How-To: Fix iTunes 12.2’s iTunes Match/Apple Music DRM-adding bug


Apple just released a minor update to iTunes 12, seemingly addressing several issues related to Apple Music’s debut in iTunes 12.2. One major problem — automatic switching of certain iTunes Match songs to “Apple Music” status, along with the unwanted addition of Apple’s Fairplay DRM — is mentioned in iTunes 12.2.1’s release notes. Apple says the update resolves an issue “where iTunes incorrectly changed some songs from Matched to Apple Music,” and lets you restore non-DRMed files to your library.

But unless you follow a specific procedure spotlighted in a new Apple support document, the fix could create even bigger problems for your library. Apple notes that if you download 12.2.1, “previously matched songs [that] appear as Apple Music songs” will be fixed, as iTunes will “correct the information automatically.” Indeed, you’ll see that Matched or Purchased songs that switched to “Apple Music” status now say Matched or Purchased again within the iTunes library. “After you update,” says Apple, “you can remove and download again any songs that were incorrectly downloaded as Apple Music.” But if you hit the wrong button, you’ll find it hard to restore your tracks…


If you want to restore a downloaded, Apple Music DRM’ed track to normal, DON’T just delete the DRM’ed version of the song from your iTunes library. Try to do this, and the dialog box above will pop up. Hitting return or the blue-highlighted button will obliterate the track from both your library and Apple’s servers, such that you might not be able to get the track back.

Instead, Apple says, you should control-click and choose “Remove Download” for all tracks that were incorrectly downloaded as Apple Music. Then control-click again and choose “Make Available Offline” to re-download them correctly, without DRM.

This non-intuitive system for fixing tracks could mess up your music library. Even though iTunes 12.2.1 labels them as “Matched” or “Purchased,” files you previously downloaded with a status of “Apple Music” are still locked with FairPlay 2 DRM. If you select them and hit the Delete Song button above, the tracks will be removed from your library, and seemingly from iTunes in the Cloud, as well. After deleting a test file that was DRM-locked by Apple Music, we found that iTunes 12.2.1 refused to allow the downloaded file to be returned to the iTunes library, or even to play it at all. The easiest way to avoid this is to follow the support document’s procedure carefully to avoid losing some of your Matched and Purchased music.

Thankfully, if you accidentally delete some of your iTunes Store-purchased music from the iCloud Music Library, you can recover it with a workaround. Go into your iTunes Account > Account Info > iTunes in the Cloud > Hidden Purchases > Manage. You should find accidentally deleted songs and albums there. Unhide them… but this doesn’t seem to be enough to let you redownload them. In our test, deleted but unhidden tracks didn’t re-appear in the iCloud Music Library.


So go into iTunes Preferences, uncheck iCloud Music Library, and hit OK. You’ll see your library of on-computer and iTunes purchased content, including files deleted from the iCloud Music Library. Hit the cloud download button to restore your accidentally deleted songs. Then go back into iTunes Preferences, turn iCloud Music Library back on, and hit OK. Your deleted tracks will be reunited with your library, and downloads will be free of iTunes Music’s FairPlay DRM.

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  1. Dodie Faustorilla - 8 years ago

    After the update, it deleted my entire iTunes library including movies, TV shows, apps, etc. Caution when updating to the new iTunes

    • pureemily - 8 years ago

      You should backup your iTunes library first. You can backup your iTunes library to external hard drive, but if you want to enjoy the offload iTunes videos via your external hard drive, you should remove Apple’s Fairplay DRM with Noteburner.

    • Neil McWhirter - 8 years ago

      After saying yes to “Apple Music” by signing up to three months free service thinking to myself …. how bad can it be, I ended up loosing access to all my music stored in iCloud even after following the advice posted on this blog. I tried numerous things even deleting my entire iTunes Library stored on my laptop still unable to access my files. Out of desperation I ended up restoring my entire laptop from a Time Machine backup …. and it worked. So yes it is possible to download your music from iCloud however one file at the time! Apple Music you are a nightmare and I’m done with you!!!! Apple I am done with you and I don’t trust you anymore. Say hello to Adobe Lightroom, Android etc etc

  2. And you have to select one song at a time.

    I repeat : One at a time.

    Can’t select multiple songs or albums.

    No way, Apple. You’ve been a really bad boy.

    • Just wanted to add that I tried what Apple said and it’s not working.

      I had an iTunes Match account last year. I wonder why Apple kept all my data… Now, my iTunes Library and Apple Music experience is messed up.

