How to reset iCloud Music Library for Apple Music and iTunes Match

Apple Music library on MacBook Air
Apple Music library on MacBook Air (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

iCloud Music Library lets Apple Music and iTunes Match subscribers store all their music online for easy access on all their devices. But, like all cloud services, there's a small chance something might get borked or messed up along the way. If you're having problems with iCloud Music Library, here's how to reset it so you can enjoy your tracks again.

When do you need to reset your iCloud Music Library?

Are there songs from your collection that got matched to the wrong track? Wrong album art? iTunes 4010 errors? If you've run into any of these, Apple's cloud copy of your music might need to get dumped and resynchronized.

You may also want to reset your library if you're getting matched tracks as "Apple Music" files instead of Matched DRM-free files.

Before you go about doing this, make absolutely sure you have a hard copy backup of your music library on at least one of your Macs: You don't want to reset your iCloud library and end up without songs you've uploaded, purchased, or matched.

How to reset your iCloud Music Library

There are currently a couple of different ways to reboot iCloud Music Library: You can use Apple's update method, or manually remove your songs from iCloud. Both methods currently require iTunes and your Mac to do so; you can't reset iCloud Music Library on your iPhone, though you can turn it off entirely if you so choose.

Option 1: Update iCloud Music Library

  1. Open iTunes.

  1. Click File.
  2. Hover on Library.

  1. Click Update iCloud Music Library.

Apple will then rescan your tracks, and with luck, categorize them appropriately.

Option 2: Manually rescan your iCloud Music Library

If nothing else is working, you can force iCloud Music Library to do a manual rescan by deleting everything in that repository.

Note: If you go this route, your local files won't be affected, but you'll get rid of any Apple Music tracks or albums you've saved to iCloud. Do this at your own risk.

  1. Open iTunes.

  1. Select Music from the dropdown menu on the left side of the iTunes window.

  1. Select the Library tab.

  1. Click on Songs under the left column.

  1. Select all your music in Songs view (use Command-A on the keyboard).
  2. Press the Delete key on your keyboard.
  3. Click on the Delete Items option to remove these tracks from iCloud Music Library. (Do not, under any circumstances, click Remove Downloads — this will move all your local music to the trash, rather than delete songs from iCloud.)

Your iCloud Music Library is now empty, waiting for you to fill it. If you're interested in just resyncing your Mac's library, all you have to do is follow the steps to update iCloud Music Library and wait for the process to finish. If you get a dialog box querying what you'd like to do with songs already on your other devices, choose Replace.

If you'd instead like to keep your main library siloed from iCloud and create a separate iTunes library just for music you'd like to sync with your other devices, you can do so.

How to create a secondary iTunes library

And, of course, if you're sick of iCloud Music Library and you want to avoid using it altogether, you can disable it for your primary iTunes library.

How to enable or disable iCloud Music Library on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad

Did this work? Still having problems?

Bug Apple Support (opens in new tab) and let us know in the comments.

August 2019: Updated for macOS Mojave.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.

