After taking some heat over its decision to force the free U2 album, “Songs of Innocence”, onto users’ devices last Tuesday, Apple today published a support document and released a tool which removes the album from users’ iTunes music library, as well as from their iCloud purchase history.

The decision to give away the Irish rock band’s latest album has backfired because having added it to purchase history has automatically downloaded the album for folks with automatic music downloads enabled in Settings.

The free web-based tool is available right here.

Upon signing in with your Apple ID, “Songs of Innocence” will get removed from your iTunes music library and disappear from your iCloud purchase history, meaning it will no longer be available for you to re-download as a previous purchase.

U2 Songs of Innocence removal tool

“If you downloaded the songs to iTunes on your Mac or PC or to the Music app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you’ll need to delete them manually,” notes the firm.

Note that Apple’s method still allows you to unhide the removed album. Just fire up iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC, click “Account” under your iTunes account name, click “Manage” under the Hidden Purchases section and finally click Unhide below “Songs of Innocence” under the Music section.

U2 free album on iTunes (image 001)

If you want to grab your free copy of the album, you can do so follow this tutorial.

Apple is providing the free download through October 13, after which time the free album will become a paid download and launch across other platforms and services.

“Songs of Innocence” can also be streamed on iTunes Radio and Beats Music.

According to The New York Times, giving away the U2 album required Apple to commit to a hundred million dollar marketing spend, excluding the royalty.

[Apple Support, iTunes tool]

  • Just the beginning, mark my words. There’s going to be far more complaints coming soon.

  • hkgsulphate

    this reminds me of Ping

  • Marco Bartolomeu

    complains about what???
    i dont understand….

    • Look at this way Apple was trying so they thought something nice, by giving a free album to every iTunes users. Not may people love or listened to Rock music. Instead of giving a free album, they should have given their customers something else maybe a 5 dollars gift card for iTunes or something. There is going to be more complaints about other things regarding Apple.

      • Marco Bartolomeu

        Complains About what?

      • felixtaf

        Giving away free stuff, I guess. But forced download is lame. Also, It wasnt downloaded into my devices. It jus shows in my account.

      • felixtaf

        Apart from forced download, I dont see anything wrong in this. If its a free app, we all will love it. Its music, so diff people-diff taste.
        The album will be worth more than 5$ for sure. So, a U2 fan will enjoy it, while others will cry over it.

      • I like U2, but some or majority do not. A gift card would’ve been better across the boards in my opinion.

      • felixtaf

        But a gift card is useless, if your country doesnt have that support yet. I think Apple gift cards arent available for most countires out there. So, gift cards are out of question.

      • Wow really? Dang they need to change that, but in due time I guess.

      • felixtaf

        Yes. They need to!!!

      • It wasn’t forced. As an iTunes Match subscriber I didn’t even see it in my library until I manually downloaded it from iTunes on OS X and then updated iTunes Match. It was given a way as a purchase to everybody as a gift and just like any gift you can return it (or in the case of iTunes hide it). Rather easy in fact, you either turn off “Show all Music” (so only music downloaded to your device gets shown) or download iTunes on a PC / Mac (or open it if installed) and then hide the purchase. I guess the problem is some people are so arrogant they can’t accept or don’t like free stuff. Apple was just trying to do something nice and I bet most of the people complaining didn’t een listen to it. I’m part of the younger generation and can’t say I particularly like U2 yet listened to the album anyway.

      • Ashley

        Except if you have automatic downloads enabled (and having them enabled should have never been an issue) then you ended up with a shitty U2 album that you didn’t want and data used without your consent. Plus I had the ever fun issue of it refusing to delete off my phone after said automatic download.

        It’s not about them giving it away for free. It’s about shoving it on every iTunes user instead of sending out a download link like every other person who gives away free music. Just because something is free doesn’t mean that everybody wants it.

      • I have automatic downloads enabled and didn’t receive it automatically.
        Besides why should having it download automatically be a problem? How can you say you don’t like it without listening to it and by it downloading automatically (even though it didn’t for me – see my comment above) it makes it easier to listen to. Once listened to then if you dislike it you can remove it / hide it…

      • Ashley

        Then you got lucky, because that’s what happened to a great deal of people. Why is that a problem? Because 1. I don’t want an album being added to my library that I didn’t purchase and 2. It used data off my plan and I didn’t authorize it. As for listening to the album, I don’t need to. I have never liked U2 and their shitty music. I don’t want it hidden from my account, I want it removed. I didn’t buy it and I don’t want it in my purchase history.

        You’re missing the point though, this isn’t about U2 or the album being free. It’s about consent and the blatant disregard of it.

      • I’m pretty sure somewhere in Apples terms and conditions you authorised them to do what they’ve done. Also how can you say you don’t like the album without listening to it? It’s like saying you dislike chocolate without actually eating any…

      • Ashley

        Perhaps you should go read Apple’s TOS because it absolutely does not say anywhere in there that you give them the authority to purchase things on your behalf (and free or not – it is classified as a purchase).

        Again, like I said, I don’t need to listen to the album. I hate U2. I have always hated U2 and that is not ever going to change. You’re acting like I’ve never heard U2… I don’t know how old you are, but they’ve been putting out shitty music for almost 40 years. I’ve heard them. I’ll not subject myself to that swill willingly.

      • Perhaps you should go read Apple’s TOS because it absolutely does not say anywhere in there that you give them the authority to purchase things on your behalf (and free or not – it is classified as a purchase).

        It’s classified as a gift not a purchase. I’m pretty sure Apple is legally sound otherwise they’d have a lawsuit on their hands.
        Also if you won’t even force yourself to listen to the album how can you possibly say you hate it? You’re just being delusional…

      • Ashley

        Not a gift if it’s located under your “purchase” history in your iTunes. Besides, I should have the right to refuse a “gift”. Again, this all goes back to CONSENT. How hard is that to understand? Go read Apple’s TOS. There is nothing giving them the consent to do this.

        Again, I’ve heard U2. They haven’t bloody changed in 40 years. You don’t think that I didn’t hear enough to want to stab my ear drums out every time I tried to delete and it just decided to auto-play? What don’t you understand about me hating U2 and not needing to listen to the album to know I won’t like it? You know you don’t want to eat a steaming pile of shit don’t you? You should try it just to be sure though. I mean, you can’t *know* you won’t like it, even though you’ve tried steaming shit before. This is a DIFFERENT pile of shit. You might like this one.

      • Not a gift if it’s located under your “purchase” history in your iTunes. Besides, I should have the right to refuse a “gift”. Again, this all goes back to CONSENT. How hard is that to understand? Go read Apple’s TOS. There is nothing giving them the consent to do this.

        Gifts have always been located in your purchase history and always will. If. I gifted you an app that app would still show up in your purchase history. As for your continued comment on the legality of what Apples done to my knowledge you don’t need someone’s consent to send them a gift. If I knew where you lived it would be perfectly all right for me to send you something irrespective of the fact that you might not like what I send you. As for your comparison of music and “a steaming pile of shit” is a ridiculous comparison and as far from reality as you can get so I shan’t even bother to comment further on this matter.

      • Ashley

        A steaming pile of shit is a ridiculously accurate analogy for U2.

        And again, I have the right to refuse a gift and dispose of it. The fact that I had to email back and forth with Apple for two days to get this removed from my account is ridiculous. The sheer fact that they’ve made a page for people to remove it tells you how many people want it gone. It’s not okay to just add stuff to someone’s library without their consent. Period. Here’s a better analogy for your delicate senses: It’s like someone breaking into your house and gluing a bunch of trash to your floor, making it difficult to completely dispose of by leaving bits of trash embedded in the glue. You don’t want this trash and didn’t ask for it, but someone has left this “gift” for you.

      • Guest

        How do you know you don’t like to eat sh*t if you don’t try some? I’ve never liked U2. I don’t like the sound of the lead singer’s voice or their monotonous guitar licks. Maybe if they hired new band members and played better music…oh, wait…then it wouldn’t be U2 would it.

  • Fanboy 

    Feel bad for Apple and U2 🙁 they were just trying to do something nice :/

    • Kurtiz

      Yes, they were, but they shouldn’t have forced the album onto their fanbase. I mean, I get not everyone likes U2, but personally, I really don’t care, free is free to me.

      Edit: Come to think of it, I haven’t even listened to the album yet. Is it any good?

      • Fanboy 

        Thing is, the way Apple had to release it for it to be free to everybody was to add it to everyone’s “purchased” list. When that happens, it automatically shows up on all your devices, same way an album will show up on your iPad if you purchase it on your iPhone. Unless you have “Show all music” turned off, like I do so I still haven’t seen it 🙂

      • Ricardo Monterrubio

        so if some one give you something you don´t like on christmas would you get mad at him ?

      • gittlopctbi

        But this isn’t Christmas. And Apple is a company, not family or friend. And it wasn’t on my wishlist. And my family and friends know I do not like U2. And I’m not angry, but I am annoyed.

      • Kurtiz

        The way I was brought we always accepted what we got, no matter what it was, even if it was one of those terrible, itchy sweaters. But I see what you’re getting at.

      • Miguz007

        Really? This is an issue with people? a free album? One of the greatest, and most successful bands on the planet, and we’ve made THIS an issue?
        If say I was given a free “country” album (not a fan), I’d simply delete it out of my iTunes. I wouldn’t be demanding Apple make a tool so that I “permanently” remove the songs. lol
        Please help me understand the negatives to giving someone a free album?

      • Kurtiz

        Negatives? Well, they might like it, and then they’ll tell two friends and then they’ll tell two friends and so on. 🙂

  • Tony Trenkle Jr.

    You guys gonna put up about the next Yosemite beta? 9 to 5 Mac has had it up for a couple hours.

    • Juan Flores

      This blog is turning into garbage with all the ads and sponsorship…it is sad how money will turn people into something else.

      • Annie Leonhardt

        Adblock exists in the world and guess what… it’s free. xD

      • ali_plus

        No good for iOS users right?

      • Annie Leonhardt

        Yes, Jailbreak.

      • Chang in Charge


      • Juan Flores

        Means I have to jailbreak…I love jail breaking but so far I have everything I need on iOS 8 like quick reply and control center. I’m not going to jail break just for Adblock. Jailbreaking is dying off

      • Annie Leonhardt

        Well, don’t complain about ads if you aren’t willing to do what’s needed to prevent ads.

      • Juan Flores

        Don’t be a hypocrite…

      • Annie Leonhardt

        How am I being a hypocrite? I have adblock on all my devices, and I haven’t seen an ad in YEARS… literally. If you’re going to complain about ads, but not willing to do something about the ads, why complain about the ads?

        “Hey man, I’m hungry”
        “Make you something to eat”
        “No… I don’t feel like it”

        Quit your complaining, it’s 2014 and there’s Adblock. Jailbreaking takes less than 120 seconds…

        Enjoy your ads.

      • Juan Flores

        Annie is having a bad day guys…
        Calm down. Why do you have to rain on other people’s day?
        No one asked for your input here I was just stating the fact that ads suck and how this website has grown with an exaggerated amount of them. Sorry we ALL don’t have jailbroken devices. Some of us don’t really see the need for it anymore.

        No body cares if you have Adblock up your a$$, you twat.

        Go eat some more doughnuts…

      • Mikasa Ackerman

        You seem mad?

      • Juan Flores

        You seem to care because?

      • Annie Leonhardt

        Oh no, forgot the kid was 12. Time to leave. Get Adblock and move on, kid.

      • Juan Flores

        Okay, you’re new to this site.
        So when you call someone else a kid you just make yourself seem like the immature one here. Also putting your unnecessary input into someone elses’ opinion about ads just makes you seem like a desperate troll hungry for attention which I have done my share of feeding you. Have a nice day, bruh 😉

      • Annie Leonhardt

        Nice attempt to redeem yourself, but you failed. Move on, kid.

      • Juan Flores

        Says the one pretending to be an anime character xD who are you calling kid…kid. I believe there was never a reason for redemption young grasshopper.

      • Mikasa Ackerman

        Attack on Titan is definitely not for kids.

      • Juan Flores

        There’s a game for it on the 3DS for it nuff said…

      • Mikasa Ackerman

        There’s a game for everything on 3DS. Get out.

      • CryptoCoin420

        jailbreaking is not dying….Jailbreaking is the only reason I still have an iPhone and just ordered the iPhone 6, I know it will be jailbroken. So IDK about dying. Harder to do with the newer iOS 8 because of free security research by the hackers for Apple and only a handful of people in the world smart enough to hack the iPhone? Yes.

      • Juan Flores

        The hackers getting hacked?
        Most jailbreak users who rather get pirated tweaks instead of paying for them. (Don’t want to include you in there but idk) a lot of people have lost interest in it. Sure there still is some pretty neat tweaks out there but is it really a trade off to have your device crash every so often?
        I’m not hating on them I respect all developers I actually PAY for every tweak I buy even if I don’t end up using it I still pay for their troubles. But I’ve got everything I need with stock iOS 8 thanks 🙂

      • Chang in Charge

        I didn’t realize you were talking mobile, most of my comments on IDB are done via web browser.

  • Ex

    The thing with music is its all subjective. This album is trash is the eyes of many so they wouldn’t it even if it’s free, they should not have forced it on people. Pretty sure EVERYONE would have liked some free iTunes money. Since they spent 100 mil I’m sure they could have.

  • Annie Leonhardt

    When your album isn’t wanted, even at the price of Free, that should tell them something. 😮

  • Ricardo Monterrubio

    so if someone gives you something you don´t like on christmas. Would you get mad at him ?

  • Hotrod

    This would be great if I could hide or delete other purchases that I have made in the past

    • Will Mason Moses

      You can. I think. Right click the song in iTunes and hit hide purchase (I think, can’t remember)

  • Chris Gilmore


    • Maxim∑

      its not Justin Bieber, One direction or Nikki Minaj?


  • Off topic will Fitbit works with apple health app?

    • Maxim∑

      yes, fitbit announced they will work with the API

  • neoamaru

    i really don’t know why they hadn’t used iTunes Match & seeded the album to Rockers only,
    it’s sad to see people hating on U2..(..& i’m thankful it’s actually not a Bieber or a Cyrus album..or worse..that kayynayy guy) 😛 ROFL

  • Benjamin Reynolds

    I for one am stoked I got the album for free. I’v been listening to it for the last few days, it’s a good one IMO.

  • Bluedav

    Get a grip, the album is actually really good. The first two songs are great!!! I know I’m not the only one that likes getting stuff for free!!!

  • The real tool is the person that complain about that to begin with

  • Steve

    I’m fine with them giving away free music. That’s great stuff. My problem is with the distribution method.

    Forcibly adding content to user’s machine, without their consent and then needing a tool to remove it comes dangerously close to spyware territory.

  • guest9080

    Comments on this website are getting worse than youtube.

  • MrSolo816

    People just look for stuff to bitch about… I don’t dislike or like U2.I use iTunes Match and it appeared in my library in the cloud. Not a big deal. I appreciate the thought by Apple and U2.

  • YerMum

    Good thing apple did this. Bono and crew can suck it.

  • CryptoCoin420

    Deleted. Thank you IDB.

  • Neil Sardesai

    Didn’t Apple give away Winnie the Pooh for free with iBooks? I believe it was automatically downloaded too. I don’t remember people complaining then.

  • pietje puk

    thanks, IDB. i don’t like u2 so much. bye bye.

  • Norma

    The problem with mine is that this album is the only thing that appears on my library. My library disappeared!!! I tried from my music and files show corrupt and when i copy the files from ipod it won’t let me put it back on my itunes. GRRRRR where did my music go????

  • Londo Mollari

    It was a pain in the arse to come here to get this unwanted, dated shit off my phone. I can’t stand the sight of their crap and it was an irritating imposition of Apple, no matter how well intended, to put so many people to this unnecessary trouble.

  • gary

    W T F u2 are so shite it makes me sick to be stuck with this album. gonna have to change phone companies when my contract ends next month. goodbye and FUCKOFF apple