for offline listening only

So if you have music on your device that didn’t come from iTunes or Apple Music, it will not be stored in iCloud. This music would need to be manually re-added if you got a new device.

How iCloud music backup works

When you enable iCloud Music Library, here’s what happens behind the scenes:

  1. Apple scans your device and catalogs all eligible songs purchased from iTunes or added from Apple Music.
  2. This catalog of music is stored in iCloud, but the actual song files stay on your device.
  3. If you get a new device, the catalog is used to re-download your music from iTunes in the cloud.

So think of iCloud music backup as more of a library of what music you own, not the actual music files themselves. The files stay on your device until you need to re-download.

How much iCloud storage do you need?

The amount of iCloud storage you need depends on your Apple Music and iTunes Match usage:

Service Storage Needed
iTunes Match 256 kb per song
Apple Music No additional storage needed

So if you only use Apple Music, you won’t need any extra iCloud storage for music. But if you have a large iTunes library, you may need to upgrade your iCloud storage plan to accommodate iTunes Match.

How to enable iCloud Music Library

To turn on iCloud music backup, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on your Apple ID banner at the top.
  3. Select iCloud.
  4. Turn on the switch for “iCloud Music Library”.

This will scan your music library and make all eligible songs available for download across your devices. It may take some time depending on your library size.

How to restore your music library

If you ever need to restore your music library from iCloud, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure iCloud Music Library is enabled on the new device.
  2. Open the Music app.
  3. Tap on Library at the bottom.
  4. Tap “Download All” to re-download your entire music library from iCloud.

Your previous iTunes and Apple Music purchases should begin downloading. Keep in mind it may take time based on your internet speed and library size.

Troubleshooting tips

Here are some troubleshooting tips if you have issues with iCloud music backup:

  • Check that you have enough iCloud storage to accommodate your library.
  • Make sure iCloud Music Library is enabled on all devices.
  • If songs are missing, double check they were purchased from iTunes or added from Apple Music.
  • Use the steps above to re-download your entire music library as needed.


To recap, iCloud can backup purchased iTunes songs, Apple Music downloads, and iTunes Match songs. It does this by storing a library catalog, not the actual song files. Make sure to have sufficient iCloud storage, enable iCloud Music Library, and re-download your music if needed. This allows you to access your music collection across all your Apple devices.