Apple Acknowledges iTunes Music Deletion, Prepares Fix

Apple has acknowledged that, in some cases, iTunes can delete music files. In a statement made to The Loop, Apple said:

In an extremely small number of cases users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission. We’re taking these reports seriously as we know how important music is to our customers and our teams are focused on identifying the cause. We have not been able to reproduce this issue, however, we’re releasing an update to iTunes early next week which includes additional safeguards. If a user experiences this issue they should contact AppleCare.

It’s not clear what’s happening, but it is clear that Apple doesn’t know what’s going on. This statement is certainly a reaction to a recent story about a user who claimed that Apple Music deleted his music files. It’s not Apple Music, as I pointed out, but it’s not clear what happened.

I’m not sure what Apple can do to add “additional safeguards” to iTunes. There have been a number of cases where an app or an installer have deleted important files, one of the most recent being an Adobe Creative Cloud updater that deleted certain items. An app or installer malfunctioning can easily delete files.

iTunes is essentially a database, but also a file manager. It can move and delete files when you tell it to. It sounds like, here, something is happening in iTunes that is causing file deletion. And a bug like this is hard to find; it involves a lot of trial and error, detailed logging, and testing over and over to try and reproduce it.

Yet again, this underscores the need to have a backup of your data. Or two. Or three. Because you never know.

If you think iTunes has deleted some of your files, and you have Time Machine backups, you can use this method look through your Time Machine backups to see what may have been deleted.

10 thoughts on “Apple Acknowledges iTunes Music Deletion, Prepares Fix

  1. I’ve lost count of how many times my Time Machine backups have saved my iTunes music library. Like Kirk, I turned off iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library on my primary library (which is on my MacBook Pro). That did help substantially, as did the iTunes 12 upgrade, but it never fully fixed the problem. Every now and then, I open iTunes or sync my iPhone and it deletes tracks from playlists and sometimes deletes playlists altogether. I can only reiterate: if you love music and use iTunes a lot, back up often!!

  2. I’ve lost count of how many times my Time Machine backups have saved my iTunes music library. Like Kirk, I turned off iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library on my primary library (which is on my MacBook Pro). That did help substantially, as did the iTunes 12 upgrade, but it never fully fixed the problem. Every now and then, I open iTunes or sync my iPhone and it deletes tracks from playlists and sometimes deletes playlists altogether. I can only reiterate: if you love music and use iTunes a lot, back up often!!

  3. Apple, like any company or indeed anyone, is best served by admitting to mistakes. So it’s hard to square this admission with Apples chat/phone support (and the majority of the Apple store workers), who on the whole appear to know less than very little about the stuff they are meant to know about and generally seem groomed to admit to no error on their employers part.

    • This is not my experience. There has been the occasional mistake or not completely magical person, but I would give tech support a higher rating than Indigo.

  4. Apple, like any company or indeed anyone, is best served by admitting to mistakes. So it’s hard to square this admission with Apples chat/phone support (and the majority of the Apple store workers), who on the whole appear to know less than very little about the stuff they are meant to know about and generally seem groomed to admit to no error on their employers part.

    • This is not my experience. There has been the occasional mistake or not completely magical person, but I would give tech support a higher rating than Indigo.

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