Why Can't I Turn Off iTunes Genius?

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While iTunes Genius provides a lot of cool features — Genius Mixes, Genius Playlists, and suggestions for music you might like based on your tastes — for some users, it can be frustrating.

Every time you sync an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your iTunes library, iTunes send Genius data to Apple. Sometimes this takes just a few seconds, but if you've got a lot of music or it's been a while sync you last synced, it can take Genius a long time to send that data, causing syncing to take a long time, too (and I mean a long time. I've waited half an hour or more).

If you find yourself annoyed at how long Genius takes, you may want to turn it off. But what do you do when you don't see an option to turn off iTunes Genius?

Turning off Genius is usually pretty easy, but there are two Apple services you might be using that could prevent you from doing it. You won't be able to easily turn off iTunes Genius if you're an Apple Music subscriber or if you use iTunes Match, Apple's service that puts a copy of your music library in your iCloud account and lets you keep music in sync across multiple devices. In both cases, that means you use iCloud Music Library. As long as that's enabled, you won't be able to turn off iTunes Genius.

How to Turn Off Genius If You Don't Use iCloud Music Library

If you're not an iTunes Match or Apple Music customer, and therefore don't have iCloud Music Library, turning off Genius is generally as simple as:

  1. Clicking the File menu in iTunes. (In older versions of iTunes, click Store instead and skip to step 3.)

  2. Clicking Library.

  3. Clicking Turn Off Genius.

The menu names used to turn off Genius are slightly different depending on what version of iTunes you have. Check out this article for more information on how versions vary.

Before you turn off Genius, though, keep in mind that disabling it will also turn off features you may want, like Genius Mixes and personalized recommendations for music you'll like, and will convert any Genius Playlists you've made into a traditional playlist.

Turning Off Genius If You Use Apple Music or iTunes Match

If you're an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscriber, things are a little bit more complicated. In that case, you may have tried the earlier directions and not seen any option to turn off Genius in the File menu. That's because Genius is always enabled as long as you're using iCloud Music Library, and you have to use iCloud Music Library with Apple Music and iTunes Match. As long as iCloud Music Library is on, you won't be able to turn off Genius.

Genius is available to any iTunes users who turns the feature on. Both Apple Music and iTunes Match require a subscription, which presumably you want to keep. But if you want to keep Apple Music or iTunes Match, you'll also have to keep iTunes Genius turned on no matter how long syncing takes.

You can, of course, turn iCloud Music Library off and then turn Genius off. This won't affect the music already added to your iCloud Music Library account (i.e., it won't be deleted), but you won't be able to access it again until you turn it back on. When you do, iTunes will have to spend some time re-connecting to iCloud Music Library and syncing any new information about your library.

If you're an Apple Music or iTunes Match user and you still want to turn Genius off, you first have to turn iCloud Music Library off. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Open iTunes on a computer that's connected to the Internet.

  2. Click the iTunes menu.

  3. Click Preferences.

  4. On the General tab, uncheck the box next to iCloud Music Library. Then click OK.

  5. Click File.

  6. Click Library.

  7. Click Turn Off Genius.

How to Turn iTunes Genius On Again

If you later decide that you want iCloud Music Library or Genius back, simply go to the Preferences menu and turn iCloud Music Library back on.