Over my Christmas break, a family member of mine was having an issue where a favorite album was not available in the Music app on their iPhone. Looking in the iTunes Store for said album, it did in fact show that it was purchased previously from the iTunes Store, but there was no way to re-download it. After some troubleshooting, I found the issue and was able to get the album back. Here are the steps I went through (for the record, my fix was option 3).
Yeah ok this is cliché, but it’s true. Rebooting can fix a lot of issues. It’s no secret at this point, even on mobile. In this case though, it didn’t help my issue. So I went onto step 2.
2: Sign Out of iTunes/iCloud and Sign Back In
I did this along with a reboot in-between the sign out and sign in process. In this case I signed her out of her account first in iTunes account in the iTunes Store app. To do this, I scrolled down to the bottom of the iTunes Store app home page and tapped the box labeled “Apple ID” with the email address next to it. A box popped up, and I hit the “Sign Out” option. Note that if you’re listening to any music on that device it will stop playing, and any music that you have purchased or downloaded will no longer be visible in the app. So that’s normal.
Next, I went into the Settings app and clicked the iCloud banner that had the person’s name in it. Scrolling down to the very bottom of that page, I hit the “Sign Out” button. After this you’re going to get several prompts confirming you want to sign out, whether you want to leave a copy of anything on your device, and whether you want to sign out of “Find My”. You want to sign out completely including “Find My”. If you’re concerned about your data then leave a copy, but if you want to be thorough, then say it’s okay not to leave a copy. Once it’s signed out, meaning your name is no longer in the Apple ID section of the Settings app, then go ahead and reboot the device.
Once it’s reboot, go ahead and sign back into iCloud in the Settings App, then into the iTunes Store app. Now search for the music you’re looking for and see if you can download it or if it’s in the Music app.
In my case, it didn’t solve the issue, but fortunately the next thing did, which is something I forgot about given it’s a little talked-about thing.
3: Hidden Music
Apple gives you the option to hide purchased music from your Library and in the iTunes Store. It’s a nice feature if you have music you’re either embarrassed about or don’t want to accidentally accessed when someone is using your device. That said, I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone intentionally use this feature. The times I remember it is always when someone tells me they’re missing music. And in my case, that’s exactly what happened.
To see what music has been hidden and un-hide it, open the iTunes Store app and scroll down to the bottom until you see the “Apple ID” section with your email address next to it. Tap it, and then tap “View Apple ID” in the menu that pops up. In the new window, scroll down until you get to the button that says “Hidden Purchases”. Tapping this button will show you any music, movies, and TV shows that you’ve purchased and hidden (or that has been hidden for some reason).
To un-hide it, just hit the Download button next to the song or album (it should be a cloud with a down arrow), and it should start downloading to your device and no longer be hidden. If you’ve got a lot of media, you can also go to “All Songs” in the left sidebar and then hit the “Download All” icon in the top right hand corner (it also looks like a cloud with a down arrow).
For us, going back to the Music app, we were able to see the album when searched for and play music from it.
I offer two other fixes below in the event this one doesn’t solve your problem.
4: Reinstall the Music App
Now this may come as a surprise to some people, but Apple lets you uninstall some of the built-in apps from your iPhone, including the Music app. To do so is also pretty much the same as any other iPhone app. Press and hold on the Music icon on your home screen, and then hit “Remove App” in the menu that appears. It will then ask to confirm if you want to delete the app, as well as the data inside. Go ahead and confirm both. You’ll then see the music icon disappear. Likewise you may see some more iPhone storage become available if you have a lot of it on there.
I would suggest giving the device about 5 minutes to let it do its thing, followed by a reboot. Once you’ve done this you can reinstall the app by going to the App Store, and searching for “Music”. It should be one of the first apps that appear in the search results. Just re-download it, and you should see it back on the Home Screen soon with your music also repopulating.
5: Reset the iPhone Settings (or the entire iPhone)
Now these may be rather extreme steps, so hopefully you don’t get this far. In the event you do though, here are the final things you can try to do.
To reset just the settings, but keep most everything else, go to the Settings App, tap on the “General” section, then scroll down to “Transfer or Reset” near the very bottom of the device (it may just say “Reset for devices running something older than iOS/iPadOS 15). In the new window hit “Reset” again, then hit “Reset All Settings”. Doing this will cause your iPhone to reboot and forget all your settings such as Wi-Fi passwords, Bluetooth devices, logins, etc., but your apps and most everything else will still be there. After the reboot, go back to the iTunes Store and ensure you’re signed into the Store with your Apple ID. Then go back to the album or song in question and try to download it, or see if it’s now available in the Music app.
If all else fails, see about wiping the device by going back to the Reset menu, but instead hit “Erase All Contents and Settings”, which will erase everything on your device and reset it back to factory defaults.
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