Apple has officially acknowledged community reports of inadvertently deleted music, with users left with missing tracks in their libraries that may never be recovered, in a statement to iMore. The company says that it is pushing an iTunes update next week with ‘safeguards’ to pre-emptively prevent data loss.

However, Apple says it cannot reproduce the issue in internal testing so the forthcoming iTunes update is not guaranteed to work. It also means that the exact cause of the bug is still unknown, although it appears to be a problem with the iTunes desktop app misbehaving rather than the Apple Music streaming service.

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Apple says it is considering all reports of music being deleted seriously and asks anyone affected by the problem to contact AppleCare. There’s a chance that the promised iTunes update of which Apple refers is more than a simple bug fix release — Apple is readying the release of iTunes 12.4 which will include some UI changes to streamline navigation in the app.

The most likely situation is that Apple will release an emergency bug-fix update to the existing iTunes 12.3 software, given the timing. Here’s Apple’s complete statement, via iMore.

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.

Many readers have reported that either iTunes or Apple Music is errantly deleting their music collection, although the culprit is still a mystery with no confirmation from Apple about the actual source of the problem to date. For those affected by the issue, if the user is signed up to Apple Music or iTunes Match, the software will also ultimately replace personal music rips with versions from the iTunes Store.

Obviously, any time when Apple finds its own software deleting user content is a big problem for the company. It is treating the matter seriously but it may be some time before a true fix is distributed to users, as the company is yet to pinpoint the problem internally.

For now, the best course of action (as always with technology) is to ensure you have complete, recent, data backups of your music library. That way, if something does happen in the interim, you can always rollback files (or your entire library) if stuff ends up missing. We’ll bring more updates on the matter as they are provided.

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