Use Apple Music Without iCloud Music Library in iTunes and on iOS

Apple Music has some 40 million tracks, and has become one of the leading music streaming services. The promise of Apple Music and iCloud Music Library was that you can mix your personal music library with the music in the cloud, and create a seamless listening experience.

In practice, this is problematic. iCloud Music Library screws up metadata, not only on your own files, but on its own files after you add them to your library. (Here’s one example of how this happens.) As such, I strongly recommend that anyone with a carefully tagged music library avoid using iCloud Music Library.

However, there’s nothing stopping you from using Apple Music. You’ll be able to play music from Apple’s cloud, but the only thing you won’t be able to do is add that music to your library, or note which tracks you “love.” This is a small price to pay for saving your music library from destruction.

All you need to do is turn on Apple Music, but not turn on iCloud Music Library. In iTunes, you do this in the General preferences:

Itunes general

And in iOS, go to Settings > Music, then turn on Apple Music, but don’t turn on iCloud Music Library.

Ios music settings

If either iTunes or your iOS device prompt you to turn on iCloud Music Library at some later date, just say no.

8 thoughts on “Use Apple Music Without iCloud Music Library in iTunes and on iOS

  1. So glad you’re letting people know about this option. In macOS Sierra iTunes, I never have to worry about the ghostly fingers of Apple messing with my main library of files (named Alembic) that I own.

    I rarely use that library to stream Apple Music, however, because it’s so trivial to switch to a second iTunes library (called Iovine) in which Apple Music and iCloud Music are enabled, and it includes only stuff I’ve added from Apple Music but none of my own files.

  2. So glad you’re letting people know about this option. In macOS Sierra iTunes, I never have to worry about the ghostly fingers of Apple messing with my main library of files (named Alembic) that I own.

    I rarely use that library to stream Apple Music, however, because it’s so trivial to switch to a second iTunes library (called Iovine) in which Apple Music and iCloud Music are enabled, and it includes only stuff I’ve added from Apple Music but none of my own files.

  3. It’s great to know about this option. That was one of my biggest problems when I took the free trial of Apple Music at launch.

    The second was that it was impossible to create online playlists and listen to them later, or on another device. Do you know if Apple has caught up with the rest of this streaming world on this too?

  4. It’s great to know about this option. That was one of my biggest problems when I took the free trial of Apple Music at launch.

    The second was that it was impossible to create online playlists and listen to them later, or on another device. Do you know if Apple has caught up with the rest of this streaming world on this too?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.