Cancelling iTunes Match? Here’s how to download your iCloud Music Library before you do so

For many people the renewal is nigh, but you should prep before canceling.

itunes match
Apple

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by Macworld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

If you’re like me, you signed up for iTunes Match almost as soon as it was announced exactly eight years ago. The service cost $25 per year then and now, and it solved two separate problems for iTunes Store music buyers.

First, iTunes Match provided high-quality versions from the iTunes Store of any songs that iTunes could match against your collection of ripped music or music acquired from other sources. Second, it synced all your music, matched or not, across all your iCloud-linked devices. Now, this caused oceans of problems for mismatches, but that’s a separate topic.

Because of the November 2011 launch date, many people just received their annual renewal notice and wondered if it’s still worth it. In the current world order, iTunes Match (which has kept the iTunes name) enables what Apple calls iCloud Music Library. Everything synced across it among devices is DRM-free, and can be played on any device if copied separately.

But you can also use Apple Music to enable iCloud Music Library. If you have Apple Music and not iTunes Match, songs retrieved from Apple Music are locked to playback with Apple Music, and will be deleted or be unplayable without an active subscription. (You can use both Apple Music and iTunes Match at the same time, although that can lead to songs you own and ripped on one machine being downloaded as locked versions on another device!)

If your goal is to cancel iTunes Match, you should ensure you have a full copy of all your music on one of your Macs before proceeding.

  1. Use Jason Snell’s Nov. 14, 2011, advice to replace all local copies of songs that aren’t downloaded with ones that are. His 8-year-old instructions are still accurate in iTunes up to Mojave and in the Music app in Catalina. (That’s just how much Apple changed iTunes in that period!)

  2. In iTunes or the Music app, choose Account > View My Account.

  3. Scroll down to the Settings area and click the Manage link to the right of Subscriptions.

  4. Find the iTunes Match item and click Edit.

  5. Click Cancel Subscription.

smart album for itunes match downloads IDG

Create a smart album to delete and then download matched songs.

The subscription remains active until the end of the current year, which is noted to the right of the Cancel Subscription button.

Ask Mac 911

We’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked most frequently along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQ to see if your question is covered. If not, we’re always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to mac911@macworld.com including screen captures as appropriate, and whether you want your full name used. Not every question will be answered, we don’t reply to email, and we cannot provide direct troubleshooting advice.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon