deleting songs from iOS 7

It all started with a text message exchange with a friend who was asking how he could save storage space on his iPhone on the fly so he would have room to take more photos and videos. Deleting photos and videos from the device would usually be my first answer, but it wasn’t an option here since he wanted to keep his photos/videos, and actually add more.

The second option I gave him was to delete music from his iOS device. How do you delete songs directly from the iPhone, he asked? A quick explanation followed by more questions made me realize that if my friend needed directions on how to delete music tracks from his iPhone, then he probably isn’t the only one.

In this post, I will show you several options to delete songs from iPhone and iPad to save up storage space.

How to delete songs from iPhone or iPad

The process to remove individual music tracks from your iPhone is pretty simple. Note that all the steps described below are exactly the same on iPad.

1) Go to the Apple Music app. Tap on the Library tab at the bottom left corner of the screen.

2) Tap on the Downloaded Music cell. If you use Apple Music, this will ensure that we will only see the music that is actually physically on your device.

3) Now find an album containing songs you want to delete.

4) If you have an iPhone 6s or newer, press on the song you want to remove. If you have an older device or an iPad, simply tap and hold your finger on the song you want to delete. This will bring up an overlaid menu with several options.

5) Select the Remove… option to delete this track. Repeat the process for each track.

How to delete music albums from your iPhone or iPad

If you want to delete several songs at a time, your best chance is to delete albums altogether.

1) Go to the Music app.

2) Navigate to the Library tab.

3) Browse the Albums cell and look for an album you want to delete.

4) If you have an iPhone 6s or newer, press on the song you want to remove. If you have an older device or an iPad, simply tap and hold your finger on the song you want to delete, then select Remove…

You can repeat the process as many times as necessary.

How to delete all music from your iPhone or iPad

If you want to go thermonuclear on your music, you can delete all of it in one simple swipe.

1) Go to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage, and select Manage Storage under the Storage header (note that data stored on your iPhone might take a few seconds to load, so be patient).

2) Tap on the Music icon. This will load all music physically on your iPhone or iPad.

3) Tap the Edit icon in the upper right end corner of the screen. From there, you can either delete one artist at a time, or delete all songs at once.

delete all music on iPhone

Obviously, be very careful here.

Music stored in iCloud can’t be deleted from your iPhone

This should go without saying, but it might not be very obvious to people that aren’t well versed in the Apple ecosystem. If you are an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscriber and your music is stored in iCloud, then you will see a small cloud icon next to the album cover. It means this music is available for download or streaming (for free) from iCloud.

Left music is in the cloud. Right, music is on the device

However, if you see a check mark and the word Downloaded next to the album cover, this means the music has been downloaded to your device and is available for offline listening. In which case, it can be deleted from your iPhone.

If you want to hide the music that is not on your device but available from iCloud, you can go to Settings > Music and turn off iCloud Music Library. Alternatively, you can turn on Downloaded Music settings as described in step 2 above. This will ensure that only music that has been downloaded to this device will be shown.

  • Christophe

    Or you can just go in the Settings app (General->Usage) and delete all your music

    • This is only really useful for iTunes Match subscribers since you’d lose all of your music but yes I agree that this is by far the easiest way to delete Music if you want to delete all music…

    • Duh! I added this to the post. Thanks for pointing out the obvious 🙂

      • Christophe

        And thank you for helping us getting out the most from iOS

  • Confused

    Help please. I am confused. How do you turn the phone on?

  • deepdvd

    Does it uncheck the music tracks in iTunes when you delete from your iPhone after you sync it?

  • Pato_

    Who doesn’t know how to do this. Just another lame useless post

  • It’s really sad I have to add a warning here about this, but all comments saying “it’s stupid everybody knows how to do that” and similar will be deleted.

    • Christian Mejía

      It’s cause it’s just common sense.

      • Right. It’s common sense to you. I don’t think it’s common sense to *everybody* though.

      • disqusted

        We responsed at the same time, heh. See below.

      • disqusted

        It must not be *that* common sense, because I’ve seen this posted and asked of me by people more than once. Remember, as with anything, it’s not logical to assume that just because it’s obvious to you, doesn’t mean it is to everyone else. I might assume you know the detailed history of Czechoslovakia. It’s common sense, right? Common sense is something that a person should know regardless of familiarity with any given topic. Not everyone is familiar with iOS gestures etc out of the womb.

        I agree that it’s obvious to regular users who are used to iOS but not everyone has been using iOS for years or even weeks.

        The ironic part is that there’s not much common sense used in your talk about what “common sense” is…

    • Jonathan

      It seems pretty much no matter what, people will always point out the obvious, often the ugly side of it.
      *sigh* today’s society.

    • disqusted

      It’s (almost) astounding to me the audacity and the immaturity of these people that continue to post smart-ass, sarcastic comments… or for the ones who totally lack creativity— they just brazenly defy your explicit, very clear instructions *not* to post “that’s obvious”.

      Worse than the insolence and disrespect maybe is the sheer *number* of posters doing this! It’s not just one or even two immature, self-assured little brats… they arrive like flies. You swat one away and two more are right behind that one!

