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iTunes & Your Music Files

Many people have been using iTunes as their music medium of choice throughout its many iterations and changes. With the latest addition of the Apple Music subscription, many of those same iTunes users are up in arms regarding a new behavior of the application.


A number of Apple Music subscribers are reporting that now iTunes is allegedly removing files from its users computers! According to one subscriber:


“When I signed up for Apple Music, iTunes evaluated my massive collection of Mp3s and WAV files, scanned Apple’s database for what it considered matches, then removed the original files from my internal hard drive. REMOVED them. Deleted. If Apple Music saw a file it didn’t recognize—which came up often, since I’m a freelance composer and have many music files that I created myself—it would then download it to Apple’s database, delete it from my hard drive, and serve it back to me when I wanted to listen, just like it would with my other music files it had deleted.” – jamespinkstone


Sounds crazy right? Well fortunately that version isn’t exactly what apparently happens. According to CNET:

“When you sign into Apple Music and enable iCloud Music Library on a Mac, iTunes begins matching the songs in your personal library with songs in Apple’s catalog. If a song matches, Apple adds its own version of the song to your library. When there isn’t a match, Apple Music uploads a copy of your song after temporarily converting it to a AAC 256 Kbps file.

The original files stored on your Mac are not converted — only the uploaded and synced file is changed.

Matched and uploaded music is then made available on any device linked to the same Apple ID you used to sign up for Apple Music.”

No files should be deleted from your hard drive (primary device). Any music that you download from Apple Music to any secondary device (Android, iPhone,iPad, iPod, etc.) is actually a copy of the original file and is then linked to Apple Music. So if you terminate your subscription, you WILL lose access to that music after 30 days. That shouldn’t affect the original files on your primary device as long as YOU don’t delete them.


The good news is there is an easy way to make sure you don’t lose your original music files and continue to use Apple Music. Backup them up regularly to a separate source from your computer. Meaning an external hard drive, or a cloud service such as Box or DropBox, or even burn them to DVDs.


Next, make sure Apple Music knows that the computer that contains your music library is your primary device.


If you need to delete tracks from iTunes, make sure you DO NOT select “Remove Download” as this will delete the original file on your hard drive. Make sure to read any prompts that pop up as you manage your music and do some research if they seem ambiguous.


We at Geek Easy Computer regularly stress the importance of backing up your important data. Backing up your data is not nearly as difficult as people imagine it is. The point of having a backup is redundancy. The chances of you losing your data (in this case, your music collection!) in multiple locations is remote. The easiest backup scenario is an external hard drive. You can set up your computer to automatically backup your data at a specific time every day (or night) so you don’t even have to think about it. What could be easier than that?


The crew at Geek Easy Computers are backup experts, Mac or PC! If you have any questions, issues, or are just exploring options, give us a call or stop in anytime. We’d love to assist you!

Geek Easy Computers – Making Technology Easier


me_smile Adonis Pointer is a photographer, a collector of vintage razors, and a certified technology geek!
Adonis has been involved in computer technology since well, a LONG time! He has been involved in nearly every aspect of the industry from sales to repair to training to consulting. As the Social Media Manager he writes the majority of the posts on the Geek Easy Computers blog.


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