Where do Apple Music downloads go?

Introducing Apple Music Downloads

Apple Music downloads allow users to save songs, albums, and playlists to their device for offline listening. When a user downloads content from Apple Music, it is saved locally on their device so they can access it without an internet connection. This makes Apple Music downloads ideal for situations like traveling on a plane or subway where internet connectivity is limited. Downloading music for offline listening has become an increasingly popular feature as streaming services have grown. It provides more flexibility and reliability for listeners than relying solely on continuous internet access to stream music on demand. With streaming consuming more mobile data and many places still lacking robust connectivity, downloads remain an essential part of the digital music experience for many users.

According to a study on App Figures, downloads of music streaming service apps grew 50% from 2018 to 2019, indicating strong demand for offline listening capabilities. Apple Music, as the second most popular music streaming service globally, offers robust download functionality to satisfy this need. When users download from Apple Music, it gives them a seamless listening experience across multiple devices, while still upholding artist copyrights and compensation. Downloading songs also allows users to access and manage their music library even if they eventually cancel their Apple Music subscription.

Where Downloaded Songs are Stored

Apple Music allows you to either stream songs directly from the internet or download them for offline playback. Streamed and downloaded songs are stored in different locations on your device.

Streamed songs are not actually stored on your device. When you stream a song, your device is playing it directly from Apple’s servers over the internet. Once you stop streaming, the song is not retained on your device.

Downloaded songs are saved locally on your device’s storage. This allows you to listen to them even when you are not connected to the internet. The location where downloads are saved depends on what device you are using:

  • On an iPhone or iPad, downloaded songs are stored in the On My Device section of the Apple Music app. They can be found in the Files app under On My iPhone/iPad > Apple Music.
  • On a Mac, Apple Music downloads are stored in the Music folder under Users/[Your Username]/Music/Apple Music.

So in summary, streaming songs from Apple Music are not stored, while downloaded songs are saved to device storage. This allows offline playback even when you don’t have an internet connection.

The Apple Music Library

The Apple Music library is where all your downloaded and streamed songs are stored and managed. When you download a song for offline listening, it gets added to your Apple Music library and stored locally on your device. Streamed songs also appear in your library, but they are not stored locally.

The Apple Music library automatically syncs across all your devices connected to the same Apple ID. So when you download a song on your iPhone, it will appear in your library on your iPad or Mac as well. This allows you to access your downloaded music seamlessly across devices without having to manually transfer files.

A key difference between downloads and streams is that downloads allow listening offline, while streams require an internet connection. Downloads also appear with a little arrow icon next to them in the library. Apple Music manages these two types of media automatically so your library is always up to date across devices.

Downloading Songs for Offline Playback

One of the key features of Apple Music is the ability to download songs for offline listening when an internet connection isn’t available. This allows you to access your favorite music on the go without using mobile data or relying on WiFi.

To download music for offline playback on iPhone or iPad, simply open the Apple Music app and tap on the download icon (a downward facing arrow) next to any song, album, or playlist you want to save for offline listening. The downloads will be added to your Apple Music library and marked with a green arrow to indicate they are available offline. You can also download entire albums or playlists with a single tap.

On Mac, open the Apple Music app, right click on any song, album or playlist and select “Make Available Offline.” The downloads will appear in your library marked for offline playback.

The number of songs you can download depends on how much storage you have available on your device. Downloads are saved until you delete them, so you don’t need to worry about renewing them.

According to this article from iPhone Life, your Apple Music downloads can be accessed on all your devices as long as you are signed into the same Apple ID. This makes it easy to listen to your favorite offline music across multiple devices seamlessly.

Managing Downloaded Music

You can easily manage your downloaded music in the Apple Music app. To see your downloads, go to Library and tap on Downloaded. From here, you can delete individual songs, albums, or playlists that you no longer want downloaded by swiping left on the item and tapping Delete. This will remove the download while keeping the item in your Apple Music library.

To remove all of your Apple Music downloads and free up storage space, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage, tap on Music, then tap Edit and select “Remove All.” This will delete all of your downloaded music while keeping it available for streaming in your library. You can always re-download items later by going to Library and tapping the iCloud download icon next to music you want available offline.

If you need to manage the size of your downloads, go to Settings > Music and toggle on “Optimize Storage.” This will automatically remove downloaded music you haven’t recently played when your storage is low. You can choose to optimize storage daily or weekly based on your needs.

Downloaded playlists and albums will show a download icon you can tap to see detailed storage usage and individual track download controls. This makes it easy to fine tune your music downloads to fit your available storage.

