Tim Cook and U2 announced that the band’s new album “Songs of Innocence” would be automatically gifted to Apple’s over 500 million iTunes users last week following the announcement of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but many iTunes users were not happy with seeing music from U2 added to their iTunes libraries (even for free).

While iTunes supports a way to “hide” previous purchases, the complaints and confusion apparently grew loud enough to warrant a dedicated support site for permanently removing the free U2 album from iTunes purchase history. Apple says once you remove the free album from your iTunes purchase history and library, you will need to “get it again” if you decide you want it. The U2 album is available for free until October 13th next month when the album will then be available for sale at various retailers. View below for information on how to remove the free U2 album…

It was reported last week that 2 million of the more than 500 million iTunes users downloaded the free U2 album, although it was unclear how much of a factor automatic downloads and iTunes Radio streaming played into that (somewhat low) number.

To remove this album:

  1. Go to http://itunes.com/soi-remove.
  2. Click Remove Album to confirm you’d like to remove the album from your account.
  3. Sign in with the Apple ID and password you use to buy from the iTunes Store.
  4. You’ll see a confirmation message that the album has been removed from your account.

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.

The public reaction to having U2’s album available automatically for free directly in customers’ iTunes libraries seemed to surprise Apple as the company pushed the complimentary album with an email campaign and even a new ad seen below.

While the U2 album is free for customers through mid-October, it came at quite a high cost for Apple (not just counting the public reaction). The New York Times reported last week that Apple paid for more than $100M for the rights the release the album for iTunes customers, and it sounds like the iPhone maker has more plans with U2 slated for the future.

Update: A little damage control after the SOI removal tool debut? Apple SVP Eddy Cue tells Mashable that 33 million people have “experienced” Songs of Innocence using iTunes, iTunes Radio, or Beats Music.

“Just six days after its release on iTunes, a record breaking 33 million people have already experienced the album,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services, said in a statement to Mashable. When asked what “experienced the album” means, an Apple spokesperson clarified that it means “listened to it” — either on iTunes, iTunes Radio or Beats Music.