Whether on your Mac or mobile device, listening to music has long been an essential feature on Apple devices. With the 2015 introduction of the Apple Music subscription service, it has become easier to download and consume more media. From the cloud to your device, album artwork sometimes goes missing. When this occurs, there are a few tips you can try to get them back.

Using iTunes on Mac

In this first step, you’ll learn how to reset album artwork for albums in iTunes.

  1. On Mac, open the iTunes app.
  2. Select the Library.
  3. Choose Albums on the left side of the screen.

Get Album Artwork

The first thing you can try to resolve your issue is to right-click on an album in iTunes that’s missing artwork and choosing Get Album Artwork. In the popup menu, confirm by selecting Get Album Artwork. Repeat manually for every album in your collection that is missing artwork. This solution doesn’t always work, especially for singles and incomplete albums that you might have purchased years ago.

You can also select File > Library > Get Album Artwork if you’re missing a lot of artwork. This step also plays an important role below.

Start Playing a Song

Album artwork in iTunes often returns after you begin playing a song on an album where there is a problem. This solution usually works best for me.

Organize Library

Another option is to re-organize your iTunes library by selecting File > Library > Organize Library from the toolbar in iTunes.

Rebuild iTunes Music Library

Under this solution:

  1. Exit iTunes on your computer.
  2. Back up your iTunes Media folder on your computer. This folder can be found in Music on your home folder on Mac.
  3. Copy iTunes Library.itl and iTunes Library.xml.
  4. Delete the iTunes Library or iTunes Library.itl file.
  5. Launch iTunes and then choose File > Library > Import Playlist.
  6. Navigate to the iTunes Library.xml, click Choose.
  7. After a few minutes, your iTunes music library is now rebuilt.

iTunes Music Library rebuild

Clear the Cache

On macOS, iTunes creates a cache folder that includes artwork. Deleting and replacing this folder is another possible solution to the problem of missing album artwork. To do so:

  1. Find the Music folder under Home on your Mac.
  2. Inside, click the iTunes folder.
  3. Next, choose the Album Artwork folder.
  4. Delete the Cache folder inside.
  5. Empty the Trash on your computer.
  6. Restart iTunes.

Note: Don’t delete any other folder inside the Album Artwork folder.

iTunes Cache

For Something Different

You can also manually add album artwork through iTunes on your computer.

  1. Search for the album on Google and download the appropriate artwork to your computer.
  2. In iTunes, right-click on the album.
  3. Select Album Info.
  4. Choose Album.
  5. Click Add Artwork.
  6. Import the artwork you downloaded from Google.

The artwork added will eventually make its way across all of your iCloud-enabled devices.

album artwork manually add

Regardless of the iTunes solution you choose, give it time. Each of the options mentioned above sometimes takes a few minutes to complete. You may also want to reboot your computer after trying any of the solutions; sometimes that little step does the trick.

Using Apple Music

Album artwork occasionally goes missing in Apple Music too. To resolve this, you can make some tweaks on your computer in iTunes or on your iPhone.

On Your Computer

  1. If you’re going this route, select File > Library > Get Album Artwork in iTunes as first mentioned above.
  2. Next, choose File > Library > Update iCloud Music Library.
  3. After the iCloud Music Library has been updated, open the Music app on your iOS device.
  4. If there are still songs or albums missing artwork, remove the downloads from your device.
  5. Next, tap the download icon to the right of the song (or album) to download the media again from the iCloud Music Library.

On Your Phone

Another option is to update the iCloud Music Library on your computer through iTunes and then:

  1. Go into the Settings app on your iPhone and tap Music.
  2. From there, turn off iCloud Music Library.
  3. Tap Turn Off to confirm.

After waiting a few seconds, turn on iCloud Music Library again, and:

  1. At the prompt, Merge your music.
  2. Go into the Music app and see if the issue has been resolved.

Turn off iCloud Music

Another iPhone Solution

Often, the music on our iOS devices is a mix of iTunes titles and downloaded content from Apple Music. Because of this, the missing artwork might not be related to Apple Music at all. Regardless of the reason, you can also try deleting all of the music off of your iOS device and seeing if that helps resolves the issue. Before doing so, however, be sure that you’re using iCloud for backup. Otherwise, depending on the type of music, your titles could be lost forever.

  1. On your iPhone, tap the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap iPhone Storage.
  4. Under Recommendations, choose Edit above All Songs.
  5. Tap the red circle to the left of All Songs.
  6. Tap Delete.

The Music app is now free of content. You can download songs and albums again through Apple Music (or iTunes, when applicable). Check to see if the album covers have finally returned.

Odd and Ends

There are a few other things you can try to restore album covers in iTunes or Apple Music, including:

Stay Updated

First, be sure you’re using the newest version of macOS and iOS on your devices. On Mac, click on the Apple icon at the top right of your device. From there, select About This Mac. Click on the Software Update button and follow the directions if an update is available to download and install.

To update iOS, tap on the Settings app on your Home screen. Next, select General. From there, tap Software Update and follow the instructions.

Contact Apple

Still having problems? You should contact Apple iTunes support, and hopefully, they can resolve your issue quickly.

As you can see, there are numerous ways to add missing artwork to your iTunes or Apple Music collection. Your best bet is to start on iTunes and trying some of the would-be solutions there first. If none of those solutions work, move onto our iPhone suggestions.