Can’t Enable iCloud Music Library on Your iOS Device? Try This

I got a new iPhone 8 Plus on Friday. I set up the device by transferring data from my backup, and everything worked fine. But there was one feature I wanted to turn on on the new iPhone that I hadn’t used before: iCloud Music Library.

I have a very large music library. And I like listening to my music from my carefully curated and tagged collection. But it’s always been a compromise to sync music to my iPhone. I have such a large library that I can only sync a subset of the music. That’s fine; I don’t listen to that much music on the go. But it’s a lot of work to keep adding and removing music.

While I don’t listen to music away from home that much, I previously had another limit. My phone plan only offered 750 MB of data. I could have paid for more, but I didn’t need it, and plans with more data were fairly expensive from my provider. But a few months ago, my phone provider had an offer: for a few pounds more per month, I could get 8 GB of data.

So I had two choices with the new iPhone. I could either pay for 256 GB storage, or I could settle for the base storage amount of 64 GB (which is finally a fair size). I opted to save the money and use iCloud Music Library.

Note that I haven’t merged my music library with iCloud Music Library; I have a test library that I’ve maintained for many years, starting when iTunes Match was released, on my laptop. So I now can access that library on my iPhone, and my iPad, and I can add and rate music on my iPhone, and listen to music from that library.

So, with the new iPhone, I went to turn on iCloud Music Library. About five minutes later, I saw this:

Icloud music cant enable

If you Google this issue, you’ll see lots of “solutions;” most merely suggesting that you keep trying until it works. Well, I tried, and tried, a dozen times; it didn’t work. I called Apple, frustrated, and ended up having three different calls with three advisors, finally reaching a senior advisor. They didn’t know what to do. Since it was a brand new device, it was clear that restoring it wouldn’t help.

While awaiting to hear back from Apple next week, I had a flash of inspiration yesterday. I knew this wasn’t a network problem (the suggestion from Apple advisor #1), or a problem that could be fixed by force restarting the phone (advisor #2), but it had to have something to do with the music database on the device. I’ve seen similar problems in the past that could be resolved by deleting that database; something that you need special software to do.

So I thought I’d try something else. I tried download a purchased album. After the album was on my device, I went back to Settings > Music and tried turning on iCloud Music Library. The process takes several minutes, but I could see that it was happening differently when I went to the Playlists entry in the Music app. There was a progress bar. It was moving slowly, but it did move.

After about ten minutes, I had my iCloud Music Library on my iPhone.

What I think happened is that there was something wonky in the music database, and that downloading an album – even a song might have worked – cleared or fixed it. So, if you can’t enable iCloud Music Library, try downloading a purchased track – if you don’t have any, spend a buck and buy a song – and see if that helps. If it does, please post a comment below so I know if my solution is helping anyone else.

18 thoughts on “Can’t Enable iCloud Music Library on Your iOS Device? Try This

  1. I don’t know if this is a related problem: I’ve bought a lot of music in iTunes on my iMac. I don’t use iCloud. I could always see and play all that music on my iPad Pro 9.7 in the Music App. Worked great. About a week ago I bought a new album in iTunes on my iMac. This time it didn’t appeared in Music on my iPad. I logged out of iTunes and logged in again, hoping to solve it this way. But did caused a disaster. Now all my music was gone, except for the albums I had downloaded on my iPad (or synced with iTunes).
    Installing iOS 11 didn’t help (but I like it). I did all the usual things trying to solve the problem. I also followed your suggestion and downloaded an album from iTunes on my iPad. But that didn’t help. BTW in iTunes on my iPad I can see and download all my purchased albums. So they are connected to my Apple ID.
    Today I even completely restored my iPad – erased all my settings and data and restored from a backup. I even reinstalled iOS 11. It took me hours. But with no results.
    Any idea?