  • I am definitely going to try this! I want to be able to use Apple Music on my MacBook Air, but keep my meticulously-tagged 76,000 track iTunes library on an old iMac in pristine condition.
  • Yay, I'm glad you covered this Serenity. Thank you! Although, in the end, the solution for my disastrous library changes was to restore my iTunes folder from a pre-12.2 Time Machine back up and call Apple to have them wipe out my iCloud Music Library data so that when I turn it back on, it won't pull down the bad data again. I'm still waiting for them to let me know I'm good to go. My issue quickly arose last week when album art, artists, album titles, and tracks were all irrevocably changed by bad matching when I turned on iCloud Music Library on my Mac.
  • You're lucky/ unlucky you got that far. Did you sign up for Apple Music, or just Match? I had Match for 2 years, never touched AM. I get this 4010 error. Still waiting on a definitive since the first three things I tried failed, but they weren't as drastic as a new library or a restore. I'm very close to doing a restore. Did you just go for it, or can you link to a step by step to properly rollback with time machine? Thanks. Sent from the iMore App
  • Here is an example of what happens when I add a playlist from under the "For You" tab in Apple Music, and add it to "My Music". The original playlist on Apple Music:
    What happens: This happens for any playlist I add on my Mac through Apple Music, not just weird Phish live tracks.
    It takes MY tracks (if they even vaguely match) to populate the playlist, even if its the wrong version of a given song. Then it changes the iCloud status of those tracks (which I had before Apple Music) from "Matched" or "Uploaded", to "Apple Music". If I delete and redownload them, I get a DRMed version. These are tracks I had ripped from CD independently, which incidentally are higher quality than the 256kbps AAC that Apple provides. Just one example among a myriad of other errors I've been encountering (album art, AHEM).
    I think I'll do what Serenity suggested in the article (option 1, I DO have a backup), until we get some kind of update or until iOS 9 and El Capitan are released and they hopefully fix some of these issues.
  • I have just two tracks that with permanent iCloud statuses of "Waiting." I can download them on my phone but not on my computer. I'm tempted to just buy the songs and be done with it.
  • Thanks, hoping option 2 takes care of all the grayed-out songs on my iphone.
  • I tried to use iCloud music library, but I had the same problem I was getting with iTunes match. I have more than 25k songs, however, I have several thousand songs purchased from the iTunes music store. This brings me under the 25k non music store limit, but I still get the error stating that I have more than 25k songs. This has been a long standing issue, and I know it does not affect many people, but, it would only really affect the people that have spent a lot of money on music from Apple. I would love to use this feature, but, I have never been able to get it to work, even though I had tech support spend hours of time on their side trying to figure it out for me.
  • Hope this works. My Dropkick Murphys music (Irish punk, Samuel Adams beer song) turned into Sunday School songs when iTunes got upgraded to Apple Music! And I agree with Galley's approach below, to be careful. Ever since Apple Music took over, My Music seems much harder to use, and I worry Apple Music is eating up my cellular data instead of playing from My Music when I am driving.
  • Before I try these options-
    Here's my situation, pleas help!
    Had match for 2 years, worked well across multiple computers, my iPhone, my iPad, 3 AppleTVs until 12.2. I am not interested in Apple Music rental service (yet). After iTunes updated itself (I didn't want it to) it asked me if I wanted to use iCloud Music Library. Clicked yes. Asked if I wanted Apple Music; no. Never worked properly since. It worked one morning with tons of errors. It has mostly not worked at all, when I try to Add This Computer (main computer only: 5K iMac), from the two ways I know how, I always get the 4010 "Genius" error. But even if I sign out, turn off / on Genius, then attempt to turn on Match, in any order, I still get 4010, even if Genius on its own completed successfully.
    Here's my variables: this library has cd rips, protected AAC from my early iTunes account (same email address as now, but apple decided to change my ID handle from "durfmobile" to my email address a few years ago), protected AAC from my wife's old account, "purchased" AAC from my account and her new account. All accounts have been authenticated. The library folder lives on ~/users/shared so we can both access the same library (plus the Admin account. We are both standard users. Yes I set permission appropriately), the media lives on my Netgear NAS connected hardwire gigabit via SMB.
    I have also read that with previous versions of iTunes the songs from other-than-he-who-pays-for-Match are the ones screwing it all up, resulting in the 4010 error. I would love to simply remove her songs from the library and try again, but there's no way that I can find to sort by "Purchaser", and since everything is co-mingled, it would take me a millennium to manually go through each song's info panel to see who purchased what. I have actually created a smart list of only her old music based on import date & protected, but I can't delete those songs, only export playlist as .txt or .xml.
