Will turning off iCloud music library delete music?

Turning off iCloud Music Library is a common question for Apple Music subscribers who want to cancel their subscription or switch to another streaming service. iCloud Music Library syncs your Apple Music library across your devices, but what happens to the downloaded music when you turn it off? The short answer is no, turning off iCloud Music Library does not delete the music you’ve added from Apple Music or purchased from iTunes. However, it may affect how and where you can access certain songs. Let’s take a closer look at how iCloud Music Library works and what to expect when you turn it off.

What is iCloud Music Library?

iCloud Music Library is Apple’s cloud-based music locker service. It allows you to access your entire Apple Music library including streaming songs, purchased iTunes music, and personal audio files on all your devices. iCloud Music Library scans and matches the songs in your iTunes library to the Apple Music catalog. This allows you to stream or download those matched songs to any device signed into your Apple ID.

Here are some key things to know about iCloud Music Library:

  • Enables access to full Apple Music catalog across devices
  • Syncs music purchased from iTunes or ripped from CDs
  • Uploads personal, unauthorized, or unrecognized songs
  • Downloads and streams matched songs from Apple servers
  • Replaces local iTunes libraries with cloud-based collection

So in summary, iCloud Music Library provides seamless access to all your music by syncing everything through Apple’s cloud servers. Turning it off disconnects your library from the cloud.

Does turning off iCloud Music Library delete my music?

No, turning off iCloud Music Library does not delete any of the music you’ve downloaded or purchased. However, it affects where and how you can access certain songs when the service is disabled. Here is what happens to each type of media when you turn off iCloud Music Library:

Apple Music streaming songs

Any songs you’ve streamed through your Apple Music subscription that have not been downloaded for offline playback will no longer be accessible when you turn off iCloud Music Library. This is expected, since you need an active Apple Music membership to stream its catalog of over 90 million songs.

Downloaded Apple Music songs

If you used iCloud Music Library to download songs from Apple Music for offline playback, these will remain on the device even after disabling the service. So you don’t have to worry about losing any cached Apple Music songs.

iTunes purchases

Songs that you’ve purchased or redeemed through iTunes are yours to keep forever. Turning off iCloud Music Library has no impact on your purchased iTunes content. You’ll still have access to these downloads on the device(s) they are stored on.

Imported or ripped music

Any music you’ve imported from CDs or other sources will also remain safely on your devices. Disabling iCloud Music Library does not affect music you’ve added from your personal collection to your libraries.

Personal uploads

If you’ve used iCloud Music Library to upload songs that weren’t recognized, these will no longer sync across your other devices once you turn it off. However, the originally uploaded files remain safely stored in iCloud. You can download them to a device for offline playback if needed.

So in summary, turning off iCloud Music Library only affects the availability of streaming Apple Music content and your ability to sync libraries across devices. Any music you’ve downloaded, purchased or imported locally will not be lost or deleted.

How to preserve your music if you turn off iCloud Music Library

If you want to keep access to songs synced through iCloud Music Library, here are some tips to preserve your collection before disabling the service:

Download any Apple Music songs for offline playback

Before turning off iCloud Music Library, go through your streaming catalog and make sure to download for offline listening any tracks you want to keep access to. These will be saved locally so you can still listen without an internet connection.

Transfer downloaded Apple Music songs to another device

You may want to copy over any cached Apple Music downloads to an external storage device or another device that will stay synced to your Apple ID. This provides a backup offline copy you can sync to a new device later.

Back up your personal library and playlists

Make sure to create a local backup of any playlists and imported personal songs you have in your current music app library. You can also transfer these to another device for safe keeping before you disable the service.

Download your personal uploads for offline access

Don’t forget to grab any personal tracks you’ve uploaded to iCloud that aren’t iTunes purchases. You can download these to a device before turning off iCloud Music Library so you don’t lose access.

Re-enable syncing on your devices

If you change your mind later, you can turn on iCloud Music Library again and any purchases or downloads will sync across your devices again. Just re-enable it from your Apple ID account settings.

The pros and cons of disabling iCloud Music Library

If you’re still not sure about turning off iCloud Music Library, here’s a quick rundown of some of the pros and cons:


  • Frees up local storage space on devices
  • Less network data usage if you stream a lot
  • Easier to manage music libraries locally
  • Retain permanent offline access to your downloads


  • Lose access to stream Apple Music catalog
  • No more syncing music across devices
  • Harder to access your personal song uploads
  • Difficult to re-download lost Apple Music songs

So weigh the benefits vs. downsides when deciding whether to continue using iCloud Music Library. For most users who rely heavily on Apple Music streaming, keeping the service active is recommended. But local backups give you a safety net if you ever decide to turn it off.

Other questions about iCloud Music Library

Here are some additional common questions about how turning off iCloud Music Library impacts your music:

Does it remove songs from my devices?

No, turning off iCloud Music Library does not delete any music stored locally on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc. All downloaded and imported songs will still be available in your regular music app library.

Can I keep my playlists?

Playlists created and synced through iCloud Music Library will no longer update across devices. But you won’t lose them. You may need to back them up locally and sync manually if you want playlists on multiple devices.

What about iTunes Match songs?

iTunes Match is a legacy, opt-in service separate from iCloud Music Library for matching your library. Disabling iCloud Music Library should not impact songs synced via iTunes Match.

Will my listening history remain?

Your Apple Music listening history and ‘Recently Played’ songs are tied to your account, not iCloud Music Library. Disabling the service will not delete your Apple Music activity data.

Can I re-download Apple Music songs?

If you ever resubscribe to Apple Music, you can go back through previous downloads and stream them again. But you cannot re-download songs from a canceled Apple Music membership.


In summary, turning off iCloud Music Library does not permanently delete any songs from your music collection. Downloaded and purchased music will remain on your devices and can be accessed locally even with the service disabled. However, you may lose access to stream or re-download certain Apple Music content. To be safe, make local backups of all your music before disabling iCloud Music Library. This will ensure you don’t lose access to any tracks if you decide to turn it off.