      What they don’t take into consideration (as non-thinking people tend to do) is that to the *adults* here, all they’re doing is making themselves look like annoying, childish jackasses. Way to show you! No one tells *me* how to avoid looking like a tool!

    • Kurtiz

      I think you should start putting a “For Beginners” to start off the post to avoid all the “Pfft! I already knew this!” type of comments. But I bet you’d still get the comments anyways.

      • gittlopctbi

        I don’t think that would be necessary. If the headline is not something you need to know or is interested in, I would think they wouldn’t read it. The problem is with the idiots who just come in and post their whinings.

    • gittlopctbi

      It is sad. I would not want any of them to be my network administrator or IT help desk. Definitely not one of my teachers. With the complexities of any OS, there is no “stupid” question. Just because you know how to do something, doesn’t mean that everyone on the planet does.

  • Straw hat

    i downloaded a track from itunes and wanted to delete it. But when i deleted it, it still has the icloud sign (i guess it’s stored) but the thing that’s weird is that even though it’s deleted, if i go and tap the play button in control center it would play and sometimes it would play out of nowhere itself. It’s so weird and annoying.

    • disqusted

      It doesn’t have to be downloaded. It streams by default. And the last file that was referenced/loaded by iTunes should play when you hit the button, regardless if it’s physically there or not.

  • Pato_

    Another useless post who the hell doesn’t know how to do this? Lol lame

  • Wow

    Please please help me. I really don’t know how to turn this phone on. My previous phone was a Nokia 3310. Can you write an article about how to turn the phone on please?

  • John Watters

    Sebastien, Are you sure you can delete an entire album or an entire artist?? I am running 7.1.2 on my iPhone 5s, and while I can delete individual songs from my iPhone, it won’t allow me to delete an entire Album or Artist as you described in this article. The vast majority of the music on my iPhone I ripped and synced from iTunes on my PC if that matters. I have searched Google before on how to delete an entire Artist or Album in iOS 7, but there doesn’t seem to be a way.

    • Interesting. All my music is downloaded from iCloud, which could explain why I was able to delete it. Let me run some tests here.

    • I just synced ripped music via iTunes to my iPhone. I had previously turned off iTunes Match to avoid any kind of conflict. After syncing the music, I was successfully able to delete it from the iPhone following the steps I explained above. I was able to delete songs, artists, and albums.

      • Krishna101

        Neither am I able to delete artists or albums, just single songs. I have an iPhone 4S on 7.1.1

      • Bastion

        Yup only works for songs…

  • Faisal

    I wish there would be easy way to add music too..

    • Sachin


    • thomas

      itunes store

  • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

    That’s okay, not everybody knows that. iOS takes getting used to and hopefully (Tips) will be of great assistance for those who are computer illiterate.

  • Quintessential

    Another useless post by Sebastien. It’s bot even April 1st soit can’t be joke even though it’s laughable.

  • Brendan

    I see the option to delete songs but I can’t seem to delete whole albums or artists. There just no option when I swipe. This has been a great source of frustration for me since iOS 7. I’m currently on ios7.0.4. Is this an option they gave back in ios 7.1 plus? Or are you using an iOS8 beta? Any insights would be greatly helpful

    Thank you!!!

    • I’m using 7.0.2. I’m not sure why it’s working for me and not for others. I’m still trying to figure it out.

    • Lance Baker

      It works on the iOS 8 beta.

    • Woodlandstar

      Yep, I’m the same, I can only delete songs. Very tedious if I need to delete an album.

  • Alex

    Settings > Music > Show All Music > Off. This doesn’t work for me. When I put my music on shuffle, these songs still appear that I’ve downloaded years ago and no longer want to hear.

  • andy

    still can’t find a way to delete synced photos on 7.1.2

  • Freddie Webster

    Well dang…. there’s a lot of conflict on this post

  • Hermès Vainstar Chu

    Deleting whole albums doesn’t work, I’ve had this issue since iOS 7.0.2

  • Fun boy

    How about greyed out songs? I added a song with safari downloader+ and the real version was joined by a greyed out version. I tried deleting the real one and adding again but now there is just two greyed ones and a real one.

    • Amol

      go to setting>music and turn off show all music..

  • Jeffery Simms

    I have a problem-on my iPhone 5C I have been trying not to take up so much space on it with music so I decided to put only R&B music since I listen to it at work and use my iPod for rap etc. anyways for whatever reason I have like four rap songs on it and no matter what the music app won’t let me swipe delete on them? Any ideas?

  • hellion

    deleting a song on my iphone does not delete the corresponding track in my itunes library after syncing. instead itunes puts the aforementioned deleted song back into my iphone. is there a way to prevent this behavior?

    • Either delete the song from iTunes on your computer, or uncheck the song in iTunes so it doesn’t sync to your iPhone.

  • Neo Ajaka

    is anybody out there having problems with iOS 8.1.3’s music app?
    all my artwork is messed up,
    just wondering,
    hint: i updated iTunes to 12.1 & haven’t jailbroken my 6 🙂