Do Apple Music Playlists Automatically Update? (Explained)

Apple Music users will find that they have a wealth of features and options that enhance their experience. However, when it comes to playlists, it may be a little difficult to find the option you need to control when and how they update.

In this article, we take a look at whether Apple Music playlists update automatically and, moreover, help you ensure that your playlists update across all the devices you use.

Here’s How Apple Music Updates its Playlists:

For Apple Music subscribers, Apple Music playlists update automatically across multiple devices via ‘iCloud’. Depending on the condition of the device, updates should only take a couple of minutes. The updates on Apple Music’s curated playlists range from daily to weekly across the database.

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Do Apple Music Playlists Sync Across Devices?

Apple Music subscribers are able to access their complete Apple Music library across multiple devices when they are using the same Apple ID using Apple’s iCloud feature.

As the folks at explain, the iCloud feature:

“(…) lets you store your entire Apple Music library—including your local music files—on iCloud. And with your Apple ID, you can access your library at any time, whether you’re on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Seamlessly switch between your devices with this handy feature.”

So as long as you have either downloaded the music for offline listening or you are connected to the internet, you should be able to access all of your music across all your devices hassle-free.

The only exception is iTunes for Windows PCs. On these desktops, ‘Sync Library’ is not automatically enabled, and you will need to turn it on manually in order to sync your music library across multiple devices.

If you were wondering what your Apple Music can store on iCloud, then look no further.

Here’s a list of what’s available in your Apple Music iCloud:

  1. You can store anything from up to 100,000 music files; each song needs to be no more than 200MB.
    • Luckily, this doesn’t include any songs that you have also purchased from the iTunes Store.
  2. Matched songs at a quality of 256kbps DRM-free AAC.
  3. All playlists that have both music files and music videos.
  4. Purchased music videos.
  5. Smart Playlist rules.

Syncing devices is incredibly straightforward. In fact, if you are an Apple Music subscriber, then you don’t need to do anything, as your music library will automatically be synced across your devices.

If you are not a subscriber and you want to sync your iPhone or iPad with your Mac, then follow the steps below.

  1. Begin by ensuring your device is connected to your Mac desktop. You can do this via a USB or USB-C cable, or by using a WiFi connection.
  2. Navigate to the ‘Finder’
  3. Select your connected device in the Finder sidebar.
  4. Now select ‘Music’
  5. Next, select ‘Sync music onto [device name]’ to enable syncing for your device.

Syncing is automatically set to transfer all music in your library, but there are other options available so that you can choose to sync only a select amount of your library.

To do this, simply click ‘Selected playlist, artists, albums and genres’ instead of ‘Entire Library’.

Another method to sync all of your music across your Apple devices is to subscribe to ‘Apple Match’.

Apple Match is a yearly subscription service that enables subscribers to access their Apple Music library across up to Apple 10 devices.

How Often do Apple Music Playlists Update?

Playlists are a fantastic way for music lovers to discover the latest trends in new music, or to even create that perfect personalized set for a party.

And, playlists may be based on popular trends in listening – in other words, the app may track listening and learn what users like.

As perfectly explains, playlists are:

“pre-made collections of songs based on artists, genres, moods, and activities. You can view all of the songs in a playlist and play them at any time.” [Source:]

Apple Music subscribers have access to thousands of curated playlists, all of which are updated separately at different intervals.

Certain playlists, such as the ‘Top 100: Global’ playlist, are updated every single day to give you the most up-to-date chart of the most-played songs all around the globe.

Often, playlists give away how frequently they are updated in their title, such as “Todays Hits”- which is a curated playlist that is updated daily.

Here is the best way to figure out how often a playlist is updated:

  1. First, select the playlist under the ‘Browse’ section.
  2. Next, on the playlist’s cover art, you will see the title of the playlist, followed by ‘Apple Music’, after which there is a small description of when the playlist was last updated (today, last Friday, etc.)

This is true for every playlist in Apple Music’s library, so if you ever want to know, just check under the playlist’s title.

How Long Does it Take for Apple Music Playlists to Update?

Any changes made to playlists by curators should be updated across the Apple Music database within 24 hours. In terms of updates to your music across your synced devices, it can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to a few hours.

