What to do if iCloud Music Library kills iTunes music

Apple’s iTunes transition isn’t going quite as well as the move to Intel chips


Apple has engaged in several key transitions, from AIM to Intel, from Mac OS to OS X, but it seems the biggest challenge it has faced is in the migration from iTunes to Apple Music, with multiple reports claiming libraries of music have been destroyed. Here are some ways to address these problems.

Symptom: You are using iTunes/Apple Music on Mac and iPhone. When you turn on iCloud Music Library on your Mac the metadata becomes confused (you might see incorrect album art, or play incorrect tracks).

It is possible your library data has been corrupted – but that repair is quite simple….

Here’s what to do:

  • Close iTunes
  • Navigate to your iTunes folder (User name>Music>iTunes)
  • Look for the iTunes Library.itl file in here. (Rename it by placing the word ‘corrupt’ at the front.)
  • Open the Previous iTunes Libraries folder and select the most recently created .itl file.
  • Drag this from the Previous folder into the main iTunes folder and rename it as iTunes Library.itl (Your system will then recognize this as a reference file.)
  • Launch iTunes
  • Your music library should be restored.

One more thing: Don't accept iCloud Music Library or the problem will recur.

Symptom: You may have previously cancelled an iTunes Match subscription and now your music library shows incorrect artist, song and artwork details in iTunes Match or Apple Music.

The fix

“Repairing your song details requires that we clear your iCloud Music Library, correct the details in your iTunes library on your computer, and then add the songs back to your iCloud Music Library. This process doesn't affect iTunes Store purchases” Apple warns.

To rectify the problem you will need to repeat some steps on every computer and iOS device you use with Apple Music or iTunes Match.

Step One


  • Launch iTunes and sign in with your Apple ID and password
  • On a Mac, launch iTunes Preferences
  • Under the General tab deselect the option for iCloud Music Library and click OK to accept the change.

iOS device

  • Access Settings>Music
  • Turn off iCloud Music Library.

Step Two

Update all your systems to the latest version of iTunes

Step Three

  • Reset your iCloud Music Library on one of your computers.
  • Launch iTunes and sign in
  • On the Mac choose Account>View Account
  • At the bottom of the page click Reset in order to reset iCloud Music Library
  • You will be asked to delete all of the music and playlists stored in your iCloud Music Library, check “I understand” and click Reset.
  • You’ll then be asked to confirm the step by selecting Reset Now
  • Once your iCloud Music Library has been reset you should Quit iTunes.

Step Four

Now you must restore your music library on all your computers:

On a Mac:

  • Press and hold Command and Option while launching iTunes (Control and Shift on a PC)
  • iTunes will let you know it is running in Safe Mode, when it does you must choose Restore Library.
  • You’ll be asked to select Restore Library again and should do so.
  • It is important not to switch off your computer, quit iTunes or let your system Sleep while the restore process takes place.

Step Five

All your systems should now offer the correct library. More suggestions.

If you have had problems with iTunes, you should contact Apple to let them know.

These problems do not affect everybody (not at all), though it remains a little disappointing Apple's cloud service transition is not without friction – that’s an ongoing challenge the company must resolve, given the importance of cloud service in future tech.

Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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