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How to Turn on iTunes Match: Setting up Your iPhone for iCloud

Use iTunes Match on your iPhone to quickly sync songs

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iTunes Match and iCloud

iTunes Match and iCloud

Image Courtesy of Apple, Inc.

A Brief Introduction to iTunes Match

First of all, if you don't know what the iTunes Match service is, it's simply a subscription option that Apple provides to get the contents of your iTunes music library (including ripped CD tracks and audio files from other music services) up into iCloud as fast as possible. Rather than having to upload every single file as you would with other cloud storage services, Apple's Scan & Match algorithm analyzes your iTunes music library (on your computer) to see if the tracks in it are already in iCloud. If there's a match for a song, it automatically appears in your iCloud storage space without you having to spend an age uploading.

For more on iTunes Match and what you'll need to subscribe, read our main article on How to Use iTunes Match.

Before you Enable iTunes Match on the iPhone

If you have already subscribed to iTunes Match and enabled it via the iTunes software on your computer, you will also need to turn this feature on via your iPhone's iOS menu -- without doing this first, music will not be pushed down from iCloud to any of your iDevices.

*Note: An important point to note before activating iTunes Match on the iPhone is that all music files on your iOS device will be deleted prior to songs from iCloud being made available. With this in mind, it is best to make sure that all the tracks that aren't already in your computer's iTunes Library are synced or backed up elsewhere -- this obviously includes any tracks that you may have purchased from other online music services, etc. Don't worry about this too much though, a message will be displayed warning you of this before you enable iTunes Match -- see following tutorial.

Setting up iTunes Match on Your iPhone
To set up iTunes Match on the iPhone, follow the step-by-step tutorial below:

  1. On the iPhone's home screen, run the Settings App by tapping your finger on it.
  2. Scroll down the list of settings until you find the Music option. Tap this to display the Music settings screen.
  3. Next, turn on iTunes Match (first option at top of screen) by sliding your finger across the toggle switch to the on position.
  4. You should now see a pop-up screen asking you to enter the password for your Apple ID. Type this in and hit the OK button.
  5. A warning screen will pop-up advising you that iTunes Match will replace the music library on your device. As mentioned before, as long as all your songs are in your main iTunes library nothing should get lost. Tap the Enable button to proceed if you are sure of this.
You should now notice that an extra option has appeared in the music settings menu (below iTunes Match) called, Show All Music. If you leave this option on, when you run the Music App (via the home screen), you'll see a complete list of all your music tracks -- both on your iPhone and in iCloud (but not yet downloaded).

Until you have built up your iPhone's music library by downloading songs from iCloud, it is advisable to keep this setting on. When you have all the songs on your iPhone that you want, you can always go back to the Music settings menu at a later date and switch the Show All Music option to Off.

Downloading Songs From iCloud to the iPhone
Once you have setup your iPhone for iTunes Match, you can download songs from iCloud. To do this:

  1. On the iPhone's home screen, run the Music App by tapping your finger on it.
  2. To download a single song, tap the cloud icon next to it. This icon will vanish once the track is on your iPhone.
  3. To download a whole album, tap the cloud icon next to the artist or band name. If you cherry pick certain songs from an album, but don't download the whole thing, then the cloud icon won't disappear -- denoting that not all songs in the album are on your iPhone.

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