A data-leaking bug in Apple’s Music app could wreak havoc in your library

Some Apple Music playlists are getting mixed up between users in what appears to be a server-side privacy bug. Here’s what to know about it.

The Export Playlists command selected in the Music app's File menu on a MacBook Air
Save your playlists for safekeeping | Image: Christian Zibreg/iDB
  • What’s happening? Some Apple users complain about random people’s playlists showing in their music libraries.
  • Why care? This is a significant privacy concern as some affected users reported that songs were being added or removed from their playlists.
  • What to do? Read the complaints on Reddit.

Apple Music privacy bug shows other people’s playlists

Apple has yet to comment on the issue, but that’s not stopping people from voicing their frustration in online forums. There’s no evidence of hacking as of yet.

This appears to be a server-side bug rather than in iOS or the Music app. If you see playlists in your library that you don’t recognize, you’re likely affected by it.

Go to Library → Playlists to check if other people’s playlists appear there. One affected user wrote they couldn’t’ see foreign playlists in their Apple Music profile even though they show up in their library, which is yet another indication that there’s probably a glitch with the server.

MacRumors reports that turning the Music app in the iCloud settings off, then back on, has worked for some but not all users.

How to reset the Music app’s iCloud sync state

Follow these steps to reset the Music app’s sync state:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  2. Touch your Apple ID profile picture at the top.
  3. Select the iCloud option from the list.
  4. Choose the Show All option.
  5. Toggle off Music in the list, then turn it back on again.

“User reports date back to mid-February, suggesting the problem could be related to iOS 16.3.1, which included a bug fix for iCloud settings,” MacRumors wrote.

This could mess up your whole music library

We expect Apple to release a server-side fix or an iOS update to resolve this problem as soon as possible. Seeing someone else’s playlists in your own library isn’t ideal, to say the least. But if your playlists show up in someone else’s library, and they edit it and replace some of your content, you may lose years of playlists.

And if you’ve happened to turn on the option to automatically add playlist songs to your library, this bug could create a pretty horrific mess in your music library. “I deleted the person’s playlists but then realized mine were gone too,” one Reddit user wrote. “I would be so upset if those playlists were gone forever.”

How to save a copy of your Apple Music playlists

If you’re afraid this bug could erase your playlists, saving a copy of your custom playlist for safekeeping is a good idea.

  1. Open the Music app on your Mac.
  2. Click the File menu in the Music app.
  3. Choose Library → Export Playlists from the File menu.
  4. Navigate to a folder on your Mac and type a file name in the Save As field, then click the Save button. This will save all your custom playlists as an XML file.

You may want to back up the chosen folder, just in case. Should anything happen, you’ll have a copy of all the Apple Music playlists you’ve painstakingly created that you can import into the Music app by choosing Import from the File menu.

When will Apple respond?

Some folks also reported seeing some of the individual songs they have stored in iCloud deleted on a whim. It’s unclear how many users are affected by this particular problem, but it sounds like Apple will need to prioritize this data-leaking bug.

For what it’s worth, it appears that only the iOS and iPadOS versions of the Music app are susceptible to this problem. For the time being, the stock Music app in macOS doesn’t appear to be affected by the situation. Apple has not commented on the issue, but we’ll update this article as soon as new information is available.