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Question: Apple Music - Restore Deleted Playlists

Does anyone know of a way to restore deleted playlists in the latest version of Apple Music?

iMac 27", macOS 10.15

Posted on May 18, 2020 11:35 AM

Question marked as Solved

Yes. Exactly so.


Posted on May 23, 2020 1:54 PM

Question marked as Helpful

May 23, 2020 1:45 PM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

Thanks so much!. I opened the old itl and was indeed able to get at my playlists. I've exported them all to save them. When opening the Music app I was able to view my songs, as they were in December, and was able to play them without issue.

Now I am looking to restore the library from May 14 so that all my songs since December are also included. I am restoring the ..Music/iTunes/iTunes Music directory which contains all my content and the ../Music/Music Library.musiclibrary file from May 14. I assume that when I option-start Music this time I'll want to point to the Music Library.musiclbrary file rather than the old .itl file from December. Is that correct?

May 23, 2020 1:45 PM

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May 19, 2020 7:27 AM in response to cmealha In response to cmealha

No, the .itl file would be the last impression of your pre-upgrade library. Potentially useful as a recovery library if Catalina made a mess of the upgrade, or the Music library is lost and unrecoverable from backup. Given you have iCloud Music Library you will need to restore a backup of your Music Library.musiclibrary database while offline, export any content you need to restore, then reimport it once your library has synced to the cloud again.


May 19, 2020 7:27 AM

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May 19, 2020 7:37 PM in response to cmealha In response to cmealha

Your screenshot of Finder shows no folder called iTunes in the path, which is referred to in the other screenshots of track information. Have you moved content, or changed the path to the media folder in preferences? Or is the intermediate folder simply hidden from this view?


May 19, 2020 7:37 PM

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May 20, 2020 9:17 AM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2


Apple Support has had me do a few things, including changing the Music Media folder location in preferences. I've changed this to ..../Music/iTunes/iTunes Music to correspond to the directory structure in Finder and I ran the consolidation. Somehow nothing is being found. I'm attaching screen shots of the directory structure and the Media folder setting.

My plan is to restore from backups done on May 14. I have the following questions.

  • Should I delete the iTunes directory before recovery? I am asking because previous attempts still show files after May 14 in the library.
  • What should I restore? Should it be the entire ../iTunes or ../iTunes/iTunes Music directories and the ../Music directory containing the Music Library.musiclibrary file?
  • I am currently logged out of iCloud. Should this be the case when I recover?
  • Are there any files in the Users/../Library/iTunes directory that should be deleted?

I tried recovery once before just recovering the .../iTunes/iTunes Music directory and the ..Music/Music Library.musiclibrary file using the replace option but it did not seem to work correctly. The backup show the same directory structure as the screen shot so I'm not sure where the individual songs' file locations are getting corrupted.

At this point I am no longer worried about recovering my Playlists. I just want to get my library whole.I appreciate your responses. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Let me know if you have any questions.

May 20, 2020 9:17 AM

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May 23, 2020 4:05 AM in response to cmealha In response to cmealha


Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. If you're not worried about playlists then it might be best to put all of your content in the new default layout for the Music app before you import it to the library. I.e. move the folder iTunes Music into ~/Music and rename it as Media, reset the media folder in Music > Preferences > Files to ~/Music/Media, then use File > Add to Library... to import the media folder.

If you wanted the playlists one approach might be to use Music to access the old .itl library which would create a new Music library based on the old .itl from December. That should bring in the state of the library at that date. As before, given you have a subscription service involved, you need to go offline before you connect to the older library. You can export the playlists and/or turn off iCloud Music Library (AKA Sync Library) before you go back online, then you should be able to go back online, enable iCloud Music Library and merge in any changes, reimporting the exported lists if required.


May 23, 2020 4:05 AM

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May 23, 2020 8:10 AM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

Please don't apologize. I appreciate the time you take to respond.

At this point I'm trying to understand the structure of how Music works. I believe that Apple Support had tried having me change the library location as you explain but I was surprised that the content had not moved from the ../iTunes/iTunes Music directory to the ../Music directory. I believe they had me use the consolidation option.

I also noticed that even though I recovered from May 14, the Music app showed songs that were added after May 14

I did some experimenting and deleted my entire ../Music/iTunes and ../Music/Music directories thinking that I would no longer see anything in the Music app. To my surprise, all my songs were still listed. Where does the Music app keep the database of songs?

I'd like to stay away from using the Add to Library function as I would like to keep the original Date Added

During all this, I made sure that the Sync Library option is turned off in Preferences and that I am signed off of my account so that I'm only dealing with songs that reside on my computer.

At this point, I am not longer concerned about Playlists but am looking to restore my Library. Any insight is appreciated.


May 23, 2020 8:10 AM

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Question: Apple Music - Restore Deleted Playlists

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