I'm a bit confused about iTunes in the Cloud vs. iTunes Match. My understanding is that iTunes in the Cloud allows me to have my songs in the cloud. I can see all my songs by turning on "Show all music" on my iOS device. iTunes Match allows me to add music to the Apple cloud that was not bought in iTunes. I have enabled that on my Mac to add music I buy from Amazon.

But why is there an iTunes Match switch on the iOS device? I cannot buy music on iOS and add it to iTunes and turning on "Show all music" already gives me all songs.

3 Answers 3


iTunes Match is a subscription service that allows you to sync your music collection across all devices that you add to the service. Songs are either "matched" or "uploaded". Matched songs appear much like they do if you have purchased them, in fact if you delete a matched song from your device, the copy you download will be the full DRM-free 256kbps version of that song from iTunes.

Without the subscription service, Apple still makes all previous purchases available to you. It knows you have purchased them and allows you to re-download them. In this sense you are getting part of the iTunes Match service but it only works for songs purchased from iTunes.

Show All Music does exactly that. It shows all your music whether on the device or in the cloud. Turn it off and you only see items that have been downloaded to your device. This is really handy when you are offline. Nothing worse than trying to use your iPhone to play songs that are still in the cloud when you are in airplane mode.

So to answer your question, you need to turn on iTunes Match to be able to see your non-downloaded songs that were not purchased from iTunes or did not "match" songs in the iTunes store. Once you have downloaded everything you can turn iTunes Match off if you like, but every time you turn it on again it "replaces" the music on your device with what is in iTunes Match.


I agree that they make it confusing in their advertising. I think part of the problem is that they have blurred the lines quite a bit recently, leaving one key difference: music purchased with iTunes vs. that purchased elsewhere. iTunes Match uploads your music and puts it on all of your devices regardless of where you purchased it, while iTunes on iCloud just does that with music you purchased from iTunes.

For example, I have a number of songs that I purchased from Amazon, and they consequently don't sync to my iPhone even though they are on my computer. This would apply to music ripped from CDs as well.

  • Mmmkay...but this does not tell me why there are two switches on the iPhone: one to enable iTunes Match and another one to show all music.
    – Krumelur
    Mar 19, 2015 at 19:09
  • Oops - I should have read your question better. Sorry about that. I'm not sure I follow your question completely, but since I don't have iTunes Match, I can't experiment with it. I do know that the "Show All Music" appears to be related entirely to what is shown in the Music app - if it is disabled, there shouldn't be any songs that have a cloud icon next to them. Mar 20, 2015 at 0:48

Show All Music shows both music that exists on your local device, and music that exists in your personal Apple cloud, whether it is from iTunes in the Cloud (meaning purchased from iTunes) or iTunes Match (meaning not purchased from iTunes, and assuming you have subscribed to iTunes Match).

The iTunes Match option lets you enable or disable the iTunes Match music library on a particular device, without affecting your subscription to the service overall. If you subscribe to the service but turn off this option on a device, you will not have access to any songs in iTunes Match, and the only music on your device will be items purchased from the device and music synced directly to the device from a computer. Turning it on will replace the music library on the device with the iTunes Match cloud library (but will not download tracks unless you specifically choose to do so; otherwise, it will stream them from Apple's servers).

See the iTunes Match on [iDevice] article on Apple's website.

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