12 Replies Latest reply: Dec 31, 2012 12:47 AM by Michael Allbritton
shewhoknows Level 1 Level 1

I keep 50% of my music library on an external HD. I subscribed to iTunes Match to be able to access my entire library when my HD isn't available (traveling, HD in sleep mode, etc.). But iTunes won't play any songs that are stored on my external HD when the HD isn't available, even when the songs were purchased on iTunes, and even when iTunes has matched them and shows them as "purchased." When I try to play the song, iTunes says the external HD isn't available, and offers to allow me to locate the song (which is impossible because I'm not near the external HD). Why won't it use the copy that's stored in iCloud? Isn't this the whole point of iCloud, i.e., to allow me to stream my music library from anywhere?


I have an active internet connection, and I've already updated Match and turned it off an on again. But iTunes won't play any of my songs from iCloud; only from my Macbook hard drive, which certainly isn't the point of Match.

  • Mike Connelly Level 4 Level 4

    This is a known issue that Match doesn't handle well.  I'd file a feedback report, hopefully they'll improve it in an iTunes update.



  • jxchappell Level 1 Level 1

    I have the same issue.  An odd thing is that I logged in to iTunes on a second computer that has no access to the hard drive and is a windows computer at that, and everything is available from the cloud.  Also, I have full access to the cloud from my iPhone as well.  Why not from my Mac?

  • Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6

    If you want to play songs "from the cloud" in your master iTunes library you have two choices.


    1. Create a new, empty library which will be populated with the songs that are in the cloud and can be streamed.

    2. Delete all the music from the master iTunes library and only stream from the cloud.


    The service is not designed to stream to your master iTunes library, since iTunes still has the path to the original files as being on your external drive. This is not an "issue" to be fixed since this is how the service is designed to work and I do not see Apple changing it.

  • jxchappell Level 1 Level 1



    Thanks for that solution.  I tested it on one album and it worked like a charm.


    How do I mark this as a correct answer to this issue.  I also had created my own post, is there a way to link them?



  • Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6

    You're welcome.


    Since you didn't start the thread you're not allowed to give me a "correct" answer but I do appreciate the thought.

  • UserZed Level 1 Level 1

    Hi Michael,

    I'm really struggling to figure this out.  All I know is that the music my husband put on the cloud from his PC machine is grayed out for me and I cannot make it play.  So frustrating!!!  I did not understand about how to create an empty library and how to populate it with the songs in the cloud.  Can you give some more detailed instruction?
    Thank you.

  • James Mullany Level 1 Level 1

    Sorry, but how do you do as you suggest?

    Creating a new empty library populated by music in the cloud?

    I struggle dealing with my existing large library, 22,000 tunes, and matched most with the cloud.





  • JaraJara Level 1 Level 1

    Sorry but this is a lame design. My objective is getting rid (or) didn`t have to care about my originals, that`s why I signed up for iTunesMatch. If a have may NAS turned off, iTunes just simply hangs with the "music" icon animated (little cloud) and nothing happens.


    When I turn my NAS on all is avalable for streaming.


    Lame. This is a BUG.


    I`m not questioning the price and the overload of bandwidth the service will have, I don`t care paying more to have this feature (streaming music from iCloud all the time wherever I am and whatever I`m using), but you have to agree that at least this is by far NOT user-friendly. This only happens on the Master iTunes Library.

  • Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6

    No, JaraJara, it's not a bug. It is how the service works. When iTunes Match is enabled the location of the iTunes library as specified in the prefs does not magically change to The Cloud. It remains right where it was. So unless you delete the music from the iTunes library (but not the cloud or the local HDD) then when you play the music the local copy is what will be played. You're not the first person to make this mistake, but you're just misunderstanding how the service works on a computer.


    To create a new library launch iTunes while holding down the Option key and click "create library." Enable iTunes Match on this library and let it do it's thing. You will then be able to stream "from the cloud" and not the local files.

  • David Markowitz Level 1 Level 1

    Sorry Michael, but while this may not be considered a bug technically, it's REALLY poor design.  I have the same issue - I have too much music to store on my computer, so I store it on an external drive.  How does Apple expect people to figure out how to adjust for this "design"??  I'm an experienced mac user of over 20 years, and I didn't understand what was going on (aside from my external drive not being connected).  New iTunes/iCloud users are definitely not going to understand.  Saying this is simply how it's supposed to work is not acceptable.  Frankly, Apple has totally messed up their iCloud implementation - it's SO convoluted, especially if you have any iDevices.


    For this issue, Apple really needs to change iTunes so that it's smart enough to stream music to a temp directory (and then have a setting in the Options in which you can empty it manually or according to a schedule, exiting iTunes, etc.), or at the very least, allow you to set up mulltiple libraries (which you can do manually, but iTunes doesn't track them at the same time).

  • Jimzgoldfinch Level 6 Level 6


    I agree with all the comments made by Michael.


    My take on this is that many people do not appreciate how iTunes manages its library and how it needs to point to the right directory. Therefore if the external hard drive is not attached, iTunes can't find the music resulting in ! Being shown and track not being played.


    Maybe Apple could make their coding smarter. Expanding on your suggestion, they could have an option to open the original library or the alternative library when opening iTunes.



  • Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6

    While I agree that a discussion can, and should, be had on how to improve iTunes this isn't the place for it. The TOS of the support communities doesn't allow for those discussions. However, you may submit your polite feedback to Apple about iTunes using this page < http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html>. They do listen.