How do I remove songs from Apple Music but keep in library?

What It Means To Remove A Song From Apple Music

When using Apple Music, there are two main ways to remove a song from your library:

  • Deleting the downloaded song file
  • Removing the song entirely from your Apple Music library

Deleting the download will remove the song file from your device’s storage, but the song will still show up in your Apple Music library. This means you can download it again anytime if you want to listen offline. Removing a song from your Apple Music library deletes it completely, so it will no longer appear in your library at all across any devices.

As explained on Apple’s support forums, deleting the download only removes the local file, while removing from your library deletes the listing from iCloud Music Library everywhere. The key difference is whether the song still remains available for streaming and re-downloading later from Apple Music.

Checking Your Apple Music Subscription Status

Before removing songs from your Apple Music library, you’ll first want to check your Apple Music subscription status. This allows you to confirm that you are actively subscribed to Apple Music. If your subscription has lapsed, the steps for removing songs will be different.

To check your Apple Music subscription status on an iPhone or iPad:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on your name at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap on “Subscriptions”.
  4. Look for Apple Music in the list of subscriptions.
  5. Confirm that the status says “Active” and shows a renewal date.

If you do not see an active Apple Music subscription, then you will need to re-subscribe to use the streaming service. Without an active subscription, downloaded Apple Music songs cannot be played and will be removed from your library automatically.

You can manage and update your Apple Music subscription directly within Settings. For complete details, visit Apple’s support article on viewing and updating your Apple Music subscription.

Removing Downloaded Apple Music Songs

One way to remove songs from Apple Music but keep them in your library is to delete the downloaded versions. This will remove the song downloads while retaining the songs in your Apple Music library for streaming.

To delete downloads in the Apple Music app on your iPhone or iPad:
1. Open the Apple Music app.

2. Go to Library and tap Downloaded to see your downloads.
3. Find the song, album, or music video you want to remove. Swipe left on it and tap Delete Download.

You can also delete multiple downloads at once. Tap Edit in the upper right while viewing downloads. Then tap the minus icon next to songs or albums to select them. Tap Delete when you’ve chosen what to remove.

This will remove the downloaded song files from your device storage while keeping the items available for streaming in your Apple Music library. Just make sure iCloud Music Library is enabled to keep your library intact.

Removing Apple Music Songs from Library

One way to remove Apple Music songs from your library while keeping them in the Apple Music catalog is by using the song menu option. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the Apple Music app and go to Library.
  2. Find the Apple Music song you want to delete. Tap on the 3 dots next to the song title.
  3. A menu will pop up – tap on Delete from Library. This will remove the downloaded song from your library and device storage while keeping it in your Apple Music catalog to stream.

This is useful if you want to remove a song from taking up space on your device but still have access to stream it whenever you want. The song will remain in your Apple Music library online. You can always re-add and download it again later if you change your mind.

Just be aware this does not delete the song from your iCloud Music Library if you have that enabled. For that, you would need to take additional steps covered later. Overall, the song menu provides a quick way to selectively remove Apple Music content from your local device storage.

Removing Multiple Apple Music Songs at Once

If you want to delete a large number of Apple Music songs all at once, you can create a smart playlist to easily find and remove them.

Here is how to batch delete Apple Music songs using a smart playlist:

  1. Open the Music app and select Library at the bottom.
  2. Tap Playlists, then New Smart Playlist.
  3. Under Match Music, select Apple Music.
  4. You can further refine the playlist by choosing additional criteria like genre, year, artist, etc.
  5. Tap Done to create the smart playlist containing all your Apple Music songs.
  6. With the playlist selected, tap Edit > Delete Songs.
  7. Confirm that you want to remove the downloaded Apple Music songs from your library.

This will quickly delete all the Apple Music tracks meeting your criteria. Just be sure to check the playlist first to confirm it found all and only the songs you intend to remove.

Smart playlists make it easy to find and manage batches of songs in your library based on rules you set. By selecting just Apple Music content, you can efficiently clear out large amounts of songs that are taking up space.

Important: iCloud Music Library

The iCloud Music Library is an Apple service that stores all your Apple Music songs, purchases, and personal audio files in the cloud. This allows you to access your entire music library from any device logged into your Apple ID.

