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How does iCloud Music Library work?

iCloud Music Library is a feature in iOS and macOS that allows you to access and synchronize your songs, albums, and playlists across all of your Apple devices signed into the same iCloud account. iCloud Music Library is similar to iCloud Photo Library, but of course for music. Follow along for more details…

iCloud Music Library is an option if you’re using either Apple Music or iTunes Match. It will synchronize not only purchases, but also existing content in your music library that you’ve imported from CDs or other sources across your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.

A nice benefit that iCloud Music Library provides beyond the convenience is Apple will automatically match and replace your exact (eligible) songs with a high quality version if available, if not it will upload the original version to iCloud Music Library.

If you’re thinking of turning iCloud Music Library on, make sure to back up your computer and/or your iTunes library first.

How to turn on iCloud Music Library on iPhone and iPad

  1. Tap Settings then swipe down and tap Music
  2. The fourth option will iCloud Music Library
  3. Tap the toggle to turn it on

How to turn on iCloud Music Library on a Mac

  1. Open iTunes and click on iTunes in the menu bar (top left corner)
  2. Click System Preferences…
  3. In the General tab click to check the iCloud Music Library box

Keep in mind it may take some time for iCloud Music Library to be useable. Depending on how much content you already have in your iTunes library it could take anywhere from a few minutes to multiple hours after initially turning the feature on.

Here are a few more details about iCloud Music Library from Apple’s support page:

  • You can have up to 100,000 songs in your music library. Songs that you buy or bought from the iTunes Store don’t count against this limit.
  • Only songs smaller than 200 MB or shorter than 2 hours are added to iCloud Music Library.
  • We create AAC 256Kbps versions of songs that are encoded in ALAC, WAV, or AIFF formats and add the AAC version to iCloud Music Library. Your original music file remains untouched on your Mac or PC.
  • You must authorize songs that contain Digital Rights Management (DRM) for playback on your Mac or PC before we can add them to iCloud Music Library.

Apple Music is not a backup service. Be sure to back up your iOS devices, and your Mac or PC, so that you have a copy of your music and other information if your device is ever replaced, lost, or damaged.

Be sure to check out our how to guide for more ways to get the most out of your Apple devices.

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