Where do Apple Music downloads go?

Apple Music is a music streaming service developed by Apple that offers access to millions of songs for online listening and downloading. Users can stream their music library and download songs, albums or playlists for offline listening. Since launching in 2015, Apple Music has grown rapidly and now has over 88 million subscribers worldwide, cementing its position as one of the top music streaming services globally.[1][2][3] The growth of music streaming has accelerated in recent years, now accounting for over 80% of total music industry revenue. Apple Music has capitalized on this trend, providing convenient access to an extensive catalog of over 90 million songs.

Apple Music Library

The Apple Music library works by storing all of a user’s music in one place called “My Music.” This includes any songs, albums or artists the user adds to their library, whether through downloading for offline listening or just streaming.

When a user downloads a song or album in Apple Music, it is saved locally on their device in the My Music section of the app. These downloads are accessible even without an internet connection, allowing for offline listening. Apple Music keeps track of every download a user makes across all their devices.

Apple Music also keeps a record of everything a user listens to through the service, whether downloaded or streamed. This listening history is used to provide personalized recommendations and populate playlists like “My Favorites Mix.”

In summary, the My Music library in Apple Music acts as a centralized hub for all of a user’s music – downloads, streams, listening history, and recommendations. This allows Apple Music to learn a user’s taste and provide a tailored experience within one unified library.

Downloaded Music Location

Downloaded Apple Music tracks are stored in different locations depending on the device you are using:

On iOS devices like iPhones and iPads, downloads are saved to the “On My Device” section in the Apple Music app. You can find them by going to Library > Downloads. The actual file location on disk is in a protected folder that regular users cannot access directly.

On Mac computers, downloads are stored in the Music folder under your user account. The full default path is /Users/your_username/Music/Apple Music/Downloads. This folder contains the downloads for each Apple ID that is signed into the Apple Music app.

On Windows PCs, downloads are saved under C:\Users\your_username\Music\Apple Music\Downloads. This is structured similarly to the Mac folder path.

For Apple TV, downloads are stored internally and there is no direct access to the file location. You can only manage downloads through the Apple TV Music app interface.

So in summary, iOS and Apple TV keep downloads enclosed within their own apps, while Mac and Windows store them in an accessible folder on your hard drive. But in all cases, the downloads are tied to your Apple ID and Apple Music account.

Accessing Downloads

Apple Music allows users to download songs, albums and playlists for offline listening. These downloads are accessible through the Downloads section in the Apple Music app on each device.

On iPhone and iPad, users can find the Downloads section by tapping on the Library tab in the bottom navigation bar of the Apple Music app. From there, select Downloads to see all available offline content.

On Mac, the Downloads section can be accessed by clicking on the Library menu item in the top navigation bar of the Music app. Then choose Downloads to view downloads.

For Windows 10 and 11 PC users, the Downloaded Music section is located under the Library tab on the left side navigation pane of the Apple Music app.

The dedicated Downloads section allows Apple Music subscribers to easily access their full collection of downloaded content in one place. Songs and albums can be played or managed directly from this section while offline.

Downloading Limits

Apple Music allows subscribers to download up to 100,000 tracks across all of their devices. While there is no limit on how many songs can be downloaded at one time, the total number of downloads is capped at 100,000 due to licensing restrictions (source).

This download limit applies to the total number of songs downloaded across all devices logged into the same Apple ID. For example, if you download 50,000 songs on your iPhone and 50,000 songs on your iPad using the same Apple ID, you will reach the 100,000 maximum. Attempting to download additional tracks beyond the limit will result in an error message.

The 100,000 download limit has remained consistent since Apple Music’s launch in 2015. Some users have requested Apple increase the cap, but it has not changed so far (source).

In summary, Apple Music subscribers can download up to 100,000 tracks total across devices using the same Apple ID. While there is no limit on simultaneous downloads, this total cap restricts power users from saving unlimited music to their devices.

Playback Options

Apple Music offers several options for playing back downloaded music offline without an internet connection. On iPhone and iPad, downloaded content can be accessed from the Library tab by tapping the Downloaded section (1). This allows playback of downloads while offline, in the background, with the screen locked, or when using other apps.

