Will I lose my music on iTunes?

iTunes is the default media player and library for Mac computers and iOS devices. Many users rely on iTunes to organize and play their music libraries. A common concern is whether you could lose access to music you’ve purchased through iTunes if certain changes occur, like getting a new computer or device.

Quick answers

– You won’t lose music purchased through iTunes as long as you use the same Apple ID when setting up a new device or computer.

– Music purchased through iTunes is tied to your Apple ID account, not a specific device or computer.

– You can re-download past iTunes music purchases at any time through the iTunes Store on a new device.

– Syncing your iOS devices does not transfer purchased iTunes music between devices. You need to use your Apple ID to re-download purchases.

– burning CDs or exporting the files does provide an external backup of your iTunes library, but does not cover all your purchases automatically.

Will I lose my iTunes music if I get a new computer?

If you purchase a new Mac or Windows computer, you will not lose access to any music you’ve previously bought through iTunes. Here’s why:

Music purchases on iTunes are tied to your Apple ID account, not a specific computer or device. No matter what device you are using, you can access your purchased music as long as you sign in with the same Apple ID.

When you set up your new computer, make sure to sign in to iTunes with your existing Apple ID that you’ve used to purchase music. This will link your purchased music library to the new computer.

To double check access, try visiting the iTunes Store on your new computer and go to Account > Purchase History. This will show all previous purchases tied to your Apple ID, which you can download again on the new computer.

Steps to regain purchased music on a new computer

Follow these instructions when setting up iTunes on your new computer to ensure you can re-download any purchased music:

  1. Install the latest version of iTunes on your new computer
  2. Open iTunes and go to Account > Sign In
  3. Enter your existing Apple ID and password that you’ve used to purchase music
  4. Go to the iTunes Store and select Account > Purchase History to view your past purchases
  5. Find music purchases you want to download and select the iCloud icon to download to your new computer

This process links your purchased music to your new computer through your Apple ID. As long as you use the same account, you’ll always have access to re-download any music you’ve paid for through iTunes.

What if I want to authorize a new computer?

If you want to authorize a new computer to play your purchased iTunes music while keeping it on your existing computer, you can do the following:

  1. On your new computer, open iTunes and go to Account > Authorizations > Authorize This Computer
  2. Sign in with your Apple ID and password
  3. On your existing computer, go to Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer

This will allow your new computer access to your purchased iTunes music while removing authorization from the old computer. You can repeat this process to authorize and deauthorize computers as needed.

Will I lose music if I get a new iPhone or iPad?

If you upgrade to a new iPhone or iPad, you will still have access to all of your music purchases through iTunes. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Media syncing does NOT transfer purchased music between devices. You’ll need to re-download purchases to your new device.
  • Sign in to the new device with your existing Apple ID used for iTunes purchases.
  • Go to the iTunes Store app and select Account > Purchase History to re-download any music.

As long as you use the same Apple ID, you can always re-download any music you own onto new devices. Just like with new computers, your purchases are tied to your account, not a specific device.

What if I used iTunes Match?

If you subscribed to iTunes Match in the past, this also provides access to your purchased music across devices. iTunes Match stores your entire music library (including purchased songs) in iCloud. As long as you maintain the same Apple ID and iTunes Match subscription, you can stream or re-download your music library on new devices.

Should I use iCloud Music Library?

Apple’s iCloud Music Library is an optional feature that can help you access iTunes purchases across devices. When enabled, iCloud Music Library stores your Apple Music and iTunes Match content in iCloud and makes it available on all your devices signed into the same Apple ID.

The benefit of iCloud Music Library is that it seamlessly syncs your music across devices so purchased songs are easily accessible on new devices without needing to manually re-download.

To use iCloud Music Library:

  1. Sign in to iTunes on all your devices with the same Apple ID
  2. Enable iCloud Music Library in iTunes settings on each device
  3. Make sure to use a strong WiFi or cellular connection for the initial sync

Once set up, iCloud Music Library automatically stays in sync even when adding new music, so you always have access to your latest purchases. If you disable the service, you revert to manually managing music instead.

Should I subscribe to Apple Music?

Apple Music is the company’s streaming music service that provides access to over 90 million songs for a monthly fee. With an Apple Music membership, you can stream a huge music catalog on demand across your devices without needing to purchase individual songs or albums.

The main benefits of Apple Music include:

  • Stream unlimited songs on demand without purchasing
  • Listen across all your devices signed into your Apple ID
  • Discover new music with personalized recommendations
  • Download songs for offline listening

An Apple Music subscription does not include permanent ownership of songs. If you cancel Apple Music, you lose access to songs you’ve downloaded through the service. But it can provide affordable access to lots of music that complements your permanent iTunes purchases.

