Sunday 4 December 2016

Apple Music deletes user's entire library - here's how to stop it happening to you

Cara McGoogan

Published 06/05/2016 | 15:31

Year-old Apple Music service to get a new look this summer
Year-old Apple Music service to get a new look this summer

People signed up to Apple Music have reported that Apple has deleted their music libraries, replacing the content with Apple Music versions of tracks.

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One user recently opened iTunes to find all of their music had been deleted - not just from iTunes, but also from their hard drive. James Pinkstone, an author for the blog Vellum Atlanta, claimed to have lost 122 GB of music files from his laptop after he subscribed to Apple Music.

Pinkstone's music was replaced with Apple Music versions of the files, which he could stream through Wi-Fi and save offline to his devices.

He was appalled to find that some of the Apple Music tracks weren't the same as his original files. For example, a rare recording of Fountain of Wayne's "I'll do the driving" was replaced with a widely available one.

Apple had also deleted music that Pinkstone had composed, converting the WAV files into MP3 or AAC formats before uploading them to the iCloud Music Library.

To make matters worse for Pinkstone, when a user unsubscribes from Apple Music they can access the files, online and offline, for just 30 days before losing access completely.

The "iCloud Music Library is turned on automatically when you set up your Apple Music Subscription," read the Apple iTunes Terms of Use. "When your Apple Music Subscription term ends, you will lose access to any songs stored in your iCloud Music Library."

Luckily for Pinkstone, he had backed his music up to an external hard drive.

How Apple Music works

It is important to note that Apple doesn't automatically delete its users' libraries on their primary Apple device when they sign up for Apple Music. Your primary Apple device would be the Mac computer or hard drive where your store your music collection.

It will however remove your original files from your secondary devices, such as iPhones and iPads.

Once you've signed up to Apple Music, gone are the days of connecting your phone to your computer and transferring files across. Instead, Apple now matches tracks in a user's library with its streaming catalogue and sends those files through the cloud to secondary devices.

Users can then stream tracks over Wi-Fi or 3G, or save them for offline listening. If users have tracks in their library that Apple can't pair with any of its own, the service uploads them to the individuals' iCloud Music Library so they can access them across devices.

Apple has been known to replace one version of a song with another in its pairing process while Apple doesn't support WAV files, so will convert tracks to AAC before moving them to the library.

How to make sure Apple doesn't delete your music

There are a couple of ways that Pinkstone could have ended up losing his library: it could have been caused by a bug, he could have mistakenly given Apple permission to delete his music and replace it with Apple Music versions, or he may not have had his laptop registered as his primary Apple device.

In order to avoid the same thing happening to you, try these safeguards:

1. Back up your music to an external hard drive

2. Make sure Apple knows the computer with your music library is your primary device

3. When deleting tracks from iTunes don't select "Remove Download" as this will delete the file from your computer's hard drive

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