How to Delete Songs Directly From Your iPhone

Tired of those tunes? Set them free to make room for more

Delete song in iOS
The red delete button in the music app. Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

The days of having to connect your iPhone to a computer physically using a cable are long gone. Since iOS 5, you've had the freedom to remove songs from your phone on the fly, but this feature isn't as easy to find as you might think. You won't see a delete option anywhere in your iPhone's music library, so where could it be?

The method of deleting music is hidden to avoid the accidental removal of songs. However, you can access this hidden option so you can quickly delete songs and free up space on your phone. After you discover how to do this, you'll probably wonder why you didn't find it sooner.

Instructions in this article apply to iPhones running iOS 12 and iOS 11.

Directly Deleting Songs From Your iPhone

The great thing about iCloud and the iPhone is that you can see all your music, whether it is downloaded or in the cloud. However, if you need to delete songs that are stored locally on your iOS device, you can simplify this task by displaying only the downloaded music — not the tunes that live in the cloud. Here's how to view only the downloaded music on your iPhone and then delete the songs from only the phone or from your entire music library.

  1. Tap the Music icon on the iPhone Home screen. If it doesn't open to the Library view, tap Library at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Select Downloaded Music from the Library screen. This selection displays only the music that is physically on the iPhone.

  3. Tap Songs on the Downloaded Music screen to display a list of songs on the iPhone, listed in alphabetical order by artist.

  4. Tap a song title you want to remove from the iPhone. When you do, it begins playing, and a control bar for that song opens at the bottom of the screen. Tap the stop icon to stop the music.

    Steps to view the songs downloaded to the iPhone
  5. Touch the title of the song in the control bar at the bottom of the screen to open an information window.

  6. Tap the three-dot More icon at the bottom of the screen.

  7. Select Remove in the menu that pops up.

  8. Choose whether you want to remove the song only from the iPhone by tapping Remove Download or you want to delete it from your music library on all your devices by selecting Delete from Library. There is no further confirmation.

    Three dot menu icon, Remove button, Remove Download and Delete from Library options in Music

Deleting songs directly on the iPhone is a one-at-a-time process. There is no way to select several songs at once and delete them.

It's worth remembering that the songs you delete on your iPhone are still in your iTunes library or iCloud (if you've ever synced the phone) unless you specify to delete them from the Library. If you need them on your iPhone again in the future, you'll be able to sync via iCloud or computer and download them. If you sync the iPhone with your computer, they may appear again on your iPhone the next time you connect it depending on your settings unless you disable auto-syncing in the preferences menu.