“Apple Music item cannot be played - I've been a loyal Apple Music subscriber for several years now, but lately I've noticed a lot of my music is greyed out. When I try to play it, I get an error message that says ‘Items is not available, This item cannot be played’. I've tried shutting off iCloud music and turning it back on, no luck. I've also gone so far as to purchase music, which I understand I should not have to, and still have the issue, even though the music has been purchased. Why?” asked by blackhorse7 on Apple Communities, who has an iPhone 7 running iOS 10.3.3.
Once people switch from an old iPhone to a new iPhone, or update the iOS on their iPhone, they might encounter notice of “Apple Music item cannot be played” issue. Some music items within Apple Music might be greyed out and cannot be played. The songs that are greyed out show up in iTunes on computer and can be played, but they do not show up in the Purchased data record. Neither will they play on iPhone Music app. This error has been reported by quite a great number of Apple Music users. Well, in this guide, we would like to talk about this issue and address some effective solutions to fix “This item cannot be played” within Apple Music app on your iPhone.
Part 1: What Causes Apple Music "This Item Cannot Be Played"
Before we look into the solutions for fixing “This item cannot be played by Apple Music” issue, we might spend some time on the causes of this error. According to Apple Communities, your songs might appear in iTunes in light gray text for a variety of reasons. Those reasons include the following:
1. You're not connected to iCloud Music Library. If you see a Disconnected icon in the upper-right corner of iTunes, you're not connected to iCloud Music Library. Click the icon to reconnect.
2. The song isn't in Apple Music or isn't available in your current country or region. These songs also appear in gray if you search for them in Apple Music.
3. Restrictions are turned on for explicit tracks. Learn more about Restrictions.
4. An artist or content provider made changes or edits to an album. You might need to remove the album from your library and add it back from the Apple Music catalog.
Also, there might be other causes that make your Apple Music items cannot be played normally on your iPhone, like:
1. Apple driver installed or updated incorrectly.
2. Bad network connection status.
3. Device is unstable.
4. iCloud Server issue.
5. An error occurred when syncing iTunes to iPhone/iPad.
6. iOS or iTunes bug.
7. The items you have downloaded are incomplete.
Based on these clues, you then could go into the solutions for fixing “Apple Music items cannot be played” on your iPhone.
Part 2: Solutions to Fix Apple Music “This Item Cannot Be Played” Issue
We have discussed the causes of Apple Music’s “This item cannot be played” error on iPhone above. Now let’s focus on the solutions to fix this error. The below solutions would be helpful to this issue. And since Apple Music is available to iPad, iPhone and iPod, if you encounter this issue on iPad or iPod, the below solutions are also worth of trying.
1. Check the Internet Connection on iPhone
As mentioned above, bad or unstable network connection would influence the normal operation of your Apple iPhone apps. You can check that your iPhone is well connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data, so that you can download songs from Apple Music app or iCloud Music Library. Or you can turn off cellular data and connect your iPhone to WiFi only, or vice-versa.
2. Turn on iCloud Music Library
Sometimes your iPhone (iPad or iPod) might automatically disable the iCloud Music Library resulting in the inability to download songs from the app. The song list may be showing on your mobile screen but since the feature is turned off, you are not able to download them.
To check whether the iCloud Music Library is on or off, go to “Settings > Music” option to check if the iCloud Music Library has been enabled or not. Mac users to visit “Menu > iTunes > Preferences” while Windows PC users could go to “Menu > Edit > Preference” option on iTunes to turn on iCloud Music Library.
3. Restart iPhone/iPad/iPod touch
If you have no idea about the causes, you can simply restart or force to restart your iPhone. This might help in some circumstances, but is not a foolproof solution. Restarting is different from one iPhone to another:
1. For restarting iPhone 8 and previous models, press and hold the Top (or Side) power button until the power off slider appears for iPhone 8 and previous, switch to turn off the iPhone. When the iPhone has been turned off, wait for some time and then long press the power button again to turn it on.
2. For restarting iPhone X and later models, press and hold the Side button and either volume button until the power off slider appears, switch to turn it off, and re-press the power button after a few minutes when the iPhone is totally turned off.
You could also refer to the shortcut Restart key on the virtual Home button to restart iPhone in simple one click. Go to “Settings > General > Accessibility” to turn on the "AssistiveTouch" button, and then on your iPhone home screen click the virtual Home button to select “Device > More > Restart” button.
4. Check the Server State of Apple Music
If you are Apple Music subscriber who encounters the issue "this item cannot be played", you can check the server status of Apple Music. If there is something wrong with the server, you are not able to use Apple Music app correctly. You only have to wait for Apple to solve this server error.
5. Update iOS and iTunes to the Latest
In consideration of some bugs in older version of iTunes or iOS, you can fix the problem by updating iTunes or iOS to the latest version. To update your iOS, open “Settings > General > Software Update” option to check if there is any update available. To update iTunes, Mac users could go to “Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update” option, while Windows users could successively open "iTunes,> Help > Check for Updates" option and then follow the on-screen instructions to update iTunes.
6. Re-sync songs to your iPhone.
If you can’t play songs that you synced from computer, you can turn off Apple Music and iCloud music library and try again to play songs. Besides, people said re-syncing all songs from computer to your device with iTunes may work on this issue.
7. Contact Apple Support.
If all of these tips don’t work on your iPhone music issue, you can contact Apple technical support team for help, or directly write your issue by @AppleSupport on Twitter. Many users have done these.
Actually, there are some other tips you could try for fixing “items cannot be played” within Apple Music app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod, like: signing out & in Apple account, restarting Apple Music app, connecting iPhone to computer and re-authoring in iTunes, etc. If you have tried all these solutions but still this error exists, why not try an Apple Music alternative? There are quite a great number of wonderful music apps for you.
Bonus: How to Back up Downloaded Items from Apple Music for Playing without Above Issue
We know that all music items purchased on iTunes Store will be automatically synced to iPhone and other iOS devices. Also, you could manually transfer music from computer to iPhone with iTunes. iTunes would also help you sync purchased music from iPhone to iTunes via its Purchased Items feature. However, is there any other way to transfer purchased music from iPhone to computer without using iTunes? Of course yes. That’s what we are going to make a bonus to you - Leawo iTransfer, a professional iOS data transfer and backup software tool that could help you easily transfer almost all data and files from iPhone to computer.
Download and install Leawo iTransfer on your computer and then follow the below steps to learn how to transfer music from iPhone to computer.
Step 1. Run Leawo iTransfer, and connect iPhone to computer with the USB cable. The software will automatically detect the libraries of your iPhone and show them in the left sidebar in different categories. Choose the “Music” library, and then all available songs will be displayed on the right.
Step 2. Hold the “Ctrl” key and click to choose songs, and then right click the selected files to choose “Transfer to > My Computer”.
Step 3. Check “Save to Folder” in the pop-up dialog and click “Change” to choose a folder on your computer to save the music files, and then click “Transfer Now” to start transferring music from iPhone to computer.
After transferring, you could get desired songs from iPhone to computer. Actually, as a professional iOS data transfer tool, Leawo iTransfer could help you transfer up to 14 types of data and files between iOS devices, iTunes and computer. You could not only transfer music from iPhone to computer, but also directly transfer songs from computer to iPhone, put iPad photos to computer, etc.