The speed is dependent on a few factors, such as:

  • The condition of your iDevice – a damaged or aged device will, of course, take longer to perform standard functions as opposed to a brand-new device.
  • The speed of your internet – a fast internet connection will aid in swift syncing.
  • The size of your library or the number of files that are in need of syncing – the more music files, the slower the syncing process can be.

What Happens if My Playlist Doesn’t Update?

Apple Music playlists should update automatically and so when this doesn’t happen, it can be incredibly frustrating.

When your Apple Music playlists fail to update, there will be a noticeable difference between your synced devices. In other words, you may find that you are missing tracks from your playlists that you may have recently added on one of your devices.

If this is happening to you, then don’t worry, because all you have to do is follow the simple troubleshooting tips below and you’ll have your playlists updated in no time.

Ensure Sync Library is Turned On

Syncing is automatically enabled in Apple Music by default across all iOS devices, but if it is accidentally turned off then your devices will not sync and any altered playlists will not be updated.

If you are having any problems with your playlists not updating across your devices, then it’s worth checking whether the sync function is turned on.

To enable Sync Library on your iPhone, iPad or iPod then follow these steps:

  1. Begin by opening ‘Settings’ on your iOS device.
  2. Navigate to ‘Music’
  3. Scroll down and turn the ‘Sync Library’ toggle to the ON position.

As mentioned, iTunes for Windows desktop computers doesn’t automatically have the ‘Sync Library’ function enabled, so you will have to do this manually.

To turn on sync for Windows, follow these steps:

  1. Launch iTunes on your Windows PC.
  2. Select ‘Edit’
  3. Next, choose ‘Preference’
  4. In the window that appears select ‘General’
  5. Click the box next to ‘iCloud Music Library’ to enable syncing.
  6. Finally, click OK to confirm your alterations.

Restart your Device

When you are experiencing issues with the inconsistent or delayed updating of your Apple Music playlists, it’s worth simply restarting your device.

Turning your device off, waiting a couple of minutes, then switching back on again can solve multiple minor glitches or malfunctions occurring within most apps, not just Apple Music.

Give it a try and you may find it was all that was needed to get your playlists updating smoothly.

Update your Devices iOS

Ensuring that your iOS is up to date is crucial to the overall performance of your Apple device. Updates include any new bug fixes available, security and privacy improvements, and other general features.

To update your iOS, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by backing up your iPad iPod or iPhone using iCloud or on a desktop if available.
  2. Next, make sure your iOS device is connected to the internet and has sufficient battery reserves.
  3. Open ‘Settings’
  4. Select ‘General’
  5. Choose ‘System Update’ then ‘Install Now’

Your device will now start downloading the most recent iOS version and should be completed within 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the speed of your internet.

Once the download is complete, try opening Apple Music to see if the updates are now happening automatically.

To update your MacOS, follow these steps instead:

  1. Start by opening up the Apple Menu.
  2. Navigate to ‘System Preferences’
  3. Next, click on ‘Software Update’

Here you will be able to install the most recent OS for your Mac desktop.

When the updates are completed, you should find that your Apple Music playlists update as they are supposed to.

Update the Apple Music App

It goes without saying that keeping your apps up to date will help them perform at their best.

When your Apple Music playlists are failing to update properly it’s definitely worth checking whether the app is running the latest version. If not, you may experience multiple playback and update issues.

Updating the Apple Music app is quick and straightforward.

To update Apple Music on your iOS device, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by opening the App Store on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
  2. Locate and tap on your profile icon found in the top right-hand side of your screen.
  3. Refresh the updates by swiping down on your screen.
  4. If an update is available, you will find Apple Music in the list of available updates.
  5. Tap ‘Update’ and Apple Music will begin updating.

If you can’t see an Apple Music update available then you are currently running the most recent update for the app.

To update Apple Music on your Android device, follow these steps instead:

  1. Open the Google Play Store.
  2. Search for Apple Music in the search bar located at the top of your screen.
  3. If an update is available you will see an ‘Update’ button next to the Apple Music icon.
  4. Tap ‘Update’ and the app will start updating.

Can I Prevent My Apple Playlists from Updating?

There is no way to prevent any curated playlists, for example, ‘Todays Hits’ from updating on Apple Music.

These playlists are updated daily and are readily available for Apple Music subscribers to enjoy at their own choosing.

To stop your music library from syncing across your devices then all you have to do is disable ‘Sync Library’. When disabled, any changes you make on one of your devices will not affect the library on any other device.


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