Create Smart Playlists to find which of your songs are Apple Music, in the cloud, and more

Apple Music, your iTunes library, iCloud Music library, iTunes Match...where are your tracks being stored?

itunes12 macbook

iTunes 12

Since the launch of Apple Music, your iTunes library can contain several different types of music files, and they can be stored in different locations. You may have files that you've ripped from CDs, which are stored on your Mac. Your library probably holds some music that you bought from the iTunes Store, which may be on your Mac, or may be in the cloud. And if you've signed up for Apple Music, you might have added some music to your iTunes library. It may be local, or it may be on Apple's servers.

All this can be a bit confusing. While you don't always need to know which tracks or on your Mac or in the cloud, it can be useful. For example, if you decide to not opt for an Apple Music subscription after your three-month trial expires, you'll want to check and make sure that none of the music you've added from Apple Music to your iTunes library remains there. Or, if you need to make space on your drive, you might want to find which of your tracks are Apple music tracks or purchased tracks stored in the cloud, and delete the local copies.

You can find out where any tracks are stored using smart playlists. Here's how.

Apple Music tracks

To find which tracks in your iTunes library come from Apple Music, go to your Music library, and then click Playlists in the navigation bar. Choose File > New > Smart Playlist (or press Command-Option-N). Create a playlist with the following conditions:

Media Kind is Music
iCloud Status is Apple Music

(Click the + button after the first condition to add the second.)

apple music

Find which tracks are Apple Music tracks.

Make sure that Live Updating is checked; this means that each time you view the contents of this smart playlist it will show you the latest tracks you've added to your Music library. Click OK to save the playlist.

You'll see, when you look at this playlist that it contains all of your Apple Music tracks, and that some of its tracks display cloud icons; this tells you that the tracks aren't on your Mac, but that you can download them if you wish.

If you only want to find which of your Apple Music tracks are on your drive, taking up space, you can alter the smart playlist by adding the following condition:

Location is on the this computer

apple music local

This shows you which Apple Music tracks are on your Mac.

If you want to delete some of these tracks from your Mac—but not from your iTunes library—select one or more tracks, right-click, and then choose Remove Download.

If you want to delete all your Apple Music tracks, press Command-A to select all the tracks in this playlist, and then press Option-Shift-Delete. iTunes will ask you to confirm that you want to delete these tracks.

Tracks in the cloud

If you're using iCloud Music Library or iTunes Match, you can create a smart playlist to show you which of your tracks are stored on your Mac, and which are in the cloud. You might want to do this to delete some of the local tracks to free up space on your Mac.

Create a smart playlist with the following condition:

Location is on this computer

Press the Option key and click the + button to add another, nested condition, then click the + button to add two more:

iCloud Status is Matched
iCloud Status is Purchased
iCloud Status is Uploaded

Make sure that Match All of the following rules is selected at the top of the playlist, and that Any of the following are true is selected for the second group of conditions.

local cloud tracks

This smart playlist shows which tracks are available in the cloud, but have been downloaded to your Mac.

As above, you can delete the local copies of these tracks by selecting one or more of them, right-clicking, and then choosing Remove Download.

Smart playlists are quick and easy to create, and they help you free up space, or delete Apple Music tracks.

To comment on this article and other Macworld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.