Apple on Friday confirmed to iMore that a very small number of users have reported seeing issues with iTunes removing their locally-stored music library. The company has yet to be able to reproduce the error, but plans to release an update to iTunes next week in hopes of fixing this issue and reducing customer confusion. A spokesperson for Apple told iMore:
In an extremely small number of cases users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission. We're taking these reports seriously as we know how important music is to our customers and our teams are focused on identifying the cause. We have not been able to reproduce this issue, however, we're releasing an update to iTunes early next week which includes additional safeguards. If a user experiences this issue they should contact AppleCare.
This confirmation comes after a concerned designer blogged that Apple Music was deliberately deleting music files and replacing them with DRM-encumbered copies, and our follow-up about a potential bug in iTunes that may have been to blame.
I'll note that because Apple has yet to reproduce the issue, we still don't know for sure what caused this mass deletion — whether it's a bug with iTunes or elsewhere. Regardless, this is not deliberate behavior on the part of Apple Music or the company, and I'm glad to see the company reaching out to affected users; I'm also hopeful that the forthcoming iTunes update will also address accidental music deletion from a primary music library by changing the wording on the download removal dialog box, or another similar step.
iTunes and Apple Music are far from perfect, and any steps the company takes to improve the software and service are welcome ones.