When you delete a playlist on Apple Music does it delete the songs?

Quick Answer

No, deleting a playlist on Apple Music does not delete the songs from your library or Apple Music. The songs will still be available in your library and the Apple Music catalog. Deleting a playlist only removes the playlist itself, not the songs in the playlist.

Does Deleting a Playlist on Apple Music Delete the Songs?

When you delete a playlist on Apple Music, it does not delete or remove the songs that were in that playlist from your library or Apple Music. The songs themselves remain in your Apple Music library and account.

Deleting a playlist simply removes the actual playlist, which is just a collection or group of songs you have added. The songs themselves remain available for you to add to other playlists or listen to individually.

So you don’t have to worry about losing access to any songs when you delete an Apple Music playlist. The songs stay in your library and Apple Music’s catalog.

Playlist Deletion Only Affects the Playlist

Playlists on Apple Music function much like playlists in a traditional music player or app. They allow you to customize and organize selections of songs from your library or Apple’s catalog.

When you delete a playlist, you are simply removing your custom organization and grouping of those songs. The songs themselves remain available to you.

Think of it like creating a playlist on a CD player or MP3 player. If you delete a playlist you’ve made from those songs, it doesn’t delete or remove the actual song files themselves from the device. The songs are still there for you to access.

Playlist deletion works the same way on Apple Music. It only affects the playlist itself, not the availability of the songs in your library or Apple’s catalog.

Songs Are Not Tied to Playlists

Playlists are useful for organizing and customizing groupings of songs, but the songs themselves are not dependent on being in a playlist.

The songs exist on their own in your Apple Music library and Apple’s catalog. When you add songs to a playlist, you are not moving them or tying them solely to that playlist. You are simply referencing or pointing to those songs in a custom organization.

So when you delete that playlist, it does not break the songs’ connections to your library because the songs were never solely tied to the playlist in the first place. The reference or pointer to them is removed, but the songs themselves remain intact and available.

Think of it like creating shortcuts to files on your computer. Deleting the shortcut does not delete the original file. The file still exists in its location. Similarly, songs still exist in your library and Apple’s catalog even when a playlist referencing them is deleted.

Apple Music Is a Music Library, Not Linear Playlists

It can be helpful to remember that Apple Music is structured as a music library, not solely as linear playlists. Although playlists are a great feature, the central structure is a catalog of all available songs you can access.

Songs are not bound to playlists on Apple Music. Your library and Apple’s catalog are the main repositories for songs. Playlists simply reference those songs as a custom organization.

So just like deleting a Dewey Decimal reference number in a library catalog doesn’t remove the book from the library, deleting a playlist doesn’t remove the songs from your Apple Music library. It only removes that specific organization.

What Happens When You Delete an Apple Music Playlist

When you actually delete a playlist from your Apple Music account, here is exactly what will happen:

The Playlist Itself Will Be Removed

The playlist title, description (if you added one), and the full sequential order of songs in the playlist will be deleted. You will no longer see that playlist title in your Apple Music library.

Any customization like cover art you added for that playlist will be removed as well. Essentially, everything about the playlist itself will be deleted.

The Songs Will Remain in Your Library

Importantly, any songs you personally added to that playlist from your Apple Music library will still be present in your library. They will not be deleted or removed.

You’ll still be able to access them from the Songs section of your library, search for them, ask Siri to play them, etc. It will be as if they were never added to the now-deleted playlist at all.

The Songs Will Remain in Apple’s Catalog

Similarly, any songs that were in the playlist from Apple Music’s general catalog will still be present and available for you to stream.

If you search for them or browse Apple’s catalog, you’ll find them there just like they were before you added them to the playlist. Again, it’s as if they were never referenced in the deleted playlist.

Any Downloaded Songs Will Stay Downloaded

If you had downloaded any songs from the playlist for offline listening, deleting the playlist does not delete the downloads.

Those downloaded songs will remain downloaded on your device and available for offline listening. Deleting a playlist does not affect downloads. They stay on your device until you manually remove them.

Examples of How Deleting Playlists Works

Here are a few examples to illustrate how deleting an Apple Music playlist does not remove any songs:

Deleting a “Favorites” Playlist

Let’s say you create a playlist called “My Favorites” and add 50 songs to it from your personal Apple Music library. These are songs you’ve added over time – some you purchased, others you uploaded.

When you delete the “My Favorites” playlist itself, those 50 songs will all still be present in your Apple Music library. They weren’t “moved” to the playlist. You simply referenced them there.

You’ll still find them in your library and be able to play them, add them to new playlists, etc. The playlist deletion doesn’t touch them.

Deleting a “Workout Mix” Playlist

As another example, suppose you make a “Workout Mix” playlist and add songs to it from Apple’s general catalog. These could be popular, motivating songs for working out.

When you delete the “Workout Mix” playlist, those songs won’t disappear from Apple Music. They were there in the catalog before you added them, and deleting the playlist won’t remove them.

You can still search and stream them like normal. You simply removed your customized playlist referencing them.

Deleting a “Downloaded Songs” Playlist

Finally, consider a playlist you may have called something like “Downloaded Songs” that contains songs you downloaded for offline listening.

