Removing music after activating iTunes Match

Q: When I activated iTunes Match on my iPhone, it wiped out all of the music stored locally on the device. When I then activated it on my iPad 2, the local music storage remained. So it seems that iTunes Match so far lacks consistency on iOS devices. On reflection I prefer the former (what happened on my iPhone), as it now frees up space for more video content (which is not “matched” by iTunes in the Cloud). Any way to force the same behaviour on my iPad?

– George

A: Unfortunately, there’s no way to control this behaviour. It seems that Apple’s intent is to leave synced content on devices where possible, although it’s unclear why this isn’t working in all situations.

You can work around it, however, by manually removing the content that is already on your device. Ideally, you could do this before enabling iTunes Match, simply by connecting to iTunes and de-selecting all of your music from synchronization in the normal manner. Unfortunately, once you enable iTunes Match this option is no longer available as iTunes basically disabled all of the music sync options.

Removing music after activating iTunes Match

One option would be to disable iTunes Match on your iOS device, which will result in it reverting back to the old “local” music library, at which point you can connect it to iTunes, remove your music, and then re-enable iTunes Match on your device. There is no reason to disable iTunes Match in iTunes for this—simply switching it off on the iOS side will be enough to allow you to then manage your music sync settings directly from iTunes.

Alternatively, you can delete content from your iOS device manually in the same way as you can with a non-iTunes Match library. On the iPhone and iPod touch simply swipe to the right on a track or album and then tap the “Delete” button to remove it; on the iPad the swipe-right gesture works for individual tracks, for albums use a tap-and-hold gesture on the album thumbnail to bring up an X that you can tap to delete the entire album. With iTunes Match enabled, the local copies of the tracks will be removed, but they will remain available from iCloud.


Removing music after activating iTunes Match

It’s important to note that this does not work the same way with playlists—deleting a playlist on your device will actually remove it from your iCloud library entirely and this will sync across all of your computers and devices, but it will not remove any locally stored tracks from your device.


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