You attempt to play your favorite music on your iPhone or iPad only to discover that it’s gone. Wait, it was there the last time you checked!
Yes, your music can go missing in action. The sync setting for that album may have been turned off. You could have deleted the music by accident. There’s even a chance you tried to sync your music with iCloud, but it removed the music from your mobile device. So how do you get it back? Let’s look at the ways to restore your missing music.
Look for Missing Music
Connect Your Device
You may just find that the checkbox for syncing that album has been turned off. Check the checkbox for that album and sync your music. After the sync, open the Music app on your device and look for the album. Play the songs to make sure the whole album is now syncing.
Couldn’t find the album in iTunes or the Music app? The album may still be in your collection but just hidden or otherwise not showing up in your library. Open Windows Explorer/Finder and browse to your iTunes or music library. Look for the missing album.
If you find it, return to iTunes. Click on File > Add Folder to Library. On a Mac running Catalina, open the Music app, click on File > Import. Browse to the folder for the album and click Select Folder or Open. You should see the message that iTunes or the Music app is adding the files. Afterward, the missing album should reappear. You can then sync it with your iPhone or iPad.
Still coming up empty? The album may have been deleted from your computer. If you ripped the album to iTunes or the Music app from a CD, look for the CD and rip it again. If you no longer own the CD and you have no backup, you’ll have to purchase the album from iTunes.
If you bought the album from iTunes, you should be able to download it again. To do this, click the Store link in iTunes or the iTunes Store entry in the Catalina Music app. On the right side under Music Quick Links, click the link for Purchased. If the album you seek doesn’t appear in the Not in My Library section under Purchased, click the button for All to see all your music purchases.
By default, iTunes shows you any albums that you’ve purchased but that aren’t in your library. If you see the album you want to restore, click the download icon in the upper-right corner of the album art. After the download, return to your iTunes or music library. Look for the album. Play the first few seconds of each song to make sure each one was restored. Then sync the album with your iPhone or iPad.
Still not showing up? Return to the main screen for Store. Click the link for Account on the right side of the screen under Music Quick Links. Sign into your iTunes account and click Account again. At your Account screen, click the Manage link in the iTunes in the Cloud section to unhide any hidden, re-downloadable purchases.
Select the album you want to recover and click the Unhide button under the album art. Return to the Purchased section and you should now see the album appear in the Not in My Library section. Click the download button to restore it and then sync it with your iPhone or iPad.
Find Missing Music on Your Device
If you purchased your missing album directly on your iPhone or iPad and never synced it or stored it through iTunes, you can restore it from your mobile device directly. Open the iTunes Store app on your device. On an iPhone, tap More > Purchase > Music, while an iPad allows you to just tap Purchased and shows the categories for music, movies, and TV shows automatically. You should be able to find your missing music from here. Tap the Download icon next to an album or song to restore it to your device.
Test Restored Music
After the album has downloaded, tap the Play button for the first song. The album should open in the Music app to play the song you selected. Now open the entire album in Music and play the first few seconds of each song to make sure the entire album is intact.