When you delete a downloaded Apple Music song from your device, it gets removed from that device but still exists in your iCloud Music Library. So if you re-download it or stream it again, the song will reappear because it’s stored in the cloud.

To permanently remove an Apple Music song from your library, you need to delete it from your iCloud Music Library. You can do this in the Apple Music app by swiping left on the song and tapping “Delete from Library” [1]. This will delete the song entirely from your account.

Disabling iCloud Music Library means only songs purchased through iTunes or uploaded manually will be in your My Music library. Anything exclusively from Apple Music will no longer be accessible when iCloud Music Library is turned off.

So in summary, deleting an Apple Music song from a device doesn’t remove it from your account unless you specifically delete it from your iCloud Music Library.

Re-Adding Deleted Apple Music Songs

If you’ve deleted a song from your Apple Music library that you want to re-add, you can search for it again in the Apple Music catalog and add it back to your library. Here are the steps to find and re-add songs you’ve deleted:

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with the latest version of iOS, open the Apple Music app. Tap on the Search tab at the bottom and search for the song name and artist. When you see the song appear in the results, tap on it.

On the song page, tap on the + button to add the song back to your library. The + button may appear either on the top right corner of the page, or next to the Heart button on the song page.

You can also re-add deleted songs on a Mac. Open iTunes, go to the iTunes Store section, and search for the song. When you find it, click the + button next to the song to add it back.

The song will re-download from Apple Music and be restored to your library. This allows you to recover deleted songs as long as they are available in the Apple Music catalog.


Using iTunes To Delete Apple Music Songs

Another way to remove Apple Music songs from your library is by using the iTunes desktop app. Here are the steps to delete songs in iTunes:

  1. Open the iTunes app on your computer.
  2. Go to the Music section by clicking on the Library tab in the top left and selecting Music.
  3. Navigate to the Songs section to view all the tracks in your library.
  4. Right click on any Apple Music song you want to delete and select ‘Delete’ from the menu.
  5. Click the ‘Delete Song’ button to confirm the deletion.

This will permanently remove the song from your iTunes library. The song will no longer appear in your library or playlists. However, it will still be available to stream or re-download from Apple Music if you have an active subscription.

To delete multiple Apple Music songs at once in iTunes, you can select multiple tracks, right click and choose ‘Delete’. This is an efficient way to remove a large number of Apple Music tracks from your iTunes library.

Just keep in mind that any playlists containing the deleted songs will now have missing tracks. You may need to remove or replace those songs in your iTunes playlists after deleting.

What Happens To Playlists and Downloads

When you remove a song from your Apple Music library, it will also be deleted from any playlists it was added to. Playlists in Apple Music are dynamic, meaning they pull songs from your library rather than containing static song files. So if you delete a song from your library, it disappears from playlists as well.

The effect on downloads depends on your Apple Music subscription status. For subscribers, any downloaded songs that are deleted from your library will also be removed from your device storage. Non-subscribers who purchased songs can delete them from the library while keeping local copies on their device storage.

If you want to remove a song from playlists but keep it in your library, you’ll need to manually remove it from each playlist instead of deleting it from the entire library. Open the playlist, swipe left on the song, and choose Remove. This takes it out of the playlist but not your general music collection.

Overall, removing an Apple Music song from your library also deletes any downloaded copies and takes it out of playlists. Purchased songs can be deleted from the library but kept locally. And you can selectively remove songs from playlists without deleting them from your library.

Alternative Ways To Remove Songs

If you want more control over removing songs from your Apple Music library without affecting your iCloud Music Library, there are some alternative options using third party apps or editing the XML library directly:

Some third party apps like SongShift, Tune Sweeper or Stamp allow you to manage your Apple Music library and playlists separately from your iCloud library. This gives you more granular control to delete Apple Music songs without removing them from iCloud.

For even more control, you can directly edit the XML library file itself. The Apple Music library data is stored in a file called iTunes Library.xml. By connecting your iPhone to your computer and accessing this file, you can edit the library XML to selectively remove only Apple Music content. However this method is more technical and could cause problems if not done properly.

Overall these alternative options give you more ways to customize and manage your Apple Music library separately. But they require third party apps or technical expertise. For most everyday users, working within the Apple Music and iCloud Music Library ecosystem is simplest, even if it provides less flexibility to separately manage different music sources.

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