Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade to iTunes 12.2

I’ve never before recommended that you don’t upgrade to the latest version of iTunes, but I am doing so now. If you haven’t yet done so, don’t upgrade to iTunes 12.2, at least if your music library and its tags are important to you.

I installed iTunes 12.2 on my test computer, a MacBook Pro, and quickly found that it changed a lot of my artwork and tags. This is a small library, containing music copied from my larger library, which is on my iMac. So I’m not particularly concerned about the integrity of the tags. I use that library for testing.

But it is a mess. I have an iTunes Match subscription, and many of my tracks show as Apple Music files, which include DRM.

There is a long thread on Apple’s support forums, with people discussing this issue.

The real problem is the iCloud Music Library; that’s what gets tags and artwork from Apple’s servers, and replaces yours. If this option is off, then nothing will be changed, but it may be on by default when you launch iTunes the first time (this depends on whether or not you’re logged into the iTunes Store).

Stars and loves

I had high hopes for Apple Music, in part because of the unique ability Apple has to integrate both music you own and music you rent; combining your own iTunes library with what you can stream. But it is a dismal failure.

My music library is sacred. I’ve spent a lot of time ripping CDs, tagging files, and adding artwork. One poorly designed version of iTunes can ruin all that work. If your music library is important, don’t upgrade to iTunes 12.2.

30 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade to iTunes 12.2

  1. My iTunes 12.2 doesn’t show that option at all in prefs. Maybe it only does if your apple-id is associated with iTunes Match?

      • I’m signed in and I don’t see that option. I don’t have iTunes Match.

        So far I have noted that iTunes 12.2 changed some films to home movies and a radio show to a music file. Nothing else, thank goodness.

  2. Sounds like the issue is really with Apple Music’s iCloud Music Library and/or iTunes Match. I have neither and have not seen those issues. I think it’s fair to say that if one subscribes to either of those cloud services, iTunes 12.2 facilitates their screwing up of one’s music library.

    • Yes, but if you plan to use Apple Music, and you want to store playlists or add music to your library, you need to turn on iCloud Music Library.

  3. When I initially upgraded, my 76,000 tracks imported from CDs were gone. I was able to use a backup to get everything back, but many files are now missing artwork, even though it had previously been embedded.
    I have Apple Music and iCloud Music turned off, and will likely keep it that way.

  4. After upgrading to iTunes 12.2, the Show Apple Music setting was automatically turned on in iTunes > Preferences (on my Mac). After opening iTunes 12.2, I signed into the iTunes Store. But I have not seen any corruption of my iTunes music files (e.g., no changes to tags, no DRM added to my music files).

    I do not use iTunes Match, and I have not activated the Apple Music trial. So maybe the corruption that some are seeing is a combination of 1) being an iTunes Match user, 2) having Show Apple Music enabled, and 3) activating the Apple Music free trial.

    FYI that I subsequently turned off the Show Apple Music setting in iTunes > Preferences on my Mac, thanks to the recommendation from Kirk a day or two ago.

  5. Kirk — Much thanks for your diligence on this. Many put a lot of value on your thoughts. Indeed the general tab preferences panel will look different than your capture if your are not subscribed to Match, even when signed in to the iTunes Store.

  6. Another reason not to rely on any cloud service from Apple.
    For what it’s worth, I don’t have iTunes Match, I didn’t join Apple Music, and I don’t have the described problems.

  7. Shudder. As if the changes in the evolution from iTunes 10 to 12 weren’t illogical and just plain bad enough…now this. I would die if my library were compromised in this manner. Apple is quickly becoming the company whose software I loathe the most. I wish there were some other option for music management-syncing to iOS than iTunes. Pitiful.

    • Z — Check out the Younity app for full mobile access (both streaming and download) of your iTunes media on all your iOS devices.

  8. Kirk – I also DO NOT see an option for iCloud Music Library in my iTunes 12.2. I am logged in to the store, but I do not have iTunes Match nor have I enabled the Apple Music Trial. Likewise, I also DO NOT have an iCloud Music Library option under Settings>Music in iOS 8.4 either.

    I’m inclined to agree with others above that maybe you only see those options if you’re an active user of Match or Apple Music. So far, I have not seen any changes in my Library.

    Should I downgrade to iTunes 12.1.2 and iOS 8.3?

    One side question, in the Music App in iOS, what do the little phone icons in the upper right corner of the song titles mean?

    • That icon presumably mean your songs have been downloaded to iPhone or iPad, and you can listen to it when you go offline.

  9. Just to eliminate profound confusion regarding Apple Music: For songs that I have ripped from CD with ALAC compression (I donĀ“t have iTunesMatch), Apple Music will match these songs. So far, so good. When I download these songs, they will have DRM. Ok, I understand. But what will happen to my original ripped songs with ALAC compression – will they be deleted?? According to iMore (http://www.imore.com/apple-music-vs-itunes-match-whats-difference) they will not be touched by Apple, but according to Kirk M. Apple will wipe these songs out – is this true?

      • Propably a silly questions, but this is really confusing…..
        In my iMac there are several music files with AAC-256 compression which I ripped from CD many years ago. Previously the file type were AAC. After matching with Apple Music the file type has changed to mp4. Does this mean that these songs are DRM protected? Where are the original songs with file type AAC?

