Songs downloaded on iPad keep transferring back to iTunes


Q: I downloaded the free songs of the week on my iPad with the iTunes app, and then when I synced to my Mac, the purchases were transferred. I didn’t like the songs and deleted them, but every time I sync, the iPad puts them back onto my computer. How do I stop this from happening?

Songs downloaded on iPad keep transferring back to iTunes

– Miguel

A: The easiest way to deal with this is simply to delete the downloaded tracks from your iTunes library and directly from your iPad before connecting and syncing the two devices. Obviously, if the tracks aren’ on your iPad when you sync it, they can’t be transferred back to your iTunes library.

You can do this directly on the iPad simply by using a standard swipe-to-delete gesture from any track listing.

You can also delete an entire album or artist from the artwork grid view by tapping and holding on the artwork image until an “X” appears in the top left corner; tapping the “X” will remove that artist or album from your device.


Songs downloaded on iPad keep transferring back to iTunes

Normally, however, iTunes should prompt you before transferring purchased items from an iOS device back to your iTunes library, offering you the choice as to whether or not you want to transfer these purchased items.


Songs downloaded on iPad keep transferring back to iTunes

Selecting Don’t Transfer in this dialog box will tell iTunes not to transfer these items back to your iTunes library, removing them as part of the sync process instead. Note, however, that this single dialog box represents all purchased items on your device that are not in your iTunes library—not just music, but things like videos, apps and iBooks.

Note that if you select the Do not ask me again checkbox here, then iTunes will no longer ask you this question; it will simply use the default Transfer option each time you connect your device. In this case, Do not ask me again follows the default behaviour, rather than the last selected behaviour, since it’s understandably better for iTunes to transfer some files you don’t want than to delete files that you do.

If you’ve chosen Do not ask me again for this, or any other dialog box in iTunes, you can bring them all back by going into your iTunes preferences, selecting Advanced and clicking the Reset Warnings button.


Songs downloaded on iPad keep transferring back to iTunes

This will reset the Do not ask me again behaviour for ALL dialog boxes in iTunes, so you may encounter additional warnings that you had previously chosen to hide and will need to deal with these again on a case-by-case basis.

Always keep in mind that the transfer purchases feature is an all-or-nothing choice. Therefore, deleting unwanted tracks manually from your iPad is safer than using the Don’t Transfer option unless you’re absolutely certain that those unwanted tracks are the only purchased items that are on your device but not already in your iTunes library.


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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.