  2. I don’t know if this is a related problem: I’ve bought a lot of music in iTunes on my iMac. I don’t use iCloud. I could always see and play all that music on my iPad Pro 9.7 in the Music App. Worked great. About a week ago I bought a new album in iTunes on my iMac. This time it didn’t appeared in Music on my iPad. I logged out of iTunes and logged in again, hoping to solve it this way. But did caused a disaster. Now all my music was gone, except for the albums I had downloaded on my iPad (or synced with iTunes).
    Installing iOS 11 didn’t help (but I like it). I did all the usual things trying to solve the problem. I also followed your suggestion and downloaded an album from iTunes on my iPad. But that didn’t help. BTW in iTunes on my iPad I can see and download all my purchased albums. So they are connected to my Apple ID.
    Today I even completely restored my iPad – erased all my settings and data and restored from a backup. I even reinstalled iOS 11. It took me hours. But with no results.
    Any idea?

  3. Do you mean on my iPad or on my iMac.

    When I sign in on my iPad I’m automatically logged in to the App Store, to iTunes and to Music. I’ve signed in and out several times and sometimes restarted the iPad in between. I also signed in and out the Apple Support App. Did not help either.
    On my iMac I only sign in into iTunes when I want to buy something. After I’ve done that I always immediately sign out.

  4. Do you mean on my iPad or on my iMac.

    When I sign in on my iPad I’m automatically logged in to the App Store, to iTunes and to Music. I’ve signed in and out several times and sometimes restarted the iPad in between. I also signed in and out the Apple Support App. Did not help either.
    On my iMac I only sign in into iTunes when I want to buy something. After I’ve done that I always immediately sign out.

  5. My iCloud Library problem mirrors yours exactly, new iPhone 8 Plus and senior adviser and all, so I was hoping this would be a “eureka” moment. Alas, no dice. The progress bar isn’t even part of the equation anymore, which is a real hope killer. Looks like I’m still in the hands of Apple. I’m glad you found a solution, though.

  6. My iCloud Library problem mirrors yours exactly, new iPhone 8 Plus and senior adviser and all, so I was hoping this would be a “eureka” moment. Alas, no dice. The progress bar isn’t even part of the equation anymore, which is a real hope killer. Looks like I’m still in the hands of Apple. I’m glad you found a solution, though.

  7. I had same issue with new iPhone 8. However like Scott it didn’t work at first I think because I chose a song that was not in my Library but was from an album I had recently listened to. Strangely some of these did show up under For You in Apple Music. I scrolled further down the track list and saw a cut I had added to my library which also had the download cloud next to it. I selected the cloud .. progress circle came up and my library started appearing… “Eureka”
    thanks!!

  8. I had same issue with new iPhone 8. However like Scott it didn’t work at first I think because I chose a song that was not in my Library but was from an album I had recently listened to. Strangely some of these did show up under For You in Apple Music. I scrolled further down the track list and saw a cut I had added to my library which also had the download cloud next to it. I selected the cloud .. progress circle came up and my library started appearing… “Eureka”
    thanks!!

  9. I just had this happen to me a couple weeks ago. I tried everything I could remember to think of, including resetting and restoring, resetting and setting up manually, but finally I called Apple. It took me 5 (very kind and professional) support people to get to an answer that I am kicking myself for not remembering to try myself in the first place, and that is the option of last resort. DFU mode. I nuked the device and reinstalled a fresh factory OS 11.2.6, and boom… iCloud Music Library worked as it’s supposed to. Now I have to manually set up my phone, but at least I have my playlists and everything back.

  10. I just had this happen to me a couple weeks ago. I tried everything I could remember to think of, including resetting and restoring, resetting and setting up manually, but finally I called Apple. It took me 5 (very kind and professional) support people to get to an answer that I am kicking myself for not remembering to try myself in the first place, and that is the option of last resort. DFU mode. I nuked the device and reinstalled a fresh factory OS 11.2.6, and boom… iCloud Music Library worked as it’s supposed to. Now I have to manually set up my phone, but at least I have my playlists and everything back.

  11. This works like a charm for me, finally my music is showing up on my new iPad! Thanks for this article, it really is the only thing that worked for me!

  12. This works like a charm for me, finally my music is showing up on my new iPad! Thanks for this article, it really is the only thing that worked for me!

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