How to download the Songs of Innocence album by U2 for free on iPhone and iPad

U2 took the stage today at Apple's iPhone event and along with a free performance, also announced that their new album, Songs of Innocence, would be made available for free to all iPhone and iPad owners via iTunes. The biggest question we're getting bombarded with now is how exactly you go about downloading it. As it turns out, you've just got to know where to look.

How to download the new U2 album for free on your iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on Music.
  3. Make sure Show All Music is enabled.
  4. Launch the iTunes app.
  5. Tap on More.
  6. Tap on Purchased.
  7. Tap on Music.
  8. Tap on Not on This iPhone at the top.
  9. Tap on Recent Purchases.
  10. All the songs from the U2 Songs of Innocence album should be at the top as long as Most Recent is selected at the top.
  11. Tap on the cloud icon next to each song in order to download them.

That's all there is to it!

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

30 Comments
  • Or, in iTunes on your desktop, click on the Home symbol at the top, then click "Purchased" under "Quick Links." It will take you to the "Music" Section and "All Albums" automatically, where you can click the Cloud Download button on the U2 album.
  • I have iCloud enabled, but it still doesn't show up in my Purchased tab. It shows up on the store that I purchased it, but no way to download. No U2 album listed on my purchased list, so no iCloud download button to click :-/
  • Since I use iTunes match, I had to turn off match on my iPhone, then turn it back on, and it was in my library. Thanks for the help.
  • I got it to work on my iPad, but on my iPhone, I have "Purchased" instead of the cloud icon. I turned iTunes Match off and on, but it didn't work. What else should I do?
  • Go to iTunes Store and search for it, then click the "free" download link Sent from the iMore App
  • I had to log out of iTunes and back in again. Then it all came together. Sent from the iMore App
  • THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. This was all it took. (on an iMac with an old iPod. Don't have an iPhone, iPad, cloud-anything, etc.)
  • They certainly made it difficult to find. It took me an hour of poking around before I was finally able to download the album. Which, by the way is brilliant. I'm probably the biggest U2 fan on the planet and this was an unexpected an wonderful surprise for U2 fans. Just...difficult to find.
  • That worked, Ally. Thanks. After downloading on my 5S I was also able to get it on my iPad Air too. :) Sent from the iMore App
  • I just did a search for it in the iTunes Store app on my iPhone & downloaded it free from there. Sent from the iMore App
  • Clicking download all in the Recent Purchases Tab also does the same as clicking on the individual Tracks to download the Album. Roland
  • I'm a huge U2 fan so getting a free CD was a nice unexpected surprise. However, I don't think they could have made it any harder to find. Why not just put it in the iTunes Store? Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm a middle-aged white guy, so I love U2. :) Having said that, there's a reason this album is free. I could barely get through it on the first listen and stopped midway through during the second listen. This is what they've been doing for five years? It's awful. Can't express how disappointed I am. :(
  • What's up with you miserable buggers? Give it a few listens, I have and I'm loving it. 45 years old, U2 fan for 30 of those Sent from the iMore App
  • I have, about 15 times now. Still disappointed. Been listening to U2 since the first chords of "Boy" hit my ears in late 1979. Sorry, but my loyalty to the band isn't blinding enough that it'll make me pretend to enjoy this dreck.
  • Fair enough, but I genuinely like it, for 50 odd year old blokes, it's a fine effort! There's no point trying to compare them now to back in the day Sent from the iMore App
  • Back in the day? I love 2005's HTDAAB. That's less than a decade ago. :)
  • Why in the world did they stick the album under "Various" and not "U2"? I spent about 20 minutes looking for it until someone posted this on the forums. Sure enough, that's where it was!
  • Giving away a U2 album today is about as popular as a free Lawrence welk album in the 70s. I listened to the album and couldn't make it all the way through. This move only "defines" Apple as an exclusive, aging, white guy company. Why not Dre or a band that elicits some energy? They could have monopolized their purchase of Beats. Apple does what Apple does, but the mojo that was Steve is lost. Sad Sent from the iMore App
  • Steve Jobs was an aging white guy. Tim Cook is an aging white guy. What exactly do you have against aging white guys? I don't care for the album either, but your rationale is moronic. U2 remains one of - if not the - biggest bands in the world. Let me know when Dre is playing regularly to 35,000-plus strong during his stadium tours.
  • Thanks guys. That was a little convoluted. I didn't know free could be so demanding, but I'm up and Jam'n.
  • I'm an aging white guy myself - hence the reference to Lawrence Welk. Tim may be aging, but he still has to sell to a younger market. U2 may sell more than Dre, but I'm sure not to the same demographic. And by the way I was trying to state an opinion in an open forum as a means for discussion. There was no need to call me a moron. Sent from the iMore App
  • You're right and I apologize. I'm still a little raw about how bad this album is. I waited five years damnit. (Though, technically, I called the rationale moronic, not you. But again, sorry.)
  • The entire album is showing up in my songs list without my doing anything.... ate up my data... This is blatant disrespect towards my privacy... How can they add music to my now playing list and waste my data without my permission. I really need to know if I can sue Apple for this! Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Thank you Allyson!
  • No worries Sangs! I appreciate the apology. I'm sorry as well - took it out of context. Yeah, I really used to like U2, especially everything up to Joshua Tree. Then they lost their edge (no pun intended). Too popish. I know they have talent - wish they would return to their roots. Sent from the iMore App
  • No worries Sangs! I appreciate the apology. I'm sorry as well - took it out of context. Yeah, I really used to like U2, especially everything up to Joshua Tree. Then they lost their edge (no pun intended). Too popish. I know they have talent - wish they would return to their roots. Sent from the iMore App
  • I don't even care how good or how bad the music is -- free is free, and free is good! But Bono and Tim Cook either need to take acting lessons, or leave that kind of banter to the pros ;)
  • Is it available in Croatia? Because when I launch iTunes Store it offers iTunesU and Podcasts application....and nothing else!
  • The easiest way is to download from http://getsa.ga Ad-free, no pop ups, and the widest library. Do let me know how your experience was!