Can I burn my iTunes music to CDs?

Yes, you can burn audio CDs of the music in your iTunes library as a way to create external backup copies. Here are some tips for burning CDs of your purchased iTunes music:

  • Insert a blank CD into your computer’s disc drive
  • Open iTunes and create a playlist of music to burn
  • Select the playlist and click File > Burn Playlist to Disc
  • This will burn the songs to a standard audio CD format playable on CD players

Burning CDs can be time consuming for large libraries, and the discs are physical items that can be damaged, lost, or stolen. So it is not a complete backup solution. But it does allow you to store copies of your purchased music outside of your computer as a supplement to digital backups via Apple.

Can I export my iTunes music files?

iTunes does allow you to directly export music files from your library to your computer as a backup. Here is how to export iTunes music:

  1. In iTunes, select a playlist or individual songs to export
  2. Right click and choose Export
  3. Select the folder to save the exported files
  4. Choose MP3 or other audio format
  5. Click Export to copy songs to the designated folder

The benefit of exporting iTunes music is it separates copies of the files that are not dependent on the iTunes software and can be accessed if you no longer use iTunes in the future. But like burning CDs, it still requires you to safely store the exported files.

Exported files do not include DRM protection

Songs purchased from iTunes use digital rights management (DRM) protection tied to your Apple ID. But when exporting music, the copies do not retain the DRM copy protection. This enables more flexible usage but loses the link to your Apple account.

Can I re-download past iTunes purchases?

Yes, Apple allows you to re-download any past music purchases from iTunes in case you lose access to copies of the files. As long as you use the same Apple ID, you can download previous purchases an unlimited number of times.

To re-download purchased music from iTunes:

  1. Go to the iTunes Store and select Account > Purchase History
  2. Find the item you want to re-download and select the iCloud icon
  3. This will re-download the music directly to your computer and iOS devices

Re-downloading does require an active internet connection. And songs may need to be downloaded one at a time. But you have unlimited access to past purchases without needing to pay again.

Set automatic downloads to easily restore music

You can enable automatic downloads in iTunes account settings to instantly download previous iTunes purchases anytime you access a new device or computer. This instantly restores purchased music without needing to manually re-download.

To turn on automatic downloads:

  1. Go to iTunes Store > Account > Automatic Downloads
  2. Turn on “Music” under automatic downloads
  3. This will download past purchases to new computers and devices

Should I be concerned about losing access to iTunes in the future?

Here are some key points about the future availability of iTunes purchased music access:

  • Apple still fully supports iTunes music purchases and re-downloads
  • There are no signs Apple plans to discontinue iTunes music in the foreseeable future
  • If Apple did stop iTunes Store sales, they would still provide access to existing libraries
  • Burned CDs or exported files can serve as independent backups

While the rise of music streaming creates uncertainty about the long term future of media purchases, there is no indication Apple intends to revoke access to previously purchased iTunes music if the service ever discontinued. And you can create separate backups by burning CDs or exporting files as a precaution.

Should I switch to a streaming service?

Streaming Service Benefits Downsides
Apple Music – Access to over 90 million songs on demand
– Seamless syncing across Apple devices
– Personalized music recommendations
– Monthly subscription fee
– Loss of access if you unsubscribe
– Less permanent ownership
Spotify – Over 82 million songs available
– Shared playlists and connections
– Daily personalized recommendations
– Monthly fee for full access
– Ad-supported free tier has limits
– No permanent ownership of songs
YouTube Music – Over 80 million official songs
– Unlimited uploads of personal music
– Ad-supported free access
– Paid tier required for offline listening
– Limited controls and sound quality on free tier
– Does not include video access

Music streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube Music provide instant access to vast music catalogs through a monthly subscription without needing to pay per song. This can complement an iTunes purchased music library.

The main trade off is you no longer permanently own songs and lose access when you end a paid subscription. But streaming can economically expand the music available across your devices when combined with purchases of favorite songs and albums on iTunes.


Purchased iTunes music remains safely accessible even when upgrading computers and devices as long as you use the same Apple ID. While streaming services offer convenient access to more music, iTunes purchases guarantee permanent ownership of your favorite songs and albums.

Manually backing up your library to CDs or exports provides extra reassurance. But Apple has strong incentives to continue providing access to previously purchased music even if iTunes eventually goes away.

Overall, you can feel confident the music you own through iTunes will stay with you even when upgrading your digital life, with steps available to back up your purchases if you ever grow concerned about loss of access.