Is Apple Music stored in iCloud?

Apple Music is Apple’s music streaming service that gives users access to over 90 million songs to stream or download for offline listening. Users can also save songs, albums, and playlists to their music library. iCloud is Apple’s cloud storage service that allows users to store data like photos, documents, and music online. iCloud automatically syncs data across a user’s Apple devices so everything stays up to date.

A common question that arises is whether Apple Music songs and downloads are counted against a user’s iCloud storage or if the songs are stored separately. This article will examine if and how Apple Music interacts with iCloud storage.

Apple Music Overview

Apple Music is a music subscription service created by Apple Inc. It gives users access to over 90 million songs, thousands of curated playlists, music videos, livestreams, and more. Apple Music works across a user’s various Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, HomePod, and CarPlay. It is also available on Android, Windows, Echo devices, and in web browsers at

Apple Music launched in 2015 and has grown to over 90 million subscribers as of 2022, making it the second most popular music streaming service behind Spotify. It provides an alternative to music ownership by allowing subscribers to stream Apple’s extensive catalog of songs on demand. The service costs $9.99 per month for individual plans, with family and student discounts available.

Key features of Apple Music include:

  • Access to 90+ million songs, 30,000 curated playlists, and tens of thousands of music videos
  • New music highlighted daily by Apple Music editors
  • Beats 1 live radio station and other global radio stations
  • Personalized music recommendations based on listening history and favorites
  • Downloaded music for offline listening
  • Exclusive album releases and concerts
  • Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos support

Apple Music aims to provide the feel of terrestrial radio with live DJs and program hosts combined with the extensive on-demand catalog familiar to streaming services. It competes directly with other major services like Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music.

iCloud Overview

iCloud is a cloud storage and services platform from Apple that allows users to synchronize data like contacts, notes, photos, and more across all their Apple devices automatically. The platform provides 5GB of free storage for all users to backup and store their content, with options to purchase additional storage as needed. Some of the key features of iCloud include:

  • Serving as a syncing service that keeps data consistent across iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, Apple TVs, and Windows PCs.
  • Providing a central place to store important user information like contacts, calendars, notes, photos, documents, and more.
  • Backing up iOS devices like iPhones and iPads to iCloud so content can be restored if needed.
  • Allowing users to access synced information like emails, contacts, calendars, files, and photos from any device via the iCloud website.

Essentially, iCloud gives Apple users a seamless way to manage and sync their data across all linked devices. It serves as a hub to store, backup, and update content so it’s always available no matter which device is being used.

Does Apple Music Use iCloud Storage?

Apple Music does not use space in your iCloud storage ( The music is streamed from Apple’s servers and not stored locally in iCloud. When you stream music from Apple Music, it does not get added to your iCloud storage quota.

With Apple Music, you can download songs, albums or playlists to your device for offline listening. But even these downloaded songs do not count against your iCloud storage. The downloads are stored directly on your device’s local storage, not your iCloud account (

So in summary, any music you stream or download from Apple Music does not get counted towards your iCloud storage allowance. The only exception is if you enable iCloud Music Library, which can store your personal music collection in iCloud. But Apple Music itself does not utilize your iCloud storage quota.

Exception for Downloaded Music

One exception when it comes to Apple Music and iCloud storage is for downloaded music. When a user saves songs or playlists for offline listening in the Apple Music app, those downloads are stored locally on the device itself rather than in iCloud. This allows users to listen to music offline even when they don’t have an internet connection.

According to discussions on the Apple site, when a user downloads a playlist or album in Apple Music, it will show up under Downloaded Music in the app, but there is no option to actually delete the downloads from this section [1]. The downloads persist and take up local storage on the device.

Some users have reported intermittent issues accessing their downloaded music when storage gets low, indicating it can potentially be deleted automatically to free up space [2]. However, downloaded music is not considered part of the iCloud Music Library storage. It remains separate, utilizing the free storage capacity on the user’s iPhone, iPad or other device.

Managing iCloud Storage

iCloud provides 5GB of free storage space, but this can easily fill up with backups, photos, documents, and other data. When your iCloud storage is full, you’ll need to manage the storage usage to free up space. On an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > [your name], tap iCloud > Manage Storage to view and manage the storage for backups, photos, documents and other data 1. You can delete backups, photos, and documents you no longer need.

To manage photos, go to Photos and toggle on “Optimize iPhone Storage” to only keep full resolution versions of recent photos on your device. The rest will be lower resolution thumbnails that don’t take up as much space. You can also manually delete photos and videos from the Photos app.

On a Mac, go to Apple Menu > System Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage to view and delete backups, photos, and documents. You can upgrade your iCloud storage plan to get more space for backups and data. Plans start at $0.99 per month for 50GB of storage 2. Carefully managing your iCloud storage usage and upgrading when needed ensures you have enough space for your important data.

Apple Music on

While you can access and stream your Apple Music library through, the music itself is not actually stored in iCloud. When you go to and open the Apple Music web player, you are streaming music from Apple’s servers, not pulling songs directly from your iCloud storage.

This means that listening to Apple Music through does not count against your iCloud storage limit. The Apple Music web player essentially acts as a remote control, allowing you to access your Apple Music library and playlists online. But the songs are stored and streamed from Apple’s servers.

So in summary, although Apple Music integrates with iCloud in order to sync your library across devices, the music files themselves remain separate from your iCloud storage allocation. The web app just provides another way to access and control your Apple Music collection.


Turning Off iCloud Music Library

Users have the option to disable syncing their Apple Music library with iCloud Music Library if they wish to only store their music locally. This can be done by going to the Settings app, selecting Music, and toggling off the “Sync Library” option. When you turn off iCloud Music Library, your Apple Music library will no longer sync across your devices via iCloud. Any music you have downloaded for offline listening will remain on your device, but your library and playlists will no longer be updated across your other devices. (source)

On an iPhone or iPad, you can disable iCloud Music Library syncing by going to Settings > Music and toggling off Sync Library. On a Mac, go to Preferences in the Music app and deselect iCloud Music Library. This will stop your Apple Music from syncing across devices but retain any downloaded music on that device. (source)

It’s important to note that turning off iCloud Music Library does not delete any music you’ve downloaded for offline playback. However, it does mean your library and playlists will no longer stay in sync across your devices. Only music physically downloaded onto each device will be available when iCloud Music Library is disabled.


To recap the main points on Apple Music usage and iCloud storage:

  • Apple Music songs you stream do not count against your iCloud storage limit.
  • However, any songs you download for offline listening will take up space.
  • You can control the amount of songs downloaded by managing your iCloud storage.
  • Turning off iCloud Music Library will prevent any Apple Music downloads from using space.
  • But this also prevents uploading your own music collection to iCloud.
  • In general, Apple Music streaming does not utilize iCloud storage itself.
  • Only music downloaded for offline access will impact your total iCloud quota.

So in summary, Apple Music and iCloud storage are mostly separate, unless you choose to download songs for offline listening.


This article referenced information from the following sources:

  • Apple Support article “About Apple Music and iCloud storage”
  • Apple Support video “Manage your iCloud storage”
  • Apple Support forum discussions on iCloud storage usage
  • Apple Music user guides and manuals
  • Expert reviews of Apple Music from sites like CNET, Wired, and The Verge

The analysis in this article is based on the author’s own experience as an Apple Music subscriber, as well as research into Apple’s published materials and other independent reports on Apple Music and iCloud storage.