  3. wvb22 - 8 years ago

    What happened to “It just works”?

  4. pandren (@pandren) - 8 years ago

    I got stuck at “Accessing your iTunes purchases”. Switched off iCloud Music Library. The connection seems to time out. Checked on 3 different computers on 2 separate networks.

  5. Brad Price (@bradpdx) - 8 years ago

    Updated, everything works fine. I use iTunes Match, and so never had an issue with incorrect downloads. Running great on 3 Macs, 3 iPhones and 1 iPad. Not sure how I’d need to set things up to see the problems some have.

    • stevelawrence - 8 years ago

      Then why comment?

      • Pedro Martins - 8 years ago

        I think it’s nice to know how everybody feels about it, not just people with problems.

  6. davidgoscinny - 8 years ago

    Gotan Project? Good taste 😃

  7. Charlypollo - 8 years ago

    It simply works…

  8. Dr Attgc (@attgc) - 8 years ago

    Well. The update doesn’t fix the bug that causes NEWLY IMPORTED songs to be matched as apple music. Maybe the update fixes libraries that were already matched. But I keep adding new songs and some are still matched as apple music, which is moronic to say the least since these songs
    1) are physically in my computer
    2) I bought them and therefore own them (not apple music!!!)

    I’m very frustrated with this. Apple has messed up with my whole workflow of adding music to my devices.

  9. I got so frustrated with iTunes Match way back when it first came out because it ruined my metadata on some songs, artwork would never update, etc. I even had a high level support ticket opened for awhile before I gave up on my library.

    Im glad to see I made the right decision getting out when I did!

  10. Seth - 8 years ago

    Be careful with 12.2.1. Mine is no longer able to connect to iCloud Music Library. I cannot access any cloud items in My Music or Playlists. The little iCloud icon in the upper right corner of the window shows a lightning bolt. When clicked, it shows activity then returns to the lightning bolt. The tooltip says: “Unable to access your iCloud Music Library. Click to retry.” I’ve restarted the Mac, logged out of iCloud, changed iTunes libraries and even nuked the iTunes prefs but nothing helps. iCloud Music Library works fine on my iDevices, however.

    I just spent an hour on the phone with Apple support reporting the bug. I’m frustrated with the bug but NOT with their customer service. The rep I worked with was helpful, positive and friendly. For my time, he’s sending me a new pair of Beats.

    • theagentmike - 8 years ago

      Are you serious there is no way they would send you free stuff just like that.

      • Seth - 8 years ago

        Completely serious and surprised. The agent said he was supposed to fix problems inside of 20 minutes and we’d been on for far longer than that. Since it wasn’t something he could fix he wanted to make sure I left happy. Check, there are loads of examples of Apple going above and beyond for customer service. Don’t believe it, fine. Regardless, there’s a bug in 12.2.1.

    • irelandjnr - 8 years ago

      So you wasted an hour and to try to make yourself come out of the story as cool you add a fib at the end. Cool story, bro.

    • Brian R. Smith - 7 years ago

      So no improvements yet? I’m experiencing the identical issue. When I log out and try to “Turn on Match” it takes me to the screen to sign-up for the first time (I’ve been enrolled for over a year), I click the button to start Match and it says my library contains too many unpurchased songs, which is patently false (I spent hours deleting old music to get back under 25,000). My experience with Apple was useless, since she just kept saying their iTunes people said I had too many songs. Oy!

  11. John Cicala - 8 years ago

    Downloaded the update. Nothing fixed. Still plays one song while listing another.

  12. Raul Meza - 8 years ago

    I think I got it. At least it worked for me. I enabled my iCloud library on iTunes Preferences. Then after that selected all my music and right-clicked. Select “Delete” and then it appears the option “Remove Download”.
    Now my iPhone is clear.

  13. Strange. I haven’t run into any issues with iCloud Music Library. Been smooth sailing since day one.

  14. Sean Cairne - 8 years ago

    Apple Music totally trashed my library of music and movies. 3 hrs on ph with Apple Care. 2 days of calling. No resolution. Apple Music is a total disaster. It doesn’t Just Work! I trusted my music library to iTunes Match. Apple Care says it won’t work now and there is nothing they are going to do.