When you delete this playlist, it does not remove the downloads. Those songs will still be on your device as downloads ready for offline playback.

The playlist deletion only removed the playlist itself, not the downloads. You’d have to manually remove each download to actually delete the songs from your device storage.

How to Re-Add Songs from a Deleted Playlist

Because playlist deletion on Apple Music does not remove any songs, you can easily re-add songs from a deleted playlist if you want access to that same customized organization again.

Here are a couple ways to go about re-creating a deleted playlist if you change your mind:

Check Your Recently Added Playlist

If the deleted playlist was relatively new, check your “Recently Added” smart playlist on Apple Music. This automatically generated playlist contains songs you’ve recently saved to your library.

Any songs you recently added to the now-deleted playlist should still be there. You can add them to a new playlist manually to re-create it.

Browse Your Library or Apple’s Catalog

Browse through your full Apple Music library or Apple’s catalog to find songs that were in the deleted playlist. You can search for them, scroll through library sections, or use Siri.

Once you find them, add them to a new playlist to build it back up. This may take some time but allows recovering any playlist.

Use a Third-Party App (If You Have One)

Some third-party apps that work with Apple Music, like CeDiscord or Marvis Pro, cache your playlist and library data. Check if you have one installed.

You may be able to recover the full deleted playlist from the app and recreate it using that cached data. This makes re-adding any lost playlist much easier.

Start Small and Build It Up Gradually

For playlists with lots of songs, consider starting a new replacement playlist with just a few songs. Add to it gradually over time until you’ve filled it back up. This prevents having to add hundreds of songs manually all at once.

Can You Recover a Deleted Apple Music Playlist?

Because Apple Music doesn’t keep archived playlist data, there is no direct method to recover a deleted playlist through Apple. However, you do have a few options to attempt recovering a playlist:

Use a Third-Party App as Mentioned

If you used an Apple Music third-party app that caches metadata, check there for any archived versions of the playlist and restore it through the app. This would provide a full playlist recovery.

Check Any Backups You Have

If you do full device backups via iTunes or similar software, you may be able to find archived playlist data in a backup and restore just the playlist metadata.

You Can Slowly Rebuild It

As covered earlier, you can manually search for songs that were in the playlist over time and gradually reconstruct it. It takes effort but often works to rebuild a lost playlist.

Contact Apple Support

You can try reaching out to Apple Support to see if they have any internal archival metadata they can restore a deleted playlist from. There is no guarantee, but they may be able to help recover it.

Does Deleting an Apple Music Playlist Delete it Forever?

When you delete a playlist from Apple Music, it is deleted permanently and can’t be easily recovered through Apple’s interfaces. However, with third-party apps or your own data backups, recovery is sometimes possible.

Here’s some more detail on whether playlist deletion is permanent:

No Archived Playlists Through Apple Music

Apple Music does not have a built-in way to archive or access your deleted playlist data. Once you delete a playlist, as far as Apple Music is concerned, it’s gone for good.

You Could Rebuild It Manually Over Time

As covered previously, you can search and re-add songs to manually rebuild a deleted playlist. It takes effort but can reconstruct playlists deleted from Apple Music.

Third-Party Apps May Have Archived It

If you use a smart Apple Music third-party app that caches metadata and playlists, check there. Many cache prior versions of your playlists, allowing restored playlists thought to be permanently deleted.

Backups Could Have Archived It

Similarly, a full backup of your device via iTunes or similar software may have archived playlist data that you can restore. But standard Apple Music backups likely won’t include this.

Contact Apple Support to Check

Reaching out to Apple Support to see if they have any internal archived playlist data or backups is another option. However, Apple Music deletes playlists fully after user deletion.

So deleting an Apple Music playlist could be permanent without backups or third-party apps. But there are ways to recover or reconstruct playlists manually if needed.

Should You Delete Apple Music Playlists?

Overall, feel free to delete Apple Music playlists as you see fit to curate your library. Just keep these tips in mind:

It Won’t Delete Songs

Importantly, remember that deleting a playlist does not delete or remove any songs in that playlist. They’ll all still be available to you.

It May Be Hard to Recover Full Playlists

Also, keep in mind Apple Music does not archive deleted playlists. Rebuilding them later takes effort unless you use third-party apps.

You Can’t Recover Deletions via Apple

Apple does not provide a way to recover or restore deleted playlists through their official interfaces. You’d have to contact Apple Support and hope they can help.

Back Up Playlists You Want to Keep

Consider backing up full playlists you don’t want to risk losing via trusted third-party apps or full device backups through iTunes.

It Can Help Clean Up Your Library

Deleting stale playlists you don’t use anymore can help declutter your library and keep it organized with playlists you actually use.

So feel free to delete any Apple Music playlists as needed. Just be careful with playlists you want to keep, back them up, and remember deleting them won’t delete the songs themselves.


Deleting a playlist in Apple Music only removes the saved playlist itself – not any of the songs that it contained. Those songs will all still be available in your Apple Music library and account. Deleting playlists is a safe way to clean up and organize your library.