On Mac, downloaded music is accessible in the Apple Music app by going to My Library and selecting the Downloaded section. Downloads can be played through the Music app with the computer offline. On all devices, a green arrow icon indicates downloaded content.

A key difference is that iOS devices allow background audio playback so you can listen to downloads while using other apps or with the screen locked. On Mac, playback pauses if you switch to another app. Downloads are device-specific, so the same downloads won’t be available across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Sharing Downloads

Apple Music allows you to share songs, albums, and playlists from your library with others through Messages, Mail, Facebook, and more. To share a song, album, playlist or other content from your Apple Music library:

On iPhone or iPad:

  • Open the Music app and tap on the content you want to share
  • Tap the Share icon in the upper right corner (shaped like a box with an arrow coming out of it)
  • Select the app you want to share through like Messages, Mail, Facebook, etc.

On Mac:

  • Open the Music app and select the content to share
  • Click File > Share Song (or Share Album or Share Playlist)
  • Choose the sharing method you want like Messages, Mail, Facebook, AirDrop and more

You can share full songs, albums or playlists with anyone. However, the recipient will only be able to play a full shared song if they also have an Apple Music subscription. Non-subscribers can still preview 30-second clips of shared songs.

Apple Music downloads can also be shared with family members through Family Sharing. This allows up to 6 family members to access each others’ Apple Music libraries and downloads.

To set up Family Sharing for Apple Music:(Source)

  • Go to Settings > [your name] > Set Up Family Sharing on your device
  • Add family members to your plan
  • Make sure Apple Music is enabled in the list of shareable services

Once configured, family members can view and download each other’s Apple Music content by going to the Music app > Account > Family Purchases.

Download Management

Users have several options for managing their Apple Music downloads within the Music app. One way is to use smart playlists to organize downloaded songs. As noted by Norm Karns, you can create smart playlists to separate your downloaded Apple Music songs from songs stored locally or in the cloud.

The Music app also allows you to view only your downloaded songs under the Downloaded Music section in your library. Here you can browse, play, add to playlists or delete downloads. Downloads will have a small arrow icon next to them.

To delete downloads, swipe left on the song row and tap delete. You can delete individual songs or use the Delete All Downloads option at the top of the Downloaded Music section to remove everything. Downloads will remain accessible until the 30-day limit expires if not manually deleted.

Users have full control over what gets downloaded for offline playback from Apple Music. You can manually download any song, album or playlist by tapping the + icon next to it. Downloads can also be managed under Account Settings > Music.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you are having issues downloading or accessing your Apple Music tracks, here are some tips to try:

Check your iCloud and Apple Music settings – Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud and make sure that iCloud Music Library is enabled. Also go to Settings > Music and check that Downloads, Automatic Downloads, and Cellular Data are turned on.

Check your network connection – Make sure you have a strong WiFi or cellular data connection when trying to download songs. Downloading can be interrupted by a weak network connection.

Toggle iCloud Music Library off/on – Go to Settings > Music and toggle off iCloud Music Library. Restart your device and then turn iCloud Music Library back on. This may resync your library and downloads.

Reauthorize your computer – Open iTunes on your computer, go to Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer. Then reauthorize the computer and retry downloading.

Update iOS – Make sure you have the latest iOS software update installed. Apple sometimes fixes Music app issues in software updates.

Reset network settings – Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. This will reset networking on your device which can resolve download problems.

Contact Apple Support – For additional help, you can contact Apple Support online or by phone. They can assist with troubleshooting and fixing any persisting issues.


To briefly recap, when you download music from Apple Music, the files are saved locally on your device in the Apple Music app library. On iOS devices, downloads are stored within the app itself and you can access them by tapping on the Downloaded Music section. On Mac, downloads are saved in the Music folder under Apple Music.

The number of downloads you can save is limited based on your membership type. You can listen to your downloads offline and also share them with other devices logged into your Apple ID. It’s important to manage your downloads by deleting old ones you no longer want to save space. If you have issues accessing downloads, you can try rebooting your device, checking for updates, or contacting Apple support for troubleshooting help.

In summary, Apple Music downloads provide a great way to listen offline and are easy to use once you know where to find them and how to manage them properly.

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