If you use an Apple device or a Mac for a computer, you have probably come across the iCloud music library feature. Maybe you have a rough idea about what this library is about, but the specifics have evaded you for a long time. Maybe you have been using it for some time but still feel that you need to know more about it. Or maybe you don’t even know it exists. If you are clueless about it, don’t feel bad. Most people are just like you: clueless. However, it is important to familiarize yourself thoroughly with this feature because of the many benefits it brings with it.
What is the iCloud Music Library?
It is easy to guess from the name that this is a music storage feature on Apple devices. It is also not hard to decipher that the feature makes use of cloud storage. Using the iCloud music library, you can store up to a whopping 100, 000 songs. You can opt to use the free 5 GB of storage that the company offers. Or to have a monthly subscription of $ 9.99 for a solid 1 TB storage space in this library.
So, where does the music come from? You can store music from iTunes Match or Apple music. One of the greatest benefits of using iCloud music library is that it synchronizes music from your devices so that you can access it across multiple devices. In fact, you can access music from up to ten devices including Macs, iPhones, iPads and Windows PCs.
It is important to note that songs that can be stored in this library must not exceed 200 MB in size and must not play for more than two hours.
How Do You Set Up iCloud Music Library?
There is no denying that this can be an elusive feature, but it is extremely easy to set up. To set it up on your iPhone or iPad, you need to:
- Sign in to your Apple Music App
- Go to your home to screen
- Go to settings
- Click on music
- On the iCloud Music Library, tap the toggle to turn it on
If you want to turn on iCloud music library on your Mac:
- Log in to iTunes using your computer
- Go to the menu at the top of the screen and select iTunes
- Click on preferences, then on general preferences
- Tick the box next to iCloud Music Library
- Click OK
Merge or Replace?
Once you turn on iCloud Music Library on your phone or PC, you will be asked whether to merge or replace your music. It is important to understand what either action means to ensure that you make the right choice.
When you opt to merge, you are essentially merging songs from Apple music with those on other storage locations on your Mac. All of these songs will then be available on all your other connected devices. If you opt to replace, only songs in your Apple Music library will be retained while all those on your Mac will be erased.
It is important to note that even if you merge your music, all songs not on your Apple music library will show on other devices, but you have to upload them first to those devices in order to play them. If you don’t, then you won’t be able to play your music.
What are the Benefits of Using iCloud Music Library?
- Matching – One great perk of using iCloud music library is its matching feature. This basically means that after you turn the feature on your device, it will scan your music, look for better quality music on iTunes and then replace your old songs with the better quality versions. If there are no better quality songs, then you will have the original versions of the songs instead.
- Synchronization – The fact that you can access your music on ten different devices using iCloud music library is certainly very appealing. The convenience is undoubtedly a big plus for the feature.
What are the Cons?
- It is not Back up – You may be tempted to look at this feature as some sort of back up for your music, but that is far from true. Sure, you will be able to access your music on multiple devices, whenever you want to, but that in no way means that this should count as back up storage for music. In fact, you would be well advised to find other better back up storage before you turn the feature on. What happens to the music on your Mac when you opt to replace instead of merging your music? Or what do you do in case the feature starts behaving strangely and you cannot access your music? Cases of the feature acting weirdly are not unheard of, and people have actually lost their precious collections of music due to this.
- You Must Remain Subscribed to Apple Music – Additionally, if you cancel your subscription to Apple music, you will not be able to play music from iCloud music library. This is because of Digital Rights Management policies that Apple employs. Without a doubt, this also goes to show that using the feature as backup storage for your music is a risky decision.
On the whole, the iCloud music library feature is rather great and helpful. With it, you can access music from various sources such as iTunes, music stored on your Mac and Apple music. Even better is the fact that you will be able to play this music from up to ten devices, Windows PCs included.
Additionally, the matching feature ensures that you listen only to top quality music, or at least the original versions of songs. There are definitely a lot of benefits to be enjoyed from using this feature. It is also rather easy to set up your iCloud music library feature. In fact, it will take you a few minutes at most, and you can begin to enjoy the benefits of the feature.
However, do not assume that the feature will work well as backup storage for music. It is important that you find better back up for your precious files instead of taking a risky gamble with this feature.