What if you accidentally purchased a song on iTunes?

Quick Answers

If you accidentally purchase a song on iTunes that you did not intend to buy, there are a few options available to you:

  • Request a refund – You can request a refund from Apple within 90 days of the accidental purchase. This is the easiest option.
  • Gift the song – If you don’t want to request a refund, you can gift the accidentally purchased song to someone else.
  • Keep the song – Since it’s already purchased, you can just keep the song in your library even though it was an accidental buy.

The key is acting quickly if you want a refund, as Apple’s policy limits refunds to 90 days from the transaction date. Follow the steps to request a refund and Apple should reverse the charges.

How Refunds Work for Accidental Purchases

If you act within 90 days of an accidental purchase, Apple will typically issue a refund upon request. Here’s an overview of how the refund process works:

  • Request the refund directly from Apple – This can be done online or by contacting iTunes Support.
  • Provide proof of accidental purchase – Apple may ask for details like when and how the accident occurred.
  • Receive refund – If approved, Apple will issue a refund to the original payment method used to buy the song.
  • Time limit – Refunds are generally limited to purchases made within 90 days.

The refund completely reverses the charge so that it is like the accidental purchase never happened. Apple aims to make the process straightforward as long as the request comes in within the allowed timeframe.

Using iTunes Support to Request a Refund

One way to request a refund for an accidental iTunes purchase is to contact iTunes Support directly. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to the Contact iTunes Support page at https://support.apple.com/contact
  2. Select iTunes Store for the product type and click Continue
  3. Select Request a Refund for the reason and click Continue
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts to connect with an agent and explain your situation
  5. Provide any details the agent requests about the accidental purchase
  6. If approved, the refund will be issued to your account

Connecting with an iTunes Support rep allows you to explain what happened and expedite the refund process. In some cases they may be able to issue an immediate refund during the call or chat.

Requesting a Refund Online

In addition to contacting iTunes Support, you can also request a refund entirely online in just a few quick steps:

  1. Open iTunes and go to the Account menu option
  2. Click on Purchase History
  3. Locate the accidental purchase in your history
  4. Click Report a Problem next to the song
  5. Select Accidental Purchase for the reason
  6. Click Request Refund

Following these steps initiates Apple’s review process for the refund request. You’ll receive an update on the status via email within a few business days.

What Happens if You Miss the 90 Day Window?

Apples refund policy limits refunds to purchases made within 90 days. So what happens if you miss that window and try to request a refund later on?

Unfortunately Apple is unable to offer refunds past the 90 day period, even for accidental song purchases. The refund exception is designed to be a short term safeguard, not an indefinite guarantee.

If you contact iTunes Support about a refund after 90 days, they will verify the date of purchase and then inform you that the timeframe has expired. At that point your only option is to keep the accidentally purchased song in your library.

Here are two situations where the 90 day limit can pass quickly:

  • Unused gift card balances – If an accidental purchase is made using gift card funds, you may not notice until the next time you redeem the gift card. By then the 90 days may have already elapsed.
  • Songs purchased on old devices – If you buy a song on one iPhone then upgrade to a new one, you may forget about the accidental purchase for more than 90 days.

The takeaway is that you should review your iTunes purchase history periodically and address any issues promptly. Set calendar reminders if you think you may forget. Catching mistakes early maximizes your chances of getting a refund.

What Happens to the Accidental Song Purchase?

If you request and receive a refund for an accidentally purchased iTunes song, what happens to the song itself? Here are the effects on the content:

  • Removed from library – The song will be removed from your iTunes library after the refund.
  • Playback disabled – You will no longer be able to play the song or access the downloaded content.
  • Charge reversed – The full amount you paid for the song will be refunded to your payment method.
  • No effect on device storage – The song file itself may remain stored on your device but it will be unplayable.

Essentially the refund process resets everything as if the accidental transaction never happened. The only exception is if you choose not to delete the inactive song file from your device’s storage.

If for any reason the song remains accessible after you receive a refund, contact iTunes Support so they can disable it. You don’t want to be charged for it again in the future.

Checking Purchase History

To confirm that a refunded song is removed from your library and purchase history:

  1. Go to your iTunes Account Page
  2. Select Purchase History
  3. Sign-In if prompted
  4. Locate the item in your history

If the refund was processed correctly, the song should no longer be listed or display as refunded. That confirms it is fully cleared from your account and library. Contact Apple if you still see it listed as a valid purchased item.

Can You Get Refunds for Song Gifts?

If you buy an iTunes song gift for someone else by accident, can you get a refund? The short answer is yes, the same 90 day policy applies.

However, there is an extra step involved. Since gift purchases are credited to someone else’s account, Apple has to issue the refund to the gift recipient.