  10. Thanks for all the excellent reporting. My pre-Apple Music iTunes Match collection was pretty stable although iTunes Match would sometimes “Match” mono mixes with stereo versions even though the mono versions are in the iTunes Store.

    Knew the risks and decided to take the iCloud Music Library plunge. So far it seems I have been VERY lucky: the only problem is more mono mixes are swapped out for stereo.

    Pre Apple Music iTunes Match mono match/upload success rate was about 90%, now it is about 50%.

    Here’s hoping that Eddie Cue and team work hard on fixing and improving the iCloud Music Library experience. When it works right, it’s pretty awesome.

    Look forward to reading your future posts and thanks again.

  11. I wish I would’ve seen this article sooner. I did the upgrade. I really should’ve known better, but I went ahead and downloaded 12.2 anyway. It has made a mess of my library. I am so disappointed in iTunes and Eddy Cue. Instead of (badly) trying to dance around onstage at WWDC, he should be really focusing on fixing this mess that is called iTunes.

  12. I need to switch between regions. So iTunes match is not applicable. Now as long as I know apple is not good at maintaining cloud services, comparing with Microsoft, I will keep away from apple music.

    I have iTunes upgraded to 12.2, with no obvious issue. Library is intact, and it is not touched by match or apple music.

    Thanks for your blog post. And I wish you could post more such valuable blog posts in the future.


  13. I only use iTunes to sync my playlist via USB or WiFi from my Mac to my iPad and iPhone. I do not want to use any of Apple’s cloud or new streaming services. I do not use Match. All of the songs in my playlist were purchased from Apple, HD Tracks, Pono, and Onkyo or ripped from CDs. I have been holding off on updating my Mac and iPad and iPhone because of all of the problems. Should I continue to hold off on updating? If I update my Mac and iDevices and keep the cloud turned off and do not sign up for Apple’s streaming services, would I be safe and will I still be able to sync my playlist from my Mac to my iPad and iPhone via USB and WiFi?

    When people update, are there options to decline the cloud and Apple’s streaming services during set up or is it a race against time to change the settings before playlists and artwork are destroyed?

    I have spent a lot of time organizing my playlist and adding art, etc. I do not want anything to happen to it. I have backed up my music and playlist, but I do not want to have to rebuild or fix anything.

    Just think of the millions of Apple users who are freaking out right now. No wonder the stock price is falling.

      • Thank you, Kirk. I updated iTunes on my Mac and then updated iOS on my iPhone and iPad tonight. I did not sign up for Apple Music, I have cloud disabled for everything except Find My iPhone, I shut off Connect, and I switched off Show Apple Music. I do not use Match.

        I synced my playlist from my Mac to my iPhone via WiFi tonight and it worked well. The album art on one album disappeared on a few songs, but I used your tip to copy an extra album cover in those songs in iTunes on my Mac and then synced again. Perfect!

        No songs or playlist lost or messed up. All is well.

        I am not interested in streaming with Apple. I am very relieved to see that I can still use iTunes to sync the songs I purchase.

  14. Are people also having problems adding music files from their PC or Mac to iTunes 12.2? Whenever I choose “add file to library” it doesn’t do anything at all which is so frustrating!

  15. Also something thats missing is Home Sharing long gone in iTunes 12.2 and iOS 8.4! Glad I downgraded to iOS8.3 and didn’t upgrade to iTunes 12.2!

  16. Just to let people know, the problems ARE NOT limited to those who use Apple Music or Music Match. I downloaded 12.2, declined both of those services, and was surprised to see more than half of my TV Shows now being identified as Music. Worse, it will not let me reclassify them as TV Shows, no matter what methods I try. Artwork also went missing on several albums, but I’m used to that happening every couple of releases, so no surprise there.

  17. I should have read this earlier! 12.2 messed up my sync entirely! I can’t sync Apps and when I updated via the iPhone, most of them can’t open! What to do? This is a huge mess and needs to be fixed right away!

  18. I wish I had seen this earlier. All I did was approve my MacBook Pro’s suggested update, and now I’ve lost all the thousands of songs I’ve ripped and curated over the past 15 years.
    Most of which are gone physically too… but that’s just because people like the steal things from Honda Civics. What a bad day! This is not acceptable. I’m completely heart broken, but will get to the bottom of this.

  19. OMG…I was trying to help my wife with a new iPod kids got her for running….and of course…the #$%@ apple iPod OS wouldn’t work w/o “upgrading” to newest iTunes 12.2.x

    Normally, I research these things but wanted to help her out quickly so she could use new device…so not listening to my more cautious half, I let my iMac upgrade from v 11.x itunes, to 12.x with looking at web responses….don’t you hate it when you don’t listen to what your gut is telling you?

    But, I though after all how much could Apple F#$kup playlists….and existing music? right?

    It turns out they can ruin them extremely well, I lost art, descriptions, ripped MP3 uploaded from my CD disappeared w/o explanation…. and losing the side bar that i have to keep “re-selecting” is a total pain….

    iTunes has become a giant (and I mean giant…radio, music, video, etc ) blob of bloatware that tries to do too many things and does none of them well. It’s “personal music” player good days were gone years ago…I’m looking for for ways to get apple out of my music life. I know how I want to use and manage my music, and THIS my friends is NOT it…

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