Apple Sent Two Technicians To Investigate Music Download Deletions

Image courtesy of Jaap Joris

When your Apple product starts acting up, maybe you go the Genius Bar, maybe you call tech support, maybe you just ask a friend for advice. Or maybe, if your blog post about Apple Music apparently deleting thousands of downloaded files makes national news headlines, two Apple techs come knocking on your door. 

Two weeks ago, James Pinkstone wrote on Vellum Atlanta how all of his downloaded music, including original content, appeared to have been deleted by Apple Music without his permission. In response to the uproar caused by his story, James says a pair of Apple staffers recently made a house call to see if they could recreate the issue.

Pinkstone writes in a blog update that the technicians spent the better part of an entire day trying to try to reproduce the problem using a special version of iTunes to track what went wrong.

According to the original Vellum blog post, once files are compared to Apple’s database for matches, the original files are removed from the internal hard drive.

“If Apple Music saw a file it didn’t recognize—which came up often, since I’m a freelance composer and have many music files that I created myself—it would then download it to Apple’s database, delete it from my hard drive, and serve it back to me when I wanted to listen, just like it would with my other music files it had deleted,” Pinkstone wrote.

The hope over the weekend was that the deletion would happen again, and through the connected specialized version of iTunes, the technicians would be able to document what happened in detail.

The trio spent hours troubleshooting, but the mass deletion never occurred again.

“This time, the files remained, which was just one of many confounding elements of my whole saga,” Pinkstone writes. “The problem wasn’t cut-and-dry, therefore has proven difficult to replicate.”

While the endeavor didn’t return any insight on why Pinkstone’s files were deleted, Apple’s decision to send technicians to investigate the issue shows the company is taking the problem — which others have encountered — seriously.

In addition to trying to root out the cause of the deletion, Apple released an update to iTunes on Monday that aims to fix the deletion issue.

The company contends that the update includes “additional safeguards” but didn’t specify what those were.

“In an extremely small number of cases users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission,” Apple says in statement to TechCrunch last week. “We’re taking these reports seriously as we know how important music is to our customers and our teams are focused on identifying the cause. We have not been able to reproduce this issue, however, we’re releasing an update to iTunes early next week which includes additional safeguards. If a user experiences this issue they should contact AppleCare.”

Apple Sent Two Men to My House. No, They Weren’t Assassins. [Vellum]
New version of iTunes addresses the music deletion issue [TechCrunch]