  15. prius3 - 7 years ago

    Doesn’t work – if I have a regular AAC DRM free file bought on iTunes, and I delete it with “remove download” (it is not a download, but ok, let’s go with that – I already don’t understand this) and then do “make available offline”, I get a wonderfully DRM Fair Play 2 protected copy of the song I rightfully own as DRM free. If I don’t have an Apple Music I cannot listen to it.
    BTW, this is a song bought from the iTunes Store (Diana Vickers – Cinderella), which Apple Music cannot even match properly since the “Show album” when clicked, say “no album found”. For some reason, BTW2, the bought song is 1 second longer than the current version of the same album, currently in the iTunes Store.
    I will not use Apple Music and iCloud Music Library until they fix this issue and don’t match rightfully bought songs on their own store, that if deleted get superseded by a non DRM free version.
    Let alone all the problems with artwork, tagging, etc etc that everybody, me included, have.

  16. prius3 - 7 years ago

    PS: essentially if you bought CDs, or iTunes music bought with another account, it gets matched as Apple Music, and if you download a copy with whatever they matched (screwing artwork, etc – because you cannot even tell them that your album, is not the one you have – particularly true for collections that are matched with x different albums where they have the songs – you cannot force an upload with feedback for corrections…), when you do the “available offline” you get a non DRM free version of the song.
    You don’t have Apple Music, you cannot listen to the song anymore.
    You better back up your library pretty well, and securely, before you make the mistake of deleting something and download a non DRM free version of your library. Essentially robbing you of your rightful purchase. CD or iTunes song with other account.

  17. Social Critic - 7 years ago

    Apple Music has purportedly modified or removed contents of users’ libraries that have not even been purchased or added through iTunes — which in my view Apple should have no power to do. Apple Match may not be much better. I learned only recently and very belatedly despite over a decade of iTunes use that Apple Match is not a solution for replacing pre-2009 copy-protected purchases to allow those tracks to play on non-Apple devices. Although Purchased copies will initially appear after signing up for iTunes Match when sorted by “kind”, they revert to m4p (Protected) as opposed to mp4a (Purchased) tracks under iTunes 11. Personally, I don’t consider this a “bug”. Wired Magazine, USA Today, Lifehacker and other websites have perpetuated the notion that iTunes Match will allow for a workaround for those of us who didn’t get the DRM-free upgrade memo back in 2009 when Apple apparently stopped using that form of Digital Rights Management. What’s not appreciated now that iTunes Match has been around awhile is that the iCloud-enabled versions of iTunes, from 11 forward, will simply modify your library to reflect that such purchases — even though they came through the iTunes Store — are again protected by DRM. There’s DRM “fair play 2” m4a’s and there’s pre-2009 DRM m4p’s that Apple is again forcing users to playback only using Apple products (meaning you can’t transfer even your newly acquired Purchased replacements to an Android smartphone even if you DO sign up for Match). I would caution anyone who is using an iCloud-compatible version of iTunes to realize that the app is basically behaving as if it is on a sever and Apple can modify the file types at will once you install a current version of iTunes. (In other words, it may not even require signing up for Apple Music or Match to encounter unwanted modifications to your library.)

    As mentioned, there are reports that people who suspended their Apple Music service have lost not only access to Apple’s streaming content, which would be expected, but to music purchased through other sources, including music added to their libraries from physical media (CDs). If these reports of content “scrubbing” are accurate, Apple will eventually face investigation into deceptive business practices. Think about it: If Apple wants to be “evil” — more draconian in how they attempt to protect their interests; namely, keeping users from migrating from iTunes/iOS to non-Apple playback devices and/or services — of course they are going to allow consumers to think that these errors are “bugs” or “user error”. As best I can tell, it’s anything but a software malfunction or misconfiguration. What Apple is doing now with their various iTunes/iCloud services is more akin to an incident that made news several years ago when Kindle users found that a particular book (purchase) began disappearing from their devices. It made national news and Amazon had to admit that due to a copyright/publishing dispute the title had to be removed — without warning. It was news to a lot of Kindle owners that what they had lawfully paid for could be yanked (the digital equivalent of “easy come, easy go”). In my opinion, iTunes 11 and 12 represent Apple’s version of this reach-in-and-grab (modify/delete) capacity. Watch out — and back EVERYTHING up. Better yet, downgrade. Apple Music, Music Match, iCloud — Apple doesn’t deserve consumers’ business if they have failed to make clear what the services can and cannot do once you decide to subscribe to or terminate such a service. Regardless, there exists advice — including advice I received just last month on the Apple Community support forums — that are actively perpetuating misinformation about what these evolving services allow for. It may have been the case that when iTunes Match, Music and the like debuted they did not function with such limitations in place. But they do now and consumers should plan accordingly.