Here is how the refund process works for accidental iTunes song gifts:

  1. Contact iTunes Support within 90 days of gifting the song
  2. Explain that the gift purchase was accidental
  3. Provide the gift recipient’s email address
  4. Apple contacts the recipient to confirm they did not redeem the gift
  5. Once confirmed, Apple issues the refund to the recipient
  6. The recipient can then choose to refund you the amount directly

The key thing to remember is that only the recipient can technically request the refund from Apple. Work directly with them if possible so you can submit the request using their account credentials.

Inheriting an Accidental Gift Purchase

What happens from the gift recipient’s perspective if they receive an accidentally purchased song?

Even if the gift sender requests a refund, the recipient is still free to redeem the song for their own use if they want to. The steps are:

  1. Go to iTunes on a desktop computer
  2. Under Account, select Check the iTunes Store for gifts
  3. Click to redeem any available song gifts

Once added to their library in this manner, the recipient retains the content. The refund simply reverses the charge to the original purchaser. So accidental gift recipients can essentially inherit the content for free if they want.

Asking the Recipient to Pay You Back

After refunding an accidentally purchased iTunes gift, you might want to request that the recipient pays you back directly. Here are some tips for doing so tactfully:

  • Explain it was an honest mistake so you had to request the refund from Apple.
  • Note that they can still redeem the song for free if they want to.
  • Say you would appreciate them paying you the cost since it was a gift in spirit.
  • Recommend sending payment electronically or gifting you an iTunes gift card code.
  • Offer to accept installments if the amount is large.

Being upfront but polite gives the recipient context for why you are asking to be paid back after getting a refund. Provide reimbursement options and flexibility to maintain a good relationship.

Handling a Refusal to Pay You Back

If the recipient refuses to reimburse you after keeping an accidental iTunes gift song, here are some tips:

  • Accept that the money may be lost – Nothing can force them to pay.
  • Consider it an expensive mistake – Chalk it up to experience for next time.
  • Avoid aggressive requests – This could damage the relationship.
  • Reconsider future gifts carefully – You may want to modify your gifting approach with them going forward.
  • Let go of resentment – Dwelling negatively won’t help the situation.

Getting angry or insistent usually fails to recover the costs. Try to move on knowing you learned to be more careful with iTunes gift purchases.

Alternative Ways to Handle Accidental Purchases

Requesting a refund from Apple is the best approach for iTunes accidental purchases. But two other options exist if you prefer:

Gift the Song

Instead of getting a refund, you can gift the accidentally purchased song to another iTunes user. Here’s how:

  1. Go to iTunes Purchase History and locate the song
  2. Click the … button next to it then choose Gift
  3. Enter the recipient’s email address and optional message
  4. Click Gift to complete the transaction

This writes off the mistake by passing the song to someone who may want it. Just confirm they redeem the gift or it could cause problems later when requesting a refund.

Keep the Song

Since it’s already paid for, you can just accept the accidentally bought song into your library if you want.

Reasons to consider keeping it:

  • You have no one in mind to gift it to
  • It’s from a genre you enjoy anyway
  • You don’t want to deal with requesting a refund
  • It was an inexpensive single song

Evaluate the song title, artist, genre and cost to decide if it’s worth keeping. Chalk up inexpensive mistakes as random new music discoveries.

Ways to Prevent Accidental iTunes Purchases

To avoid buying songs by mistake in the future, here are some best practices:

Enable Purchase Confirmations

In your iTunes account settings, turn on the feature to always request your password before purchases. This adds a confirmation step to prevent impulse buys.

Avoid Saving Payment Info

Entering your password each time acts as a deterrent. Don’t save credit card info to iTunes so it’s never just a one-click process.

Turn Off Automatic Downloads

Disable automatic downloading of purchases to your account and devices. This adds a manual step which can prevent some accidents.

Monitor Your Purchase History

Get in the habit of periodically checking your iTunes library and purchase history for any unwanted buys. Address promptly.

Limit Access for Children

Don’t give kids open access to your iTunes account on their devices. Set restrictions and input your password for purchases.

Beware of Tapping Buttons

Carefully read any prompt before tapping OK or Accept so that you know you aren’t confirming a buy.

Following these tips will help you avoid accidental iTunes charges. But if one still occurs, just request a refund within 90 days.


Accidentally buying songs on iTunes happens to many users occasionally. The good news is that Apple’s 90 day refund policy enables you to reverse mistaken charges if caught early enough. Contact Apple Support, watch your purchase history, and enable purchase confirmation requirements to minimize accidents. Consider the alternatives of gifting or keeping any songs you fail to get refunded. With the right precautions, you can enjoy iTunes without the frustrations of accidental buys.