iTunes update coming next week to address file deletion reports

Although Apple wasn't able to reproduce the widely reported iTunes library deletion issue, it will release a patch in the coming days to try and mitigate the problem.

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If you’ve been hit by the apparent bug that causes Apple Music users to lose their iTunes music files, here’s some good news and bad news: The bad news is that Apple hasn’t been able to reproduce the issue so far. The good news? An update coming next week should help mitigate any possible bug.

In a statement to iMore, Apple confirmed receiving reports from users, stating that “in an extremely small number of cases users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission.” According to the statement, Apple is looking into why this is happening, though its engineers haven’t yet encountered the issue themselves.

Apple will continue to look into what’s causing the apparent bug, but in the meantime, iMore reports, the company will release an update next week that “includes additional safeguards” to prevent music files from being unexpectedly deleted from users’ computers. 

The story behind the story: The possible issue of iTunes deleting music files unexpectedly first came to light in a blog post published earlier this month in which an iTunes user named James Pinkstone claims that iTunes deleted his entire 122GB music library because he subscribes to Apple Music. Our Kirk McElhearn notes that, although it’s possible that Pinkstone encountered a bug that caused his music files to disappear into the ether, Apple Music isn’t designed to work that way. Instead, it’ll scan your iTunes library, match your music with items in Apple’s catalog, and then store your music in the cloud so you can access it from all your devices. 

Is user confusion to blame?

Although it’s certainly possible that an iTunes bug is wiping users’ libraries—iTunes’s glitchiness has been well documented—it’s also possible that some users are simply getting confused. As MacNN points out, former Macworld editorial director (and occasional contributor) Jason Snell highlighted a confusing iTunes alert box on Twitter that he thinks may be causing at least some of the missing-music problems.

Of course, a poorly written dialog box doesn’t exactly absolve Apple in this case—it’s Apple’s responsibility to make its software as clear and as easy to use as possible—but it’s a plausible explanation for what has been, so far, a mystery to the company.

Disclosure: The author of this article provides copywriting services to TechSoup, a nonprofit organization that works with Apple subsidiary FileMaker, Inc., and many other technology companies, to provide nonprofits with technology products and services. His role at TechSoup does not influence his work for this publication.

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