Sharing Downloaded Music

Apple Music allows you to share downloaded songs with others in a few different ways. You can share individual songs or entire playlists from the Music app using apps like Messages, Mail, Facebook, and more. To share a downloaded song, open the Music app and find the song you want to share. Tap the three dots next to the song and select Share Song. This will bring up a menu where you can choose how you want to share it.

You can also enable Family Sharing in your Apple Music account settings to share your entire Apple Music library, including downloads, with up to 5 other people. Family members will be able to stream and download each other’s music without having to pay for separate subscriptions. Learn more about setting up Family Sharing for Apple Music.

However, there are some limitations on sharing downloads. Songs downloaded for offline playback are encrypted with your Apple ID, so you cannot simply send the downloaded audio file to others. They will have to use your Apple Music subscription and download it themselves in order to listen offline. Additionally, Apple’s terms of service prohibit sharing account information to allow multiple people to access a single subscription.

Listening to Downloads on Multiple Devices

One of the major benefits of Apple Music is the ability to access your downloads across multiple devices signed into the same Apple ID account. This allows you to download songs, albums or playlists on one device, like an iPhone, and listen to that downloaded content on another device like an iPad or Mac without having to download it again.

According to Apple’s support site, you can access your entire Apple Music library including downloads on up to 10 devices with the same Apple ID. This includes not just iOS devices like iPhones and iPads, but also Macs, Apple TVs, Apple Watches, CarPlay systems, and HomePods (Source).

To listen to downloads on multiple devices, you simply need to make sure each device is signed into the same Apple ID account and connected to the internet. Your library syncing happens automatically in the background, so any downloads on one device will become available on your other devices after a short period of time.

According to Apple discussions, the only limitation is that you cannot stream the same download on multiple devices simultaneously, likely due to licensing restrictions. But you can download a song on as many devices as you want tied to the same account.

Downloaded Music and iCloud

iCloud plays an important role in syncing Apple Music downloads across devices. When you download a song or album from Apple Music on one device, iCloud automatically syncs that download to any other devices connected to the same iCloud account.

For example, if you download an album on your iPhone, that album will also appear in your downloads on your iPad and Mac, provided they are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID. This syncing happens seamlessly in the background through iCloud.

To enable this feature, you need to have iCloud Music Library turned on. This adds your Apple Music library, including any downloads, to your iCloud account so it can be accessed anywhere. To turn on iCloud Music Library, go to Settings > Music on iOS or Preferences > Music on Mac.

With iCloud Music Library active, whenever you download music it gets added to your iCloud library. You can then stream or download that music to any device using the same iCloud account. This makes it easy to listen to your downloads across multiple devices without having to manually transfer files.

One thing to note is that songs downloaded for offline playback have a limit on the number of devices they can be transferred to through iCloud. This is set by the copyright holder. So you may occasionally hit a limit when syncing downloads to all of your devices.

Overall, iCloud Music Library provides a seamless way to access and sync your Apple Music downloads on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and other devices. It’s one of the major benefits of the Apple ecosystem.




Troubleshooting Tips

If you are having issues downloading songs or albums from Apple Music, here are some troubleshooting tips to try:

– Make sure you have a stable internet connection when trying to download music. Downloading requires a consistent network connection. If you are on a spotty cellular network, try connecting to a reliable WiFi network instead (Apple Music songs not downloading).

– Check your iCloud Music Library settings. Go to Settings > Music and make sure iCloud Music Library is enabled. This allows you to access your downloaded music across devices (Apple Music Not Downloading Songs? Fixed! [2024 Guide]).

– Update to the latest version of iOS and the Apple Music app. Apple sometimes releases fixes for download issues in app updates (Can’t Download Songs on Apple Music).

– Log out of Apple Music and log back in. This resets the app and has been known to resolve download problems.

– As a last resort, delete the app and reinstall it from the App Store. Make sure to back up your music first.

If you continue having issues downloading music from Apple Music, contact Apple Support for further troubleshooting assistance.


When you download music from Apple Music, the songs get saved to your Apple Music library and device storage. Downloads make it easy to listen offline when you don’t have an internet connection. The songs stay in your Apple Music library for as long as you remain a subscriber. Downloaded songs don’t count against your iCloud storage. You can download music across devices as long as you use the same Apple ID. Any device sharing your Apple Music subscription through Family Sharing will have access to your downloads too. If you ever have issues playing downloads or syncing them across devices, you can try deleting the songs and re-downloading, turning iCloud Music Library off and back on, or reaching out to Apple support.

Key takeaways:

  • Downloaded Apple Music songs save to your library and device storage
  • Downloads allow offline listening without internet
  • Songs stay in library as long as you’re a subscriber
  • Downloads don’t use iCloud storage space
  • Share downloads on devices using the same Apple ID
  • Troubleshoot by re-downloading or toggling iCloud Music Library