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Question: Music on my iPhone has a perforated circle around it and will not play

I have tried to upload music to my iPhone 6, using my MacPro Desktop. But all I see is a small perforated circle on the left hand side of the songs. It is happening to music I bought from Apple and music I transferred from CD's. I have home sharing turned on and all my softwear is up to date.

Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.5)

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Mar 17, 2018 7:28 AM in response to bojin In response to bojin

If the ‘perforated circle’ looks anything like this User uploaded file (I interpret it as a circled exclamation mark)

then that would be a sign that the source file is not on a mounted local disk, so that the reference in the playlist points to nothing.

A “Song Info” (Right-click/Control-click in iTunes on the Mac) would invoke a dialog box to locate the file. Choosing ‘No’ would bring up the Song Info of the unattached song anyway without the link. The File tab will show the last known location of that file, among other details.

Mar 17, 2018 7:28 AM

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Mar 17, 2018 1:02 PM in response to bojin In response to bojin

You could try the following all-purpose steps for dealing with erratic device or sync behaviour (including the troublesome greyed out tracks and/or dotted circles of stalled transfers). They assume that all of the content you want on the device is in your library ready for restoring. If it isn't see Recover your iTunes library from your iPod or iOS device first. I would also recommend you copy everything out of the camera roll if you haven't already.

  1. Backup device.
  2. Restore as a new device.
  3. Restore the backup you made earlier.

Use an encrypted backup (*) if you want to preserve passwords, Wi-Fi settings, web history and health data where appropriate. I also suggest syncing with a selection of playlists (unless you're using iCloud Music Library) rather than manually adding content as, if nothing else, the process above is easier to do if you ever have to go through it again.

(*) The downside with backup encryption is that if you forget the password when you need it again, which could be years later, you may need to invoke a workaround to turn off encryption as shown in Re: disable encrypted backups, which can only help if your device is in a state that can backup to iCloud, or runs iOS 11.

For added security you might also want to make an independent backup to iCloud and/or archive your current backup before you start.

FWIW I successfully used this method some time ago when Siri became unable to call contacts or play my music.


Mar 17, 2018 1:02 PM

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Mar 19, 2018 2:58 AM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

Thank you turingtest2, for the time you spent sharing this fix.

Unfortunately this option failed.

First, there is no info on encrypting available, that could get me to the window where I can check that box.

Selecting my iPhone in iTunes, does not give me a summery box anywhere.

Restore as "New Device" is also NOT an option in my iTunes version. But I did back up and restore.

I also opened up 3.5GB of empty space, still I've got the perforated circle on songs I want to upload to my iPhone 6.

With each "New" version of iTunes, it becomes more and more convoluted as to how to manage and operate it.

Mar 19, 2018 2:58 AM

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Mar 20, 2018 2:33 AM in response to bojin In response to bojin

You woukd start by selecting the icon for the device where it appears to the right of the media selection drop down tool. This then gives access to the Summary tab mentioned, where there are controls for managing the types of backup and restore that are performed.


Mar 20, 2018 2:33 AM

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Mar 20, 2018 5:42 AM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

Notice: when I right click on the icon for the device, the list of options available, does not include summery.

And if I just click the iPhone open and closes.

This is iTunes on my MacPro 2x2.8 GHz Quad-Core

Running OS X 10.11.6 My iPhone 6 is running OS 11.2.6 User uploaded file

Mar 20, 2018 5:42 AM

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Mar 20, 2018 1:25 PM in response to bojin In response to bojin

I have seen this occasionally on my iPhone/iPad while viewing their contents through iTunes (I presume that's what you're showing above). I'm not sure of the cause of this, but I've narrowed it down to a few possible causes:

  1. iTunes purchases made directly from the device. When I've done this, sometimes the purchase seems to be left orphaned as a grayed-out item when viewing my device's contents through iTunes.
  2. As above, sometimes I'll change the tag information (in my library) from what the original purchase had when I bought it from iTunes. This sometimes creates an orphaned version of the original purchase on my device, I suppose because it thinks it is no longer on my device because the tag is different (but this is not always the pattern).

In either case, what has helped is to use 3rd party software to delete a hidden "purchased" folder within the iOS device. I'm not at my Mac right now and don't recall the name of the program, but it is a popular one and I chose it because of a specific thread in these forums where a well-respected member of the Community (Chris CA) used it for the same reason and solved this problem for him too. I'll see if I can find more info and report back.

Mar 20, 2018 1:25 PM

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Question: Music on my iPhone has a perforated circle around it and will not play