Why can’t I see my playlists on iTunes?

If you are having issues seeing your playlists on iTunes, there are a few quick troubleshooting steps you can try to resolve the problem.

Check Your iTunes Version

Make sure you are running the latest version of iTunes. Apple frequently releases updates to fix bugs and improve performance, so having an outdated version could cause problems with playlists not displaying properly.

To check your version on a Windows PC, open iTunes and click Help > About iTunes. On a Mac, click iTunes > About iTunes. This will display your current iTunes version. Visit www.apple.com/itunes/download to download the latest version if needed.

Update Your Apple Device Software

If you use iTunes to sync playlists to an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, make sure you have updated to the latest iOS version on that device. Press Settings > General > Software Update on your Apple device to check for and install any available updates.

Updating to the latest iOS can help resolve syncing issues that may prevent playlists from appearing correctly in iTunes.

Sign Out and Back In to iTunes Store

Signing out of the iTunes Store and then signing back in can help refresh your account connections and get playlists showing again in iTunes.

To sign out on a Windows PC, click Account > Sign Out. On a Mac, go to Store > Sign Out.

After signing out, sign back in with your Apple ID and password. Once your account reestablishes connection, check if your playlists are now visible.

Enable iCloud Music Library

If you use Apple Music or subscribe to iTunes Match, enabling the iCloud Music Library option can help playlists sync correctly across devices.

In iTunes, go to Edit > Preferences > General and check the box for “Show Apple Music”. Then click OK. Next, go to Account > View My Account and turn on iCloud Music Library.

This will sync your Apple Music content across devices using iCloud. Recheck iTunes after enabling this to see if it restores your playlist visibility.

Authorize Computer

If iTunes is not authorized to play purchased content on your computer, this could interfere with playlists appearing properly.

Check the Authorizations section under Account > View My Account. Make sure the computer you are using is authorized. If not, de-authorize any computers you no longer use, then authorize your current computer.

You can authorize up to 5 computers connected to your iTunes account. Authorizing your computer verifies your iTunes Store purchases and subscriptions, which helps playlists show correctly.

Restart Computer and iTunes

After trying the other troubleshooting steps, a simple restart of your computer and iTunes can often resolve playlist issues like this.

Completely close iTunes and shutdown your computer. After 1-2 minutes, restart your computer and launch iTunes again. This clears out any temporary glitches that may be preventing playlists from displaying properly.

Reconnect Sync Device

If your playlists are synced from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, try disconnecting the device from your computer then reconnecting it.

Eject the device from iTunes, unplug it, then plug it back in. Open iTunes, connect to the device again, and check if playlists are now visible. Reconnecting the syncing device can clear up index or cache issues that affect playlist visibility.

Check Playlists on Device

Make sure the playlists you want to see in iTunes are actually present on your syncing device. Open the Music app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and confirm the playlists exist there and are not empty.

If playlists you created are missing from your device, they will naturally not show in iTunes either. Recreate any missing device playlists and sync again.

Enable Playlists in iCloud

For iOS devices, check that you have enabled playlists to sync through iCloud. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud on your iPhone, iPad or iPod.

Make sure you have toggled on the switch for “Playlists”. With this enabled, any playlists you create or edit on your device will sync to iCloud and be visible in iTunes during subsequent syncs.

Reset Sync History

Resetting your sync history erases your device’s sync data and caches a fresh copy from iTunes. This can resolve issues with playlists or music not appearing after syncing.

To do this on Windows, open iTunes with your device connected. Hold SHIFT and click the Sync button. Check the box for “Reset warnings” and click Sync.

On Mac, hold OPTION and click Sync. Select the option to “Erase and Sync” when prompted. This will reset sync data and copy content fresh from iTunes.

Show iTunes Media Folder

Check that your iTunes media folder containing playlist files is not hidden. This folder must be visible for playlists to show up in iTunes.

Go to Edit > Preferences > Advanced and make sure “Show iTunes Media folder” is checked. Rescan for new files after unhiding this folder to make playlists visible again.

Check Playlists Folder

Examine the actual iTunes media folder on your computer to see if playlist files are present. This folder will be named “iTunes” by default and located where you designated during iTunes setup.

Navigate to the iTunes\Playlists folder. If playlist files are missing, they were likely deleted accidentally. You can recreate missing playlists in iTunes and resync.

Consolidate Library

If your music files and playlists are scattered across your computer, consolidating your library can help iTunes relocate and sync everything properly.

Go to File > Library > Organize Library to consolidate. iTunes will copy all media content into your designated iTunes media folder so it can find everything. This often fixes issues with missing playlists.

Disable iCloud Music Library

If enabling iCloud Music Library caused your playlists to disappear from iTunes, try turning it back off.

In iTunes on your desktop, go to Account > View My Account > iCloud Music Library and disable the option. This reverts your iTunes library to a locally stored version that may contain your playlists.

Check iTunes File Permissions

On a Mac computer, system file permissions could prevent iTunes from accessing playlists stored in the iTunes media folder.

Get info on the iTunes folder by right-clicking it and selecting Get Info. For permissions, make sure the option for “Ignore ownership on this folder” is checked. This enables all users to access playlists.

Create New macOS User

If file permissions are disallowed on your main Mac user account, creating a fresh user profile can reset the permissions to defaults.

Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups to add a new user. Log in to this new account and test if playlists are now visible in iTunes.

Restore from Backup

If all else fails, you can restore your iTunes library and playlists from a previous backup.

Within iTunes on Windows, go to File > Library > Restore Library. On Mac, choose File > Restore Library. Select the desired backup file to restore playlists and music.

Make sure you have a current iTunes backup that contains your missing playlists before attempting a restore.

Contact Apple Support

If you cannot get your playlists to show in iTunes after trying these troubleshooting steps, you may need further assistance from Apple.

Contact Apple Support online or by phone to get help from a live representative. Be prepared to provide details about your issue as well as iTunes version, devices, and operating system.

Apple’s technicians can walk through additional checks to determine why your playlists are not visible and offer other potential solutions to restore your playlists.

With some dedicated troubleshooting, you should be able to get your iTunes playlists showing properly again. The key steps are checking your iTunes and device software version, authorizing your computer, enabling iCloud Music Library, and ensuring key folders are visible and contain playlist files. Resetting sync history and consolidating your library can also help get playlists back. If needed, restore from a backup or contact Apple. With these techniques, you can get iTunes working smoothly again and access all your playlists.


Playlists not showing in iTunes can be frustrating, but this issue is usually fixable with some targeted troubleshooting. Key things to check are your iTunes version, device software version, computer authorization, iCloud settings, file permissions, and visibility of the iTunes Media folder contents. Resetting sync history, consolidating your library, and restoring from backup provide more options if playlists remain missing. With the right combination of software updates, cloud sync adjustments, file checks, and resets, you should be able to get your iTunes playlists back quickly.

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