Why did Apple Music delete my downloaded music?

If you’ve noticed that music you downloaded for offline listening on Apple Music has gone missing, you’re not alone. Apple Music deleting users’ locally stored music is a common complaint, and can be frustrating if you relied on having certain songs or albums available without an internet connection.

What causes Apple Music to delete downloaded music?

There are a few potential reasons why Apple Music may have deleted music you downloaded:

  • Your Apple Music subscription expired – Downloaded music is only available as long as you maintain an active subscription. If your membership lapses, all downloaded music will be removed.
  • You switched devices – Downloads are device-specific. If you download music on one device and then switch to another, those downloads will not carry over.
  • Storage clearing – Apple Music may automatically delete cached songs if your device is low on storage space.
  • App or iOS updates – Major software updates can sometimes erase locally stored music.
  • Music licensing issues – On rare occasions, licensing disputes can cause some songs or albums to be removed from the Apple Music library, including any downloaded copies.

How to prevent Apple Music from deleting downloads

While you may not be able to control when licensing issues force music to be removed, you can take steps to prevent your downloads from disappearing unexpectedly:

  • Maintain an active subscription – Don’t let your membership lapse if you want ongoing access to downloads.
  • Monitor your storage – Keep enough free space on your device so Apple Music won’t auto-delete songs.
  • Back up your downloads – Use a third-party app to back up downloaded music files to your computer.
  • Download over Wi-Fi – Use Wi-Fi for initial downloads instead of cellular data to prevent interrupted transfers.
  • Turn off auto-downloads – Disable automatic download options for playlists and liked songs.

How to recover deleted music

If your downloads are erased, don’t panic. You may still be able to get them back:

  • Restore from backup – If you previously backed up your downloads, restore that content to your device.
  • Redownload – As long as the songs are still in the Apple Music library, you can simply download them again. This may use cellular data.
  • Contact Apple support – Describe the issue and missing content. They may be able to investigate and restore your downloads.

Alternative options for storing music

If you want more control over your music library, consider using these Apple Music alternatives for downloads:

  • iTunes purchases – Buy songs or albums via iTunes instead of subscribing. Purchases are permanently available.
  • Third-party apps – Use an app to store local music files independently from Apple Music.
  • Physical copies – Buy CDs or vinyl records and rip copies to store locally.


Apple Music deleting downloaded content can be disruptive, especially if you have limited data or rely on offline playback. To reduce the chances of losing your music, maintain an active subscription, monitor your storage, backup files, and use Wi-Fi for downloads. If files are erased, redownload when possible or contact Apple support. Purchasing songs or using independent apps can also help prevent issues with disappearing downloads.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Apple Music sometimes delete my downloaded songs?

The most common reasons are your subscription expired, you switched devices, your iPhone is low on storage, or major iOS updates caused downloads to be deleted. Licensing issues may also rarely force specific songs to be removed.

Can I recover songs Apple Music deleted?

You may be able to recover deleted downloads by restoring from backup, redownloading songs if they are still available in the Apple Music library, or contacting Apple support for help.

How can I download music from Apple Music to keep permanently?

To buy and permanently own music from Apple, purchase it through the iTunes Store rather than subscribing to Apple Music. Purchased iTunes content will not disappear as long as you remain logged into your Apple ID.

What happens if I cancel Apple Music?

If you cancel your Apple Music subscription, you will lose access to all downloaded content. Any songs or albums you wish to keep must be purchased separately through the iTunes Store.

Can I use a third-party app to store Apple Music content?

Yes, there are third-party apps that allow you to download and back up songs from Apple Music. This provides an alternate location to store your music library independent of Apple’s servers.

5 Best Practices to Avoid Losing Apple Music Downloads

Follow these tips to help prevent Apple Music from unexpectedly deleting your downloaded music:

Practice Description
Back Up Downloads Regularly back up your Apple Music downloads to your computer or an external hard drive using a third-party app.
Use Wi-Fi for Downloads Use Wi-Fi instead of cellular data when downloading music to avoid interrupted transfers.
Monitor Storage Check your iPhone or iPad storage regularly and delete unused apps/photos to make space when getting low.
Update Apps Manually Turn off automatic app updates and update Apple Music manually after backing up downloads.
Disable Auto-Downloads Turn off auto-download options for playlists and liked songs to avoid unintended downloads.

Understanding Apple Music Downloads

Apple Music gives subscribers the ability to download songs, albums, and playlists for offline playback. Here are key facts about how downloading content works:

  • Downloaded content requires an active subscription – You can only play downloaded music while subscribed to Apple Music.
  • Downloads are device-specific – Music downloaded on one device does not automatically transfer to other devices.
  • Songs are cached locally – Downloads are stored locally on your device’s storage, not in the cloud.
  • Apple manages storage – Apple may delete downloads if your device nears storage capacity limits.
  • Licensing affects availability – Loss of licensing rights can cause automatic removal of affected songs.

Understanding these limitations can set proper expectations and help you take steps to preserve access to your downloads.

Comparing Apple Music to Other Streaming Services

How does Apple Music handle downloaded content compared to other popular music streaming options?

Apple Music Spotify YouTube Music Amazon Music
Downloads require active subscription Yes Yes Yes Yes
Automatic deletion of downloads Yes Yes Yes Yes
Playback of downloads without internet Yes Yes Yes Yes
Local backup of downloads supported No No No No

All major music streaming services have similar limitations on keeping downloaded content available for offline playback. Local backup of downloads typically requires a third-party app solution.

Key Takeaways

  • Apple Music downloads may disappear if you cancel, switch devices, or due to storage limits.
  • Maintain an active subscription and monitor your storage to prevent unexpected deletion.
  • Back up downloads externally or redownload songs if possible when lost.
  • Purchasing songs on iTunes or using third-party apps allows permanent local copies.
  • Follow best practices like making backups and using Wi-Fi to avoid download issues.