    I submitted a ticket to apple but all they sent back was how to turn on match even though I clearly f'n explained specifically how I had attempted to do so numerous times.
    I have a working Time Machine backup from before 12.2, but I'm afraid of what that will screw up, and I'm not 100% sure of what would & wouldn't need rolled back. I assume the library folder, NOT the media folder, any iTunes plists in all user accounts, and the hidden "SC Info" folder in ~/users/shared. Any more? Any less? Any specific order? Any suggestions? Any hope?
    Can any one confirm Serenity's tutorial to work with a similar situation as mine?
    Oh, and the one hour that it was halfway working, every single movie, TV show, and podcast had an ERROR in the iCloud Status column, in addition to a good portion of my ripped songs. What's going on there?
    Thanks! Sent from the iMore App
  • To follow up on my novel-
    I went ahead and rolled back to iTunes - things are better, but not perfect.
    Here's what I did-
    1- I logged out of all standard users accounts, unchecking the "reopen windows" option.
    2- Logged into the Admin account.
    3- Opened the Applications folder, then clicked on Open Time Machine from the menu bar icon.
    4- Went back to July 1 (for me) to find the old version of iTunes. Clicked Restore.
    4a- Got a warning that I can't modify or delete the current version of iTunes.
    4b- googled how to delete iTunes from terminal. Did so.
    4c- Reattempted step 3 & 4. Success.
    5- Restored the iTunes Library folder (this will vary for most people)
    5a- I have my iTunes library folder located here: /Users/Shared/iTunes , but my media is not in there, I have it on my NAS, and I have iTunes set on each account to store media in that location. This way all users access the same library, and the media is not taking up space on my main drive on any of my devices. So for me, restoring that entire iTunes folder didn't take too long, since there is no media in there. You're on your own to figure out which files from that iTunes folder you'll actually need. I would assume the files at that level such as "iTunes Library.itl" etc, not the folders such as "iTunes Media".
    6- Restored /(User)/Library/iTunes
    7- Restored iTunes related preference files in the Admin account, located here: /Users/(User)/Library/Preferences/ -, .
    8- Restarted, for safe measure.
    9- Repeat step 6 & 7 for each user.
    10- Opened iTunes from my (standard) user account, it asked me log in with my iTunes account; did so.
    11- Opened iTunes Preferences, Advanced, unchecked "Check for new software updates automatically". I did this since iTunes updated itself, without me clicking update in the App Store updater.
    12- Double check your settings in iTunes Preferences.
    13- From here I let iTunes attempt to update iTunes Match (I already had it working prior to 12.2) It gave me the same 4010 error, but this time Match stayed active and I was able to even add a new song from Garageband, then right-click, add to iCloud. Worked; is now on my iPhone. But I was still getting a ton of "Ineligible" and "Error" in the iCloud Status column, but upon further inspection, it was only for non-music files, like voice memos and some files that aren't working anyhow due to an iTunes account glitch (my wife's old account). So, that is as expected. The music that should be included in Match is included. For the most part, I'm back up and running.
    So, when that 4010 error comes up, I can basically just ignore it for now, I might try to off / on Genius later.
    14- Repeat step 10, 11 & 12 for each user. (OS X system user accounts)
    I'll wait for a good, known-to-be-stable version on iTunes before I update again. I hope this helps others with similar situations, but as usual with tutorials on the internet- your milage may vary, terms and conditions apply, tastes great, less filling, don't try this at home, swim at your own risk, no skateboarding after dark, buyer beware. Good luck!
  • I forgot to mention-
    Be sure to log out each time you switch users : Only one user logged in at a time. Sent from the iMore App
  • Also, any changes or songs you added to iTunes since your update to 12.2 will be lost. So, I had to add a put a few songs back in place. For me, the files were still there since I didn't touch the media folder, but iTunes had no clue they were there until I re-added them.
    And, if you had issues with Album art going crazy, you might want to Restore that folder as well-
    .../iTunes/Album Artwork
  • I must be lucky: I've only seen a few minor problems easily fixed. Should be interesting to find out what causes all this in some libraries etc.
  • One tip I found, after you delete your iCloud library you need to wait about 30 mins for the changes to propagate across the servers. Sent from the iMore App
  • Apple Music sure seems like a hell of a lot of work to use.
  • Thanks Serenity for the info. Always much appreciated. If following the steps in option 1 and creating a second icloud library what happens when I want to sync my iPhone? Which library will it sync to? I have iTunes Match but haven't turned on icloud music library or apple music. Am cautious about losing playlists and metadata that I have spent years on.
