Deleting music from iphone but keeping it in iCloud

iOS & iPadOS

Hi! I have had my 64 GB iPhone 6 for nearly a year now, and when I bought it I had already become a keen buyer of music from iTunes: in fact, I still buy music from the iTunes store quite often, in spite of having subscribed to Apple Music, as I want to be able to keep any songs I really like for good, even if I decide to give up on Apple Music one day. Little did I know how much music i would buy over the last 11 months or so, therefore I set my iPhone so that all music purchases downloaded to it automatically: I mostly listen to my music collection through my iPhone these days, so that seemed a convenient way to have music to listen to offline. As I am an iTunes Match subscriber, my entire music library is in iCloud anyway, so obviously I can stream it when I have an Internet connection. After a huge amount of iTunes purchases, with more to come as I prefer to buy music I like, my iPhone is getting rather full. So I'd like to know, what is the simplest way to delete music from my iPhone without losing it from iCloud as well? Can i simply delete music that has been downloaded to the iPhone but still have it on iCloud, or should I do something a bit more complex than that? Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me on this, which may be useful to other people too.



Submitted by Callum on Saturday, August 29, 2015


When you delete music from your iPhone, the music should all stay in iCloud. You can either delete music from the iPhone directly or you can plug it into your PC or Mac and delete music from it that way, but either way it should stay in iCloud. One way to check would be to set your iPhone to show only music available offline, that way you'll be able to see what's on your phone and what's in iCloud.

Hope this helps.

Thanks very much for your reply, which very helpfully reminded me that music will stay in iCloud even when it's not actually downloaded to my iphone. I'm probably worrying unnecessarily about losing music anyway, especially as most of the music downloaded to my phone has been purchased from iTunes, so it's put straight into iCloud for that reason. At some point soon I'll have to make time to go through my offline music on my iPhone and decide what to keep downloaded and what to delete from it. If anyone else has anything to say on this particular topic I've raised here, they're still welcome to do so.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Saturday, August 29, 2015

From a fellow music lover, I strongly recommend that you back up your purchases from iTunes to your PC outside of the iTunes Music folder. This way, should something happen, you have a solid way to get your music back. Ultimately, I recommend that you actually back up to your PC and to a stand-alone external hard drive. Call me paranoid or old fashioned but I like to knowledge that I have my stuff secured should calamity strike.


Many thanks for that good advice: you'll be pleased to know that I already follow it. Any music I purchase from iTunes gets downloaded to my PC anyway, but then I copy the purchased music into a bigger folder where I keep all the music I have on my computer, including plenty which didn't originally come from iTunes. That big music folder is part of an even bigger personal data folder which I copy to my external hard drive fairly regularly.

Submitted by Clare Page on Thursday, September 3, 2015

Thanks to those who gave me advice after my query which started this thread. I have carried it out, and I now have 8 GB of music downloaded to my iPhone instead of over 20 GB as I had before, with the rest still in iCloud; However, I wish to share a tip with you which might make things easier if you want to delete downloaded music from your i-device and are using IOS 8.4.1. When I tried to delete music while in the Music app as I used to do, the only option I could find which was anything like Delete was one called "Remove from My Music", which gave me the impression anything I deleted would disappear from my library altogether. You may be surprised to know that I could delete music more easily from my iPhone by going into usage in Settings. After having seen the amount of memory used on my phone in Usage, I chose Manage Storage, then I could see how much space music was taking up, and there was a button labelled with this information which I could double-tap to get a more detailed view. This view was of all the artists in alphabetical order: I could delete everything by a particular artist by flicking down to Delete while focused on their name, or I could hit the button with the artist's name on it and deleete individual songs by that artist in the same way. In these further screens within usage the artists and titles listed are obviously only ones that are using memory on the i-device, so there's no risk of losing music which is up in iCloud but not actually on the device. Sorry this is a bit long, but I hope it makes sense! It definitely worked well for me, and my library is still intact, both in iCloud and actually on my iPhone.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hey Clare, thanks for spelling this one out in detail. I have been running into storage issues. I have looked at this area a bit but chickened out. I had previously turned off Apple Music sync to the iCloud on the PC and iPhone and deselected some check boxes to remove music and resynced the phone but did not notice much improvement in storage for some reason. After deleting artists I thought were already removed from my phone as mentioned above, in the manner you described, I was able to gain back some storage. Appreciate you.

Submitted by ericwhittencool on Thursday, September 3, 2015

I have an ipod touch 4th gen, and that is where I keep all of my music. I do not have itunes match. I am still old school I guess. I even still have CDS. I usually deleete music from my mac and choose to keep the files.

Submitted by Clare Page on Thursday, September 3, 2015

Nothing wrong with preferring CD's and not using iTunes Match! I used to be the same, until I found I wanted to use my iPhone more and more for listening to music, at which point I decided to join iTunes Match. We all have our own preferences, so do whatever works best for you.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hope someone can help. I would like to delete radio station from my iPhone 6. Using iOS 8.4.1. Unlike iOS 8.3 I knew how to delete them but now I can not figure out how to delete it. Any help will be great.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hello Holger:

As of iOS 8.4, to my knowledge, there isn't any way to remove a radio station. Perhaps when iOS 9 is released sometime in the next week or so this will be remedied. Apple Music is a new baby and babies need some training. I'm sure that Apple is aware of this oops by now and is working on it.