Delete music from your iPhone directly, or via iTunes 12

Delete music from your iPhone directly, or via iTunes 12


While it’s great to have every album you own always in your pocket, over time this can present storage issues – especially if you sport an 8GB iPhone. Thankfully this isn’t as much of an issue as you might think.

Any music you buy from the iTunes store is always available to download again if you delete it, and Apple’s iTunes Match means that you can have access to your entire sonic catalogue for £21.99 per year, provided you’re happy to stream or selectively download content when you need it. There’s also Apple Music, which offers a huge collection of music and videos ready to stream at any time for £10 a month. 

The great thing about iTunes Match and Apple Music is you can download any track from your collection and listen to it whenever you want (as long as you have a data connection). It’s also good because you can delete any tracks on your phone if you need to and be confident that they will still be there in the cloud the next time you want to play them.

If you’d prefer not to store your music in the cloud, you can still go old school and use your Mac or PC as the central storage hub for your library, and plug your phone in when you want to sync up albums.

So, with these failsafes in place, how can you delete music from your iPhone and free up space for videos, photos, and games?

Read next: How to spring clean your iPhone: tidy up iOS and get your iPhone to work better | How to remove duplicate songs from iTunes | How to sync an iPhone to iTunes without removing content

How to delete music from an iPhone: One album at a time

By default, the iPhone Music app doesn’t only show the music stored on your iPhone – it also shows every song or album you have purchased from your iTunes account, even if that track isn’t on your phone. If you are an iTunes Match subscriber you’ll see every track and album you own, even if that track is only stored in the cloud and not on your device.

This can be a little confusing when you’re trying to ascertain which tracks to remove, so the first thing to do is change the settings. To do this go to Settings > Music > Show All Music and slide the button to the left, turning it off.

Now when you launch the Music app you’ll have a much clearer picture of the content that is stored on your phone.

To delete any of the albums or songs in your library start by selecting Albums or Songs from the bottom menu (if you can’t see one of these options click on More).

Find the track or album you wish to delete and simply swipe it to the left, you’ll see a red box with Delete appear. Tap this and the album or track will be removed.

Note that if you don’t have the music backed up in iTunes on your Mac, or in the cloud, you might lose the album or have to re-import it to iTunes if you want to add it to your phone again. If you bought the music from iTunes you will be able to download it again for free.

And remember to return to Settings and turn back on the Show All Music option so you’ll be able to download the albums you’ve bought from iTunes again.

Read: How to stop using iTunes, the best iTunes alternatives

How to delete music from an iPhone: All at once

If you have a lot of albums stored on your phone, or just want to wipe the slate clean and start again, then there is a quick way to delete everything in one go. To do this navigate to Settings > General > Usage then in the Storage section you’ll see the option to Manage Storage. Tap this.

You’ll next be presented with a list of all the apps on your phone that are currently storing data.

Scroll until you find the Music app, then tap it to continue.

Your music library will be displayed, with the space each album takes up shown to the right of its title. In the upper right hand corner of the screen there is an Edit button, tap this and red circles will appear by your content.

To delete everything just tap the one next to All Songs.

Alternatively, if you’ve seen something you’d like to keep, then you can just tap the circles by the albums you want to remove. Once you’ve made your choices go back up to the top right corner and tap Done.

How to delete music from an iPhone: Using iTunes 12

Another tried and tested solution, for those who don’t mind plugging their iPhone into a computer, is to use iTunes.

After connecting your device click on the iPhone icon in the top left area of the screen, then select Music from the On My Device section in the left-hand column.

In the central pane you’ll see the various artists, albums, and playlists stored on your phone. To delete them first use the cmd+A key combination to select everything, then hit the backspace/delete key.

You’ll be asked if you really want to delete the chosen music from your device, click on Delete and said items will promptly disappear.

Remember, so long as you have them in your iTunes library or bought them from iTunes itself, the music will be available again, as you’re only deleting them from your phone and not your computer. To finish the process click on the Summary option at the top of the left hand column, then in the main pane click on Apply at the bottom right of the screen.

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