  • Updating to iTunes 12.2 and activating Apple Music has completely wrecked my iTunes Library. It began organizing my music by disc number and removed all of the BPM I had manually entered. Adding music from Apple Music is also hit or miss and the implementation of iCloud Music Library is very confusing and seems very unreliable when syncing with my iPhone 5s. I have begun a clean install of my library and can only hope Apple updates it soon. I also really dislike the changes to the music app on the iPhone. The rearranging of where playlists, albums, songs, etc. is very unintuitive and I have been begging for months (years?) now for an option to hide pictures from the artist, song, and album lists as it makes them way too spaced out and it's unneeded.
  • Has this worked for anyone? I'm considering option 2. I'm not on iTunes 12.2.1 and I'm still having the same issues.
    I think I'm going to go ahead and try it. I made a copy of my current iTunes Library folder, and put it on my NAS for safe keeping. But I'm worried about the unknown that could go wrong.
    After all that crap I wrote above, iTunes updated itself again, I missed a setting in System Preferences > App Store > Automatically Update Apps. And Time Machine decided to delete all but my latest backup and completely stop working, so I can't rollback anymore.
  • That should read, "... I'm NOW on 12.2.1..."
    Anyhow, just wanted to report that this worked for me. I went with option 2. The iCloud status column for most songs is just blank (no solid cloud or check mark or anything), and they are playing fine on my iPhone, etc.
    Thanks a million Serenity!
  • I couldn't get option 1 to work for me, but was successful following option 2. that I got my iTunes Match working again, does that mean I can't use Apple Music to add streaming music my playlists? I thought with the subscription I am suppose to be able to playlist my music and Apple Music streams together?I know I can just stream music, but if I start adding these streaming music to my playlist will that corrupt my iTunes Match syncing again? I am just wondering what is the cause of the 4010. Sorry if I am just catching up. Just need a quick summary if there is one.
  • I don't know why everyone keep connecting this issue to iTunes Match. I never had iTunes Match and still Apple Music got a ton of songs incorrectly because they were Acapella or Instrumental versions of the original tracks. This has nothing to do with having iTunes Match in the past, Apple Music just gives too much weight to the metadata on the song. Even if the song title includes the wording Acapella, Instrumental, or whatever, it will still match it to the album track, sometimes even to the single version of the track which is REALLY annoying. I just deleted iCloud Music Library. I was smart enough to copy-paste my iTunes library before ever turning the service on, because I had a feeling that Apple and Cloud services don't play well together. It's sad that my office Mac won't magically sync my tracks and playlists like before but I'd rather have a correct library once that 5 copies of a messed up library.
  • I had to use Option B as there is no "Reset" for resetting iCloud library, However Option B seems like it shouldn't work either., as this would be the same as signing in, enabling iCloud library, select all music, and delete from cloud. Its just a new library that's it..... or recreated library, as per the instruction, The only other one i think would be this :- However too is not a complete reset. The only true way i know is to create a new Apple ID and sign up for Apple music fresh on new hardware.
  • I had to go with option B. Create a new library. Then turn on iCloud Music Library and delete all songs. Then quit iTunes and restart it using my real iTunes library. As soon as turned iCloud Music Library on again, even though all songs in my iCloud Music Library had been deleted, iTunes started messing up my song ratings again. I should add that I have never had iTunes Match. I love Apple, but iCloud Music Library is a mess.
  • Nope. This didn't work for me at all. I deleted everything in my iCloud Music Library as I explained above, but after deleting everything, even though my library shows nothing, if I disable iCloud Music Library and then click to enable it again, iCloud Music Library loads the songs again. All 32,000+ of them. Even though they were supposedly deleted. I need to find a way to reset my iCloud Music Library the right way, because following the "B" option as explained in the post here didn't work for me. No matter how many times I delete everything in my iCloud Music Library, it's still there.
