If you subscribe to Apple Music or iTunes Match, you can use Apple’s iCloud Music Library. As long as you’re signed into the same iCloud account, the feature lets you sync your music library across up to 10 Apple devices. But there are reasons why you might not want your songs synced to iCloud Music Library. In this article, I explain why – and explain how you can disable it if you wish.
Although convenient, iCloud Music Library also has its quirks. In effect, it matches and replaces the songs or albums you already have on your device with a high-quality version from the Apple Music streaming library (if available). This process may result in incorrect metadata, missing album art, and matching the bad song. Users also complained in forums that the feature was confusing and accidentally deleted files from their devices. And that also means you’re forced to listen to your music on Apple devices.
Another thing to keep in mind: iCloud Music Library is not the same as having a backup of your offline files. This is because, like most streaming services, Apple Music files are DRM encrypted, which means they are linked to your Apple ID. So even if you can build up a sizable library, you won’t own one of the tracks – and it will become inaccessible if you ever choose to cancel your subscription.
If you bought a new iPhone, iPad, or Mac, iCloud Music Library syncing is turned on by default. For tons of people, that’s not really a major issue, and the convenience can outweigh the inconvenience. But if you’ve spent years cultivating your own music library, or aren’t committed to sticking with Apple Music long-term, you might want to turn this feature off from the get-go.
So, without further ado, here’s how to stop iCloud Music Library from syncing with your devices.
On your iPhone and iPad:
- Go to Settings.
- Scroll down and select Music.
- Press the Synchronization library toggle to turn off iCloud Music Library.
- You will then be notified with a warning that this will remove all Apple Music content and downloads from your iPhone music library.
- Faucet Switch off.
On your Mac:
- Open the Apple Music application.
- From the top menu bar, select Preferences from Music menu.
- Go to the General tab.
- In the Library section, uncheck Synchronization library.
- Click on OKAY.
On a PC:
- Open iTunes.
- Select Preferences from Edit menu.
- In the General tab, deselect iCloud Music Library. (You’ll only see this if you subscribe to Apple Music or iTunes Match.)
- Click on OKAY.
Photography by Victoria Song / The Verge