It can be annoying even devastating when you wanted to delete several songs in iTunes, but ended up with deleting the entire library — now all your music, videos, photos, etc. are gone…what a bummer!
If this just happened to you, take a breath and don’t worry, as you probably can still recover those deleted iTunes library files with the following tips we’re going to show you.
New update: now that Apple phased out iTunes, some of the methods below may not work and we’re not going to update this article.
1. Check Trash (Mac) or Recycle Bin (Windows 10)
Though you probably have already checked it out, we want to remind you just in case. Sometimes we are overwhelmed about the mistake we made, and forget to try the easiest possible solution.
Depending on how you deleted the items or wiped the entire library, the lost files may have been sent to Mac Trash or Windows Recycle Bin if you’re on a PC. So go ahead and check it out. If you find them, select them and click Put Back or Restore.
2. Restore via Time Machine (If You Have Backup)
Unfortunately, this tip only applies to those of you who use iTunes on a Mac machine. If you’ve emptied Trash or could find your files in it, leverage Time Machine (see how) to restore from a previous backup you’ve made. Find your external hard drive for the backup and roll your Mac back to the right snap. Then copy all your iTunes items and transfer them.
If you haven’t set up Time Machine backups, or previous backups fail to retrieve your desired items, see the next tips.
3. Restore Purchased Items from iTunes Store
The nice thing about iTunes is it saves all your downloaded or purchased items, many of which can be re-downloaded.
So if the above methods fail to recover your iTunes data, try to access the past purchases in the iTunes Store. Make sure you have all your Apple ID credentials ready. This Apple support article has more detailed step by step instructions.
4. Try Digital Media Recovery Software
We recommend Stellar Photo Recovery — a program specifically designed to rescue deleted or inaccessible photos (and songs too) from a variety of storage media including PC and Mac hard drive.
Get the program and install it to your computer, launch it and select the hard drive where your iTunes library music, videos, etc. were saved, then let the program scan it to look for recoverable items. The software itself is very intuitive to use. In case Stellar didn’t help, here’s a list of other photo recovery software that’s worth giving a try.
5. Use iOS Data Recovery Software to Extract Files
Some of the professional iPhone data recovery software has features to extract iTunes backups and restore all the library media. Note: the iTunes backups is different from other kinds of backups made by for example by Time Machine. The process to recover is quite similar to the 4th tip we’ve introduced.
iTunes is an important part of our digital life if you are an Apple fan who uses an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. The software is like a hub of everything. While it makes it extremely easy for us to manage all our media files (music, movies, pictures, apps, etc.), accidental deletion could happen.
We hope the above tips have helped you retrieve your lost iTunes songs and other library files. Next time, remember to back up those precious data.
Chris is a lifelong tech enthusiast with a broad range of interests including coding, data analysis, traveling, and more. He used to work as a software programmer immersing himself in the world of codes, now he finds it more interesting talking to real people.