Why is my iTunes item not eligible for iCloud?

iCloud is Apple’s cloud storage service that lets you access your photos, videos, documents, and more from all your Apple devices. When you purchase music, movies, TV shows, books, or apps from the iTunes Store, iCloud can keep your content up to date across all your devices. However, not all iTunes content is eligible for iCloud. There are a few reasons why an iTunes item may not be able to be accessed from iCloud.

Music Purchased with DRM

One of the most common reasons an iTunes item is not iCloud eligible is because it contains Digital Rights Management (DRM). DRM places restrictions on the usage of digital content to prevent unauthorized distribution. Prior to 2009, all music purchased from the iTunes Store contained DRM protection. This prevented the songs from being played on non-Apple devices.

In 2009, Apple announced that music sold on iTunes would be DRM-free. However, any music purchased from iTunes before 2009 still contains DRM and cannot be downloaded from iCloud to non-Apple devices. If you try downloading older music purchases to a new Android phone, for example, you’ll get an error message that the content is not eligible.

To make your pre-2009 music purchases iCloud eligible, you need to remove the DRM by upgrading the tracks. Here are the steps:

1. On your Mac or PC, open iTunes and select the protected song(s) you want to upgrade.

2. Click the Upgrade button in the bottom right corner of the iTunes window. The price per track is 30 cents.

3. Complete the transaction to remove DRM from the selected tracks.

4. Once upgraded, the songs will be DRM-free and can be downloaded to any device via iCloud.

Movies Purchased with DRM

Similar to music, movies purchased from iTunes prior to 2008 contained DRM protection. Movies bought during this time cannot be downloaded from iCloud for playback on non-Apple devices. Attempting to do so will produce an error that the content is not eligible.

To make older movie purchases iCloud eligible, you need to upgrade them by paying an additional fee per movie. Here are the steps:

1. In iTunes, find the DRMed movie you want to upgrade.

2. Right click the movie and select Upgrade to iTunes Movie.

3. The upgrade price is $4.99 for SD quality or $9.99 for HD quality. Complete the transaction.

4. The movie will now be DRM-free and able to be downloaded from iCloud.

Apps No Longer Available on the App Store

Apps that have been removed from the App Store can no longer be downloaded from iCloud, even if you previously purchased them. When an app developer removes their app from sale, it also gets removed from your purchase history.

Some reasons an app may be pulled from the App Store include:

– The developer discontinued the app
– The app no longer meets App Store guidelines
– There are legal issues surrounding the app

If you previously purchased an app that is no longer available, you cannot redownload it from iCloud on other devices. The only way to access is if you already downloaded when it was originally purchased.

Content purchased from non-iTunes stores

Media that did not originate from the iTunes Store is not stored in your iCloud library. For example:

– Music purchased from Amazon, Bandcamp, or ripped from CDs
– Movies purchased from Vudu, FandangoNow or other streaming services
– eBooks purchased from Kindle, Nook, or Google Play Books
– Apps downloaded from third party app stores like Google Play or the Amazon Appstore

Even if you import this content into your iTunes library, it does not get synced with iCloud. Non-iTunes purchases must be manually transferred to each device.

Items purchased with different Apple IDs

iCloud can only share content across devices that is associated with the same Apple ID. If you purchase iTunes items using multiple Apple IDs on the same device, only the content tied to your primary ID will sync via iCloud.

For example, if you buy apps under one ID and music under another, only the apps will be iCloud eligible. To get all content to sync, you need to consolidate purchases under a single Apple ID.

You can change the ID associated with previous purchases by following these steps:

1. On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, go to Settings > iTunes & App Store. Tap your Apple ID at the top of the screen.

2. Tap View Apple ID > Manage Payments. Enter your Apple ID password.

3. Under “iTunes & App Store Purchases” choose Transfer Purchases.

4. Enter the Apple ID you want to transfer purchases to and hit Continue.

Items uploaded to iTunes that weren’t purchased

Any media you didn’t actually buy from iTunes, like CD rips, cannot be downloaded from iCloud. When you upload your own songs, movies, etc to iTunes, it stores that content locally but does not upload it to iCloud. This prevents piracy and unauthorized sharing of content.

To access your uploaded items on another device you need to manually transfer the files or re-upload them. Media purchased directly from the iTunes Store does not have this limitation.

Region locked content

In some cases, items purchased from iTunes are region locked and can only be played or accessed in certain countries. For example, if you buy a movie while traveling abroad it may be region locked to that country.

Region locked items will display an error when you try downloading them from iCloud outside of the intended region. To avoid this, always check if an iTunes purchase has any region restrictions before buying.

Content featuring explicit material

In accordance with App Store guidelines, apps containing pornography, explicit sexual content, real-money gambling, and certain other categories are not permitted on the App Store. Any apps featuring this type of content that somehow get approved and later removed are not eligible to sync via iCloud.

Music and movies featuring graphic content may also get restricted from iCloud syncing after purchase. To prevent issues, make sure to check ratings and reviews of an iTunes item before purchasing.

Workaround Options

If you encounter content that gets purchased from iTunes but doesn’t transfer with iCloud, here are some workarounds:

– For music and movies, re-download the content directly on devices by signing into iTunes with the purchasing Apple ID.

– For apps no longer on the App Store, you may be able to find an archived .ipa file online that can be sideloaded onto devices. This process is complex and typically requires jailbreaking.

– Use third-party apps like iMazing or AnyTrans to manually transfer unsupported iTunes content between devices via USB or Wi-Fi.

– As a last resort, repurchase the content if possible so you can download via iCloud. Be sure to check for availability and regional restrictions first.


iCloud provides an easy way to access iTunes purchases across Apple devices, but it does have limitations. DRM-protected content, items pulled from sale, non-iTunes media, and purchases under multiple accounts are common factors that can prevent syncing. Checking for eligibility and understanding iCloud restrictions before buying can help avoid these pitfalls. In some cases it may require repurchasing, transferring manually, or using a workaround to get unsupported content on all your devices.