  • Even with AppleCare paid for it is nearly impossible to get any reasonable technical support from Apple. Even the senior advisers have no clue about iTunes or iTunes match. I've struggled in recent years with a total mess in my windows music folder and iTunes folders. it started out neat and organized the way I added music in the beginning before iTunes and it seems to me each version of iTunes makes the mess from the prior version worse. It came to a head with the introduction of Apple Music this past year when albums appear to be split in half, each song for some albums appeared as a separate album with many albums. Albums went missing in addition many songs are missing from many albums. The worst is the duplicates problem. I have about 30,000 songs. somehow this adds up to 180 GB on my hard drive including iTunes folders. I try to repair it manually but there's no way. It's a tedious job and it doesn't always work when trying to straighten out the albums and folders. The only answer I get from Apple techs is number one they will check with the engineers and get back to me which they never do and number 2 the final answer I got the last time about the problem is just file management and I need to take care of that. I did not make that mess. Apples iTunes and then maybe iTunes match or Apple Music made that mess and there is no way any one human being can fix that many files and folders. If there was a program or an app that would fix it I'd be glad to pay anything for it. But the only programs I see straighten out the iTunes folder but not the missing files that are duplicating all over my music folder itself even within iTunes folder there are duplicates and duplicates and more duplicates. I really could use an answer because I don't have the space to leave 180 GB on my hard drive and because I can't be sure if they are all in my cloud or in iTunes match I am reluctant to do the resets here. Itunes match is a great service when it works but the mess it had made of my computer from iTunes is a disgrace. The even bigger disgrace is the consistency with which Apple either ignores or denies responsibility for these problems. More proof of that is how Apple handled the MacBook screen problems with denials and charging customers for covered repairs until Apple finally stopped fighting the class action lawsuit and very quietly started replacing these bad screens. Shame on Apple sitting on billions of customers money and denying routinely responsibility for most any problems.
  • If anybody is still having trouble resetting their iCloud Music Library, I have a few tips. Don't call Apple - I spent over an hour on the phone to 3 different advisers, they barely know what an iCloud music library is. If you don't have the re-set iCloud music library button (Which I don't think exists anymore) the only way to start a fresh is to manually delete your music as advised in this article. However, if you have a vast music library (mine was about 30,000 songs) when I tried deleting the whole lot it just seemed to reappear after turning icloud music library off and on. I even left it overnight to see if it would update. Eventually I tried deleting about 3,000 songs at a time, turning off icloud music library, quitting itunes, reopening itunes, turning back on icloud music library, verifying they were no longer there, and repeating the process. Sometimes they did not delete. You could try more songs at a time, you may be able to do more but certainly selecting the 30,000 all at once did not work. Once I had deleted everything (which really didn't take THAT long!) I created a completely fresh library and enabled iCloud Music Library - Boom, no music. Completely empty. Final test was enabling iCloud music library on my iPhone - also completely empty. Perfect. Sorted. I hope this help somebody, cheers.
  • I think you may have solved the problems I've been having with iCloud Music Library. I've tried deleting everything and it never works. After reading your comment, I decided to try deleting my music a thousand or two songs at a time, but I didn't quit iTunes after each try. Instead, I went into the menu under FILE > LIBRARY and selected Update iCloud Library. Delete a few thousand. Update. Delete. Update. My library has around 33,000 songs. By the time I deleted around 25,000, while I was scrolling down to select another batch to delete, iTunes ADDED a few thousand songs right before my very eyes. I was scrolling down to select a batch, and all of a sudden, the scroll bar got longer as a iTunes added a batch of the deleted songs back into my library. Sheesh! I deleted them again and continued the process. Now, finally, it looks like everything I deleted is really truly gone. I hope I'm right. I love Apple Music, but I HAAAAAAATE iCloud Music Library. If I end up cancelling Apple Music, it will be because of how borked iCML is.
  • Try uploading your iTunes library to Amazon Music. I know, you shouldn't have to, but the Amazon Music program seems to work just fine. I'm now buying hard copies from Amazon when possible. You get the hard copy that way, and they include a cloud library, a radio service, and MP3 auto-rips when you purchase. I made the mistake of getting rid of my CD collection in in 2011 befire I realized what a problem all of this would be. That's my best answer--start using the Amazon service. You can have both on any device, I think. I've got Amazon's Music Player as well as iTunes/iTunes Match on two macs and an iPad. So far, all seems fine. On my phone, I don't have enough memory for anything, so just the iTunes Match in there--which of course, is missing so much of my library. Maddening. Never throw out your hard copies, I guess.
  • Anyone still think even though Apple said that made this option easier for the user to understand it it still confusing ? I'm trying to see what the difference was before, compared to now. with removing songs and users deleted all their library by mistake enough for Apple to "fix" this ...