Why does Apple keep deleting my playlist?

Having your carefully curated Spotify or Apple Music playlist randomly deleted can be incredibly frustrating. As a music lover, you likely spent hours customizing that playlist and adding your favorite tracks. So why does this happen, and what can you do to prevent it?

What Causes Playlists to Be Deleted?

There are a few potential reasons why your Apple or Spotify playlists may be disappearing:

  • Syncing Issues: If you have the same playlist synced across multiple devices, syncing conflicts can occur which leads to tracks being removed.
  • Corruption: Sometimes playlist files become corrupted which can result in access issues or content being erased.
  • Accidental Deletion: It’s possible you or someone else who uses your account may have accidentally deleted the playlist.
  • Service Errors: Occasionally bugs or glitches in Apple Music, Spotify or iCloud can lead to playlists being lost.

How to Recover Deleted Playlists

If your playlist has mysteriously vanished, don’t panic yet. Here are some tips for trying to recover it:

Check Recently Deleted Playlist

Both Spotify and Apple Music have a “Recently Deleted Playlist” section that stores any playlists removed within the past 30 days. Check to see if your missing playlist is in this section and recover it.

Restore from Backup

Playlists synced to an external device or cloud storage may still exist in a backup. Connect to the backup source and see if you can locate and restore the playlist.

Use Playlist Recovery Software

Specialized software like iMyFone TunesFix, Fonelab, iSkysoft Toolbox can scan your devices and accounts to find lost playlist files and recover them.

Contact Apple or Spotify Support

Reach out to the music service’s customer support team for assistance recovering your playlist. They may have additional tools to locate lost playlist files.

How to Prevent Playlist Deletion

To avoid having playlists deleted again, here are some prevention tips:

  • Limit Syncing: Having the playlist on fewer devices reduces sync conflicts.
  • Backup Regularly: Manually back up your playlists to local storage or the cloud.
  • Avoid Corruption: Don’t abruptly disconnect devices while syncing playlists.
  • Use Accounts Judiciously: Log out of shared devices to avoid accidental deletes.
  • Update Software: Keep software updated to avoid bugs and glitches.

Recovering Deleted Songs

If the playlist itself is intact but some individual songs are missing, you may still be able to recover them:

  • Restore from Recycle Bin: On computers, check the recycle bin for deleted files.
  • Resync Device: Syncing again may restore missing tracks.
  • Re-add Songs: You can search for the song titles and re-add them.
  • Repurchase Songs: For purchased songs, you can often download them again.

Using iCloud to Restore Playlists

For iOS devices, iCloud provides an option to recover deleted playlists. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud.
  2. Under Apps Using iCloud, toggle on Music.
  3. Tap on Music near the top of the screen.
  4. Check under Playlists to see if your deleted playlist is listed. If so, tap to re-download it.

Why Apple Music Keeps Deleting Downloaded Music

In addition to playlists disappearing, some users report Apple Music repeatedly deletes downloaded songs. There are a few reasons this can happen:

  • Music licensing rights have expired, forcing songs to be removed.
  • You’ve reached the maximum number of offline downloads allowed.
  • The app is trying to conserve storage space on your device.
  • Sync issues are interfering with downloaded tracks.

Adjusting download settings, updating software, and removing unused files can help prevent this issue.

Troubleshooting Tips for Deleted Playlists

If you’re struggling to recover a deleted Apple or Spotify playlist, some general troubleshooting tips include:

  • Update the app and operating system software, as corruption bugs may be fixed.
  • Log out then back in to force a clean re-sync of libraries.
  • Double check alternate locations like external drives for backups.
  • Browse the app’s forum for users reporting similar issues.
  • As a last resort, manually re-building the playlist from scratch remains an option.

Preventing Playlist Deletion on iPhone

On iPhones specifically, there are some steps you can take to avoid playlists being accidentally lost:

  • Disable “Remove Download” option: This prevents manual deletion.
  • Turn off iCloud Music Library: Stops remote changes from syncing.
  • Make playlist available offline: Downloaded versions won’t disappear.
  • Create backup iTunes library: Provides a safety net if needed.

How iTunes Accounts Can Impact Deleted Playlists

For iTunes users, the Apple ID account you use can also be a factor in playlist deletions:

  • Check account security: Hackers could delete playlists maliciously.
  • Beware time machine restores: Can revert libraries to older versions.
  • Ensure Apple Music membership is current: Limits access issues.
  • Avoid duplicate accounts: Causes sync conflicts between libraries.

Why Playlists Disappear on iPhone

On the iPhone specifically, some extra reasons you may encounter disappearing playlists include:

  • Outdated iOS version with bugs
  • Storing music on iPhone storage instead of cloud
  • Enabling then disabling iCloud Music Library
  • Allowing offline listening for too many songs
  • Restoring iPhone from a backup

Updating your iOS software, limiting offline song downloads, and using consistent iCloud settings can help avoid issues.

Software Bugs That Can Impact Playlists

In some cases, playlist deletion may result from problems with software versions on either iOS devices or Mac/Windows computers. Some known bugs include:

  • iOS 13.5.1: Caused music library sync issues
  • iTunes 12.9: Corrupted playlists for some Windows users
  • macOS Catalina 10.15.4: Produced Apple Music streaming errors
  • iOS 12.9.5: Contained Music app crashing bugs

Checking app release notes for mentions of playlist bugs and keeping all software updated can help minimize these problems.

Troubleshooting Spotify Playlist Deletions

For Spotify users facing playlist deletion issues, some tips include:

  • Check sync settings: Change to sync to only 1 device.
  • Re-enable offline mode: Downloads songs again.
  • Update Spotify app: Fixes known bugs.
  • Clear Spotify app cache/data: Clears corruption.
  • Contact Spotify support: They can investigate issues.

Restoring Deleted Playlist Using iCloud Backup

If you have an iCloud backup available, you may be able to restore a deleted Apple Music playlist by following these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups.
  2. Select the desired backup and tap Restore.
  3. Your iPhone will be restored to the state saved in that iCloud backup.
  4. Once complete, your playlist may reappear in the Music app.

This can rescue playlists as long as the backup was created after the playlist already existed.

Contacting Apple Support for Assistance

If you continue struggling to recover your deleted Apple Music playlist, contacting Apple Support provides another option. Here are some tips for reaching out:

  • Check the Apple Support site for playlist/Music troubleshooting tips first.
  • Use Apple Support on Twitter for faster responses.
  • Be prepared to provide playlist details like title and song count.
  • Note any troubleshooting steps you’ve tried already.
  • Request they escalate the issue if needed to recover playlists.

With sufficient details, Apple can often use internal tools to restore lost playlist files in many cases.

Using Playlist Recovery Software

Special software designed to recover deleted playlists can be very effective when all else fails. Some top options include:

iMyFone TunesFix

TunesFix quickly scans iOS/iTunes devices and finds residual traces of lost playlists. It rebuilds the playlists automatically based on your existing music library files. Both iTunes and App Store versions available.


Fonelab claims capability to recover playlists lost due to deletion, device damage, sync errors, and more. Works for iOS, Android, and MP3 players. 30-day money back guarantee offered.

iSkysoft Toolbox

Toolbox has a dedicated “Playlist Recovery” module that restores deleted or lost song playlists from iPhone, iPod, iTunes, and iCloud backups. Also repairs corrupted music libraries.

Trying dedicated recovery software can successfully restore playlists when normal methods fail. The apps above offer free trials to test out.

Comparing Spotify vs Apple Music Playlist Deletion

Spotify Apple Music
Reasons for playlist deletion Sync conflicts, offline usage limits, corruption iCloud and iTunes syncing issues, corruption, accidental deletion
Recovery options Restore from backup, contact support, re-create manually iCloud and iTunes backups, Recently Deleted, 3rd party software
Prevention tips Disable sync, limit offline songs, update app Disable iCloud Music Library, reduce offline songs, create backup

While playlist deletion can happen on any service, Apple Music users tend to have more options for recovering their lost playlists through backups and recovery apps.

Should You Pay for Apple Music If Playlists Keep Disappearing?

One fair question that arises if you’re plagued by playlists disappearing from Apple Music is whether the service is worth paying for in that scenario. There are a few considerations:

  • Troubleshoot further: Make sure the issues are recurring and not just one-off glitches before canceling.
  • Consider Spotify: See if migrating your library to Spotify resolves playlist stability.
  • Request refund: You can ask for a partial refund for lost access due to deletes.
  • Wait for fixes: Software updates may resolve underlying bugs.
  • Compare value: Do the wider benefits of Apple Music still outweigh this annoyance?

Constant playlist deletions would reasonably frustrate any user. But there may still be ways to troubleshoot or work around the issues before abandoning Apple Music entirely.

Key Takeaways

  • Playlists can disappear from Apple Music and Spotify due to sync conflicts, corruption, accidental deletion, and software bugs.
  • You can recover deleted playlists from iCloud or iTunes backups, Recently Deleted sections, or with dedicated recovery software.
  • Preventative measures involve limiting syncing, creating backups, updating software, and managing offline song limits.
  • Contact Apple or Spotify support if you can’t self-resolve playlist deletion issues.
  • Consider software, account troubleshooting, and ultimately whether Apple Music retains value before canceling.