Having music suddenly disappear from your Apple Music library can be incredibly frustrating. There are a few potential reasons this could happen, and some steps you can take to try to get your music back.
Quick Overview of the Issue
When music disappears from Apple Music, it typically means the songs are no longer available in the Apple Music catalog. This can happen for a variety of reasons:
- The record label or artist has removed the album or specific songs from Apple Music.
- There are licensing restrictions preventing Apple from continuing to offer the music in your region.
- There was an error syncing your library between devices that caused songs to become unavailable.
- Your Apple Music subscription expired, causing your access to songs to be removed.
The good news is that even if songs disappear, there are steps you can try to get your music back. Keep reading for troubleshooting tips and solutions.
Music Removed by the Label or Artist
One of the most common reasons music disappears from Apple Music is that it has been removed from the catalog by the record label or artist. Apple Music, like other streaming services, licenses music from rights holders like record labels, distributors, and indie artists.
If the label or artist pulls their music from Apple, it will no longer be available to stream. This often happens when an artist switches record labels or distribution deals. For example, Taylor Swift removed her albums from Spotify and other services in 2014 after switching from Big Machine Records to Universal Music Group.
When an entire catalog or certain albums are removed, all Apple Music subscribers lose access. There is little Apple itself can do in these cases – the removal is at the discretion of whoever owns the music rights.
What to Do if Music is Removed
If you notice an album or collection of songs disappeared because the label or artist withdrew it, here are a few things you can try:
- Check if the music is available on other streaming platforms like Spotify. If not, the rights holder likely intends for the music to be unavailable for streaming currently.
- Purchase the music you want through the iTunes Music Store or another digital retailer. Purchased songs will remain in your personal library even if they disappear from Apple Music.
- Add the music back to your library from a personal file on your computer. Any songs uploaded to your iCloud Music Library will stream to Apple devices.
- Check back periodically to see if the artist or label adds the music back to Apple Music.
Unfortunately there is no way to restore removed music solely through Apple Music. But purchasing songs or adding personal files enables you to continue listening on Apple devices.
Regional Licensing Restrictions
Another cause of disappearing music is licensing restrictions preventing Apple from offering certain songs or albums in your country or region. Record labels and artists often limit where their music can be streamed based on copyright grounds or business reasons.
For example, many Beatles albums are currently unavailable on any streaming platforms in China. Certain K-pop acts restrict their music to South Korean streaming services only. If you travel or move to a new country, you may lose access to music restricted in that region.
Getting Region-Blocked Music Back
With region-blocking, these steps may help restore access to music unavailable in your area:
- Use a VPN service to make it appear you are streaming from a different country. Set your virtual location to a country where the music is available.
- Create an Apple Music account in a region that has the songs, and switch between accounts. Note this violates Apple’s terms of service.
- Download the songs through another source and add the files to your personal library.
Unfortunately Apple must comply with regional licensing rules. Aside from workarounds like VPNs, the only option is waiting to see if the restrictions change in future.
Syncing Errors Between Apple Devices
If you use Apple Music across multiple devices like iPhones, iPads and Macs, syncing errors may cause music to disappear from libraries. This typically happens when the sync between devices fails or becomes mismatched.
For example, you may remove a downloaded album from your iPhone to save storage space. If the change does not sync properly to other devices, those devices behave as if the album was removed entirely from your Apple Music account.
Issues like incorrect syncing, delayed syncing and corruption during transfers can all cause music to disappear between Apple gadgets. Thankfully these problems are usually fixable.
How to Fix Syncing Errors
To resolve music disappearing because of failed syncs, try these troubleshooting tips:
- Make sure all devices are connected to the internet to enable proper syncing.
- Check that the Apple Music app is installed and up to date on all devices.
- Restart any devices experiencing missing music issues.
- Disable and re-enable syncing for your Apple Music library in your iCloud settings.
- Log out then back into Apple Music and iCloud on affected devices.
Most sync mismatches resolve on their own or after a restart. But if issues persist, contact Apple support for help investigating potential causes.
Apple Music Subscription Expired
If your Apple Music subscription ends because you cancelled or failed to renew, you will lose access to the full streaming catalog. This immediately makes any saved or downloaded music unavailable.
Without an active subscription, Apple Music enters an “offline mode” with limited functionality. You can only play music already in your device’s library, but nothing can be streamed or downloaded.
Reactivating your subscription is the only way to restore full Apple Music access after lapsing. Make sure to check your billing details and renewal status in your Apple account settings.
What Happens When Your Subscription Lapses
Here is what you can expect if your paid Apple Music membership expires:
- Music you added to your library will still appear, but be greyed out and unplayable.
- Downloaded songs remain playable, but you cannot re-download.
- You’ll be unable to stream any music or video content.
- New music and curated playlists become unavailable.
- You can only listen to songs already on your device storage.
Essentially Apple Music goes to a “read-only” mode, until you renew your account. Be sure to occasionally check your subscription status under your Apple ID account page.
How to Get Apple Music If Subscription Lapses
Here are your options to restore full Apple Music access:
- Renew your subscription – This immediately restores your library and streaming. You can renew directly in the Music app, or via your Apple account.
- Start a new trial – Non-subscribers can get a 3-month free Apple Music trial. Your previous library should reappear if you use the same Apple ID.
- Subscribe with different account – Set up Apple Music with a new account to get a fresh 3-month trial and rebuild your library.
As long as you resume an active subscription, your music library and downloaded songs should repopulate after a short while. Be sure your devices are connected to the internet to enable full syncing and access.
Preventing Apple Music Disappearing Issues
While you cannot always prevent music removal or licensing issues, there are things you can do to avoid common problems:
- Download favorites – Downloading albums and playlists for offline playback ensures you always have access to your top tracks.
- Keep backups – Occasionally back up your Apple Music library and playlists using a tool like iMazing.
- Set reminders – Use calendar alerts for when your Apple Music renewal is coming up to avoid accidental lapses.
- Update apps/devices – Regularly updating iOS, macOS and the Music app helps resolve bugs that can cause issues.
While disappearing music is annoying, careful subscription management and library backups give you the best protection.
Music disappearing from Apple Music typically comes down to licensing and rights management. When record labels, artists or Apple’s own licensing deals cause music to be removed or restricted, there is little individual users can do aside from finding alternative access methods.
Syncing issues between Apple devices are also a common cause of music temporarily vanishing. Thankfully these problems can often be resolved by restarting, re-syncing and general troubleshooting.
The most preventable cause of disappearing music is letting your Apple Music subscription inadvertently lapse. Set calendar reminders and periodically check your account status to ensure you have an active membership.
While music disappearing can be frustrating, solutions like purchasing songs, using VPNs, backing up libraries, and re-downloading missing tracks can get your playlists humming again.