Can’t remove iTunes Match tracks in iOS 6 | iLounge Article


Can’t remove iTunes Match tracks in iOS 6

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Q: I wonder if you can shed some light on my issue or maybe explain if I am missing the point altogether. I have been happily using iTunes Match on my iPhone for some time. I have over 22,000 songs in iTunes Match so the ability to pick and choose a few albums on the fly without filling my iPhone is great. Once I have listened to a batch of albums for a while I simply swipe to remove and pick another batch.

Since the iOS 6 update I no longer have the ability to remove individual albums or songs. The only option I can see is to remove the entire contents and start again. I have done some digging around on the web and a few people are saying if my iPhone is running low on space, Apple will decide what to remove based on popular tracks and unplayed tracks? This to me is not only useless as a service but very costly, I really hope you can explain a way around this or am I missing the point?

- Nick

A: Unfortunately, you are correct that this is how iTunes Match now works in iOS 6. In line with Apple’s general philosophy of trying to simplify things, it seems that the new approach to iTunes Match is to avoid the need micro-manage the content on iOS devices. In addition to removing the ability to manually delete specific tracks and albums from your device, the iCloud status indicators that were previously displayed beside each track have also been removed, so there is no longer even a visual indication of which tracks are stored locally and which ones are merely available in the cloud.

This actually led some to incorrectly assume that iTunes Match had moved to a streaming model in iOS 6, playing all non-local tracks from the cloud rather than downloading them in the background. In reality, only the status indicator has been removed for tracks, such that the user has no easy way to determine at a glance what is actually stored on the device. When you’re using your device in Airplane Mode or otherwise outside of network coverage, however, you’ll find that any recently played tracks are still available on your device regardless of whether you specifically downloaded them manually or simply listened to them from the cloud.

The design philosophy here appears to be that your iPhone should act as if your entire music library is available to it at all times while trying to minimize data transfers and manage your storage space behind the scenes. What you’ve heard is correct that iOS is supposed to intelligently remove tracks if space is required for something else. It’s best to think of your local iTunes Match music as more of a “cache” than an offline library, and in that sense it’s the same in principle as the browser cache in Safari, or the caching performed by many other apps for storing content locally for faster and/or repeated access.

Further, since iOS 6 still actually downloads any tracks you listen to, the only common reasons to pre-download albums or playlists manually is if you plan to regularly use your device without network coverage or are on a very limited data plan and only want to use iTunes Match over a Wi-Fi connection to save on potential data charges. When playing iCloud-based tracks on your device within Wi-Fi or cellular coverage, your iPhone will act like it’s streaming tracks by beginning playback almost immediately, however it will actually download them in the background and store them on your device for the next time you choose to play them again.

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Actually, I have another situation where I would need to pre-download music. We just recently bought a hyndai that has an iPod cable direct/auxilliary input type thing. Initially I thought this would be great and I could have my entire library all the time, but it doesn’t quite work that way. Upon connecting the phone the car seems to kind if make a directory on the fly to navigate thought on the stereo itself and only sees local files.

Also, all of the features for match that have been removed seem like such a natural fit and just common sense. The new “features” feel like a step backwards.

Posted by Chris in Toronto on September 28, 2012 at 5:44 PM (CDT)


Have not updated yet to ios 6 but this feature change alone is enough to make me not update i want my itunes match the same way as ios 5 this new seems like a step back ... Agreed!

Posted by Adam in Toronto on September 29, 2012 at 12:58 AM (CDT)


I understand why apple has changed match, but unfortunately I don’t think the wireless infrastructure to support their vision is their yet.  The world doesn’t have free wifi everywhere,  it’s acually difficult to find free wifi, even in busy areas.  And not everyone has an unlimited data allowance.  I acually have just 500mb a month which is a quite common I the UK.

Therefore, at this time, I think manual management is still necessary, as well as clearer visuals to see what is and isn’t stored on the device.

Posted by Greg Edwards in Toronto on September 30, 2012 at 3:09 PM (CDT)


apart from the fact that it is not becoming easier to manage the music stored on my iphone, I still have the fundamental problem that synching is still not perfect especially the playcount which is for me one of the most important selection criteria for my playlist apart from the score. Also album art is in many cases not shown on the iphone.

Posted by Dirk Hanssens in Toronto on October 1, 2012 at 3:05 PM (CDT)


Jesse, I’m not sure you’re correct here in saying “In addition to removing the ability to manually delete specific tracks and albums”?  Tracks, yes. 

But it is still possible to delete whole albums (or artists) in iOS6.  If you hold down the album artwork on the “Albums” view, you get the “x” in the top left corner which deleted the locally stored copy. 

You can see the effect by checking the number of songs in “Settings / General” which goes down after the delete.

Posted by IanB in Toronto on October 1, 2012 at 4:41 PM (CDT)


Interesting idea if it actually worked, but I’m getting an error when I try to update an app through the app store - “Cannot Download There is not enough available local storage to download.”  But since I can’t manually delete music anymore, I’m stuck.  This is a very bad ‘enhancement’.

Posted by Joe in Toronto on October 4, 2012 at 11:15 AM (CDT)


This is stupid….

What i want (what was possible in ios5) is
- Enable show all my music in the cloud
- Download what I want to listen to
- Disabling show all my music
- Then just use and see the music which is on my iphone.

I don’t want to stream because of my data plan and some “blank spots” in my 3G….

Normally i would just swipe and delete the songs I didn’t listen to anymore. Not possible in io6…hmmmm

“But it is still possible to delete whole albums (or artists) in iOS6.  If you hold down the album artwork on the “Albums” view, you get the “x” in the top left corner which deleted the locally stored copy.” Doesn’t work…

What was apple thinking when they created this “new feature”... The whole world has the same access to internet as we (Apple) do in San Francisco, let the people stream????

Posted by Dave in Toronto on October 10, 2012 at 9:19 AM (CDT)


OK. But how do I download entire albums to my iPad in Os6? I’m not seeing it.

Posted by ej in Toronto on October 10, 2012 at 8:01 PM (CDT)


I cant update any apps because it says my storage is full and I have no way to clear my storage to make room for it. So I can’t update to newest ios 6.1 and I have 40 apps waiting to be updated. This is ridiculous! If it wasn’t broke why did they ‘fix’ it.

Posted by johnson in Toronto on December 15, 2012 at 12:53 PM (CST)


Even pressing and holding on the album art does not give you the option to remove the album from the iPhone. If Apple was attempting to make the new iOS 6.1 user friendly, it failed. It is driving me crazy that I cannot remove songs from my phone—especially Christmas music and soundtracks that I never wanted to be there in the first place.

Posted by Amy in Toronto on January 1, 2013 at 3:12 PM (CST)


I was stuck with Christmas music and did the following:

1). Turned off Music Match from my iPad,
2). Went to the music album, held the music album I wanted to delete and finally touched the ‘X’ that appeared left side of the album cover.
3). Later turned on the Music Match function and it was ready.

Hope this helps.

Posted by Humberto Diaz in Toronto on January 3, 2013 at 1:06 AM (CST)

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