Here’s what to do if Apple Music is not working on your Mac

Most Mac users had a love/hate relationship with iTunes, so when Apple killed it off in macOS Catalina and replaced it with three separate apps, it was something of a cause for celebration. Of those three apps, it's Music that most of us use most often simply because more people listen to Music than watch Apple TV or listen to podcasts. Music works just fine most of the time, but when it doesn’t, it can be difficult to know what to do. In this article, we’ll show you how to fix it when Apple Music won’t play on your Mac.

What is Apple Music?

Apple Music screenshot

It’s the app that replaced iTunes for streaming music and playing tracks stored locally on your Mac. If you have an Apple Music subscription, you can stream music from that service. But if not, you can still use the Music app to play songs on your Mac or sync music with Apple’s servers using iTunes Match.

What happens when Apple Music doesn’t work?

Apple Music hanging up

There are several ways in which Apple Music may fail to work correctly, including not streaming music, not syncing, not showing playlists, or failing to display Apple Music playlists like Browse and Listen Now.

How to fix it when Apple Music is not playing on your Mac

If Apple Music fails to load playlists or display anything on the screen when you click Browse or Listen Now, the first thing to do is check your Wi-Fi network and an internet connection to make sure they are working properly. If your network and internet are ok, do the following in order.

  1. Check Apple’s servers are working by visiting this link: Official Apple Support
  2. Update your music library: In Music, click on the File menu and choose Library > Update Cloud Library.
  3. Quit Music and relaunch it.
  4. Check for an OS update: click on the Apple menu, choose About this Mac, and then Software Update. If there’s one available, install it. If not, go to step 3.
  5. Make sure Sync Library is switched on: click on the Music menu and choose Preferences. In the General tab, Sync Library should be checked, and the Apple ID displayed should be the one you’re signed into on all your devices.Apple Music syncing settings
  6. Restart your Mac.
  7. Sign out of iCloud: Launch System Preferences, choose Apple ID, and press Sign Out. Sign in again and re-launch Music.
  8. Create a new library: go to your user Music folder, then Music, and move the Music Library file to another location. Launch the Music app while holding down the Option key and choose ‘Create’ from the menu.
  9. Reboot your Mac in Safe mode: Hold down the Shift key as you restart your Mac until the login window appears. If Music works in Safe mode, it means that login items or launch agents could be causing the problem.
  10. Create a new account on your Mac: In System Preferences > Users & Groups, create a new account, log into your Apple ID in that account, and then try and use Music.

How to remove Apple Music system files

If none of the above works, the final step is to remove cache and other system files related to Music. You can do this manually by using the Go menu in the Finder to locate files that have ‘Music’ or ‘iTunes’ in them in the following locations:

~/Library/

~/Library/Caches

When you locate files in those folders with Music or iTunes in their name, drag them to the Trash, then restart the Music app.

However, a much easier way to do this is to use the Uninstaller in CleanMyMac X. You can’t uninstall Music because it’s a protected system app. Still, you can remove preferences and supporting files.

How to reset Apple Music app
  1. If you don’t already have CleanMyMac X, download it here and install it.
  2. Click on the CleanMyMac X menu and choose Preferences, then Ignore List and Uninstaller. Uncheck the box next to ‘Ignore system applications.’
  3. Select the Uninstaller from the left-side menu, then locate Music.
  4. Click the drop-down arrow next to Music to see and check the supporting files.
  5. From the drop-down menu, select Reset and confirm.

There are a number of reasons why Apple Music may not work correctly on your Mac, starting with your internet connection. Many can be resolved quickly and easily. Other problems take longer to resolve. If you follow the steps above, you should get Music playing again properly very quickly.

Laptop with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac X

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