October 2, 2015 at 6:51 p.m. PST
When Apple Music’s free trial expires, customers must pay a monthly subscription fee. This article covers how to cancel your Apple Music subscription.
How to Cancel Apple Music
Apple Music is a little sneaky with its user interface. Canceling isn’t as obvious as one would think. Users are conditioned to look for an account screen. This seems to be a universally accepted convention for managing subscriptions. Apple buries this setting under “View Apple ID”, perhaps in an effort to obfuscate the process. I wasn’t aware you could cancel the subscription directly from the Music app. There is another way to cancel, using iTunes, which works for any subscription, be it Apple Music, HBO NOW, or Showtime.
First, launch Apple Music and then tap on the user icon on the top left of the screen. The Account screen will appear. Tap View Apple ID.
Authenticate with the iTunes Store using your password.
The Account Settings screen will appear. Tap on the Manage button under Subscriptions.
A list of iTunes subscriptions will appear. Tap on Your Membership.
You will see a screen with Apple Music membership details. Turn off the Automatic Renewal switch.
Confirm turning off Automatic Renewal.
The Apple Music Membership screen will reappear, showing that your Apple Music subscription has been canceled. It also shows the date when your free trial will expire. Your free trial expires at 12:00 AM on the specified date.
After your trial expires, you can still use the Music app. After all, it can still play your iTunes music library. You will be persistently reminded to subscribe to Apple Music. If you attempt to play Apple Music tracks, you will see an alert.
You can also confirm that Apple Music has been canceled by tapping on the user icon on the top left and viewing the Account screen. You should see the text “Join Apple Music” if your membership has been canceled and has expired.
If Music is cluttered with Apple Music albums or songs you added to My Music, it may be a good idea to remove these. You may also want to remove any downloaded Apple Music songs or albums, as these can no longer be played. They only take up space.
You can hide Apple Music by going to Settings > Music and then turning off Show Apple Music. This will simply hide Apple Music from the Music app. You will only see iTunes purchases and radio options.
If you downloaded Apple Music tracks on to your device, you can no longer play these songs if you cancel Apple Music. You can delete these albums by going to Settings > Music and turning off iCloud Music Library. You will see a prompt informing you that this will remove Apple Music songs from your device. Confirm to remove Apple Music tracks.
If you want to delete all music from your device, including iTunes purchases (they can be re-downloaded later), go to Settings > General > Usage > Manage Storage > Music. Tap the Edit button on the top right. You can delete All Songs or delete individual artists or albums.
Forgot to Cancel Apple Music?
Apple Music subscribers often forget to turn off automatic renewals or just aren’t aware of the settings. Some may not have realized that Apple will start charging you when the trial expires. After all, you never entered your credit card information, as the purchase is made through iTunes. Apple will usually send an email, but not everyone will get it.
If you have been charged for an unwanted Apple Music subscription, you may be able to get a refund. First, go to the Apple Support site and select iTunes.
Next, click or tap on Contact Apple Support.
A page with iTunes functional categories will appear. Select “iTunes Store”.
A list of options will appear. Select “iTunes Store account billing”.
You will see a page with communication options for Apple support. Choose the best option to communicate with Apple.
When you correspond or talk with a representative, make sure to inform them that you were unaware that you would be charged. Apple has issued some credits for the first month billing of Apple Music. The longer you wait, the less likely a credit becomes.
You can also file a claim with your credit card company, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Corporations will sometimes fight back if you fight a credit card charge. They could disable your Apple ID, which would exile you from the Apple ecosystem. I would only recommend doing this if you have nothing to lose — you are leaving Apple for good.
Why I Cancelled Apple Music
When Apple Music was announced, I was ecstatic. As the rumors started to surface, I began using Spotify’s free service. I liked it and was surprised that it offered so much music. I have very unique tastes in music. I’m into art rock, extreme technical metal, avant-garde jazz, fusion, thrash, classical, post-punk and progressive rock. Some of this music is difficult to find on iTunes and CD. I thought music subscription services only offered Top 40 pop music. I was skeptical, but amazed that Spotify has so much to offer. I looked at Apple Music as something that would be even better than Spotify.
Apple Music ended up being par for the course with Apple’s stock apps. While I do think Maps was maligned on the Internet, it isn’t as good as Google Maps. Every stock Apple app isn’t as good as apps developed by third-party companies. Reminders, Maps, Notes, Safari, iTunes, Garage Band, iMovie, etc. are simple and watered-down at best. Some of these apps are just downright buggy. This was the case with Apple Music.
I really wanted to love Apple Music. I tried, but it continually let me down. It was unusable on my iPad 2 for over a month. It would simply freeze. After an update, it was usable again, but very slow. I also have an iPhone 6 and found many of the same problems. It has nothing to do with hardware or processor speed. You shouldn’t need the latest A-series 64-bit processor to play music. Spotify worked just fine on my aging iPad 2. In fact, it even works on my old iPhone 4 running iOS 7. The two deal breakers for me were the inability to find music and audio dropouts.
Finding music with Apple Music ended up being a frustrating experience. I would search for a band that I knew was offered by the service, but just get garbage results. For example, I searched for “Can” (the seminal German “krautrock” band) and got every permutation of “can” except what I was looking for. I knew they were on Apple Music, as I saw them offered on the For You screen. I tapped on the For You screen and spent a few minutes scrolling down until I found them. After several taps, I was actually listening to one of their albums. It took over five minutes to do this. That’s unacceptable. It has happened too many times.
Beyond the lame search functionality, the music is poorly organized. I would drill down into an artist and tap on their albums to discover that many albums were missing. But when I searched for the album, I sometimes found it. This happened with D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles). Their album “Crossover” was not even associated with albums on their artist page. It’s their most popular album.
I’ve experienced this poor organization of music with a few artists. With jazz or fusion, the frustration is even worse. Bruford, Bill Bruford — they’re different people according to Apple Music. Jazz musicians have their own bands and also play in other people’s bands. Apple Music made a mess of this. If you’re not into Taylor Swift, Apple Music gives you a swift kick in the pants. All of their curators seem to have missed the basic organization of music.
I find Spotify’s search functionality to be a bit cluttered, but it just works! I can find anything I want on Spotify in a few seconds. Filtering search results is easy. They seem to have invested in human beings cleaning up the data. This has to be done sometimes. You can’t just load data into a service using automation without reviewing it and cleaning it up. Spotify isn’t perfect, but I have much more success finding albums on an artist’s screen.
Apple Music’s audio dropouts are unforgivable. It seems to happen when using AirPlay. It has nothing to do with Internet connectivity, as it happens with downloaded music. I also tested my Internet connection when it happened on every occasion. It was fast enough to stream HBO, and that’s what I did, because Apple Music was cutting out. Apple Music had so many audio dropouts one evening, I just gave up and watched TV instead. But the dead air happened far too often.
Even the free version of Spotify did not suffer from audio dropouts. AirPlay works flawlessly with Spotify. Perhaps Apple can hire some Spotify engineers to re-write Apple Music’s AirPlay implementation.
Beyond the dropouts, Apple Music would constantly re-load album cover art on my Apple TV. It’s a cosmetic defect, but it looks really amateur. My overall impression of Apple Music is that it seems like an app created by college computer science students. It has some UI glitter, like the For You screen, which is derivative of Microsoft’s live tiles. The fundamentals of the service are a failure. It’s difficult to find music and there are unforgivable audio dropouts when using AirPlay.
I think I actually got off easy. I never upgraded iTunes on my Mac to use Apple Music, because I was afraid it would destroy my library. Several Apple Music users have had their iTunes Libraries re-arranged by Apple Music.
I am aware that some people like Apple Music. Maybe they are not experiencing these issues. They could possibly be fanboys who like anything Apple creates. This sort of loyalty just enables Apple to make bad apps.
There are also those who are aware of these flaws, but use Apple Music because of the better integration with Siri and iOS. The ability to use Siri with Apple Music is not a selling point when the fundamental service has such glaring flaws.
I love Spotify’s web-based player. I have friends and relatives who have computers connected to their TV and stereo. They are not Apple fans. They don’t have an Apple TV. They don’t use iTunes. When I visit, we can easily listen to music using Spotify’s web player. I just go to play.spotify.com, login, and my music is right there. I can access playlists, my history and everything else. With Apple Music, I would need to install iTunes on their computer and login with my account. Most people don’t want their guests to fiddle with computers and install software. Given Apple’s web-phobia (or incompetence with all things web-related), I don’t expect a web-based Apple Music player to be added to the iCloud website.
Spotify isn’t perfect, but it’s much better than Apple Music. Spotify is focused on one thing — their streaming music service. I think the problem with Apple Music is that Apple is just not good at developing apps. They may apply the same engineering process used to create iOS and OS X to apps. It may work well for huge undertakings, like operating systems. It doesn’t work well for apps. There aren’t really any stock apps that are done well on iOS or OS X. They’re better than the stock apps installed on most Windows PCs, but that isn’t saying much. Apple makes great hardware and operating systems. Their stock apps are mediocre. Apple Music isn’t even mediocre. It’s embarrassing.