Last Friday, when I tried to play songs on iTunes before working, songs greyed out and could not be played, which annoyed me a lot since background music helps me focus when I am working.
As soon as I got off work, I spent a whole night on solving this issue. What I found is — there are several situations that will lead to this issue, such as network connection is bad, firewall blocks iTunes, songs are unavailable, and so on.
For example, if the network connection is bad then the song you haven’t downloaded will turn grey. Moreover, if the firewall stops iTunes from connecting to the internet, then the songs on iTunes would be in grey text.
Then, I tried to distinguish the difference between each problem and conclude them into three kinds of situations. Follow me, you will get a simpler solution to fixing the issue. Besides, you will know how to save the grey out songs in the workaround.
Answer this question below and go to the corresponding method that fits for you.
1. Check whether your network is working, go to any website on a browser. If your network is not working, go to Method 1.
2. If your network is working, and you are an Apple Music subscriber, you can try to play the music on your smartphone.
And if you can play the Apple Music song on your phone, go to Method 2. If not, go to Method 3.
3. If your network is working, and you are not an Apple Music subscriber, turn to Method 3.
Method 1. Fix your Network Connection
1. Restart Your Router and Modems
Don’t know how to restart them? Read this.
2. Change a VPN
VPN crashes would stop you from connecting to the Internet, when you are using a VPN. You can change another VPN or turn it off to see if the network is alright.
Remember to contact the network provider for help, if this method can’t help you.
Method 2. Check the Apple Music
Apple Music songs also show on iTunes, so maybe the grey out songs do not come from iTunes but Apple Music. Let’s see what we can do to tackle the problems.
1. Check Status of Apple Music (skip this, if you can play most songs)
If all the songs greyed out, you can check System Status.
2. Turn off Explicit Restriction
If you have found the sign saying “This item can’t be played because it contains explicit content”, then you should turn off explicit restriction.
Turn off Explicit Restriction on iOS device
Unlock your iPhone, open the Settings app. Touch Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions, tap the button on the right of Content & Privacy Restrictions.
Turn off Explicit Restriction on Android device
It is the easiest way to turn off the restriction, just delete the Apple Music and install it back.
The normal way is below:
First, open the Apple Music app, click the three dot icon on the top right of the screen. Then, tap Settings. Scroll down to select Restrictions > Content Restrictions.
Second, enter the passcode you set before. If you forget it, you have to remove and reinstall Apple Music on your device.
3. Turn on Sync Library
Open iTunes, select Edit > Preferences. On the General tab, click the checkbox of iCloud Music Library. (if you don’t find it, make sure you have signed in to your account in iTunes) