Apple has publicly acknowledged an iTunes bug whereby the program removes music stored on users' hard drives without permission. The company said it has yet to identify the cause of the bug but is currently working on a patch to address the issue following an "extremely small number" of reports from users.
News that iTunes was deleting music from users' locally-stored music libraries gathered steam earlier in May when composer James Pinkstone found approximately 122GB worth of music gone from his hard drive after signing up to Apple Music. Pinkstone claims that after scanning his music library, the program began transferring his music over from iTunes while deleting the files from his hard drive in the process.
After the news broke, other users began to chime in with tales of similar experiences, sparking confusion about how Apple Music uploads and stores songs transferred over from users' computers. Apple has now come out and said that there does in fact appear to be some instances in which locally-stored files are being deleting, though added that this was in fact a bug affecting iTunes, not Apple Music.
A statement from Apple shared with The Loop read: "In an extremely small number of cases users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission. 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."
In the meantime, we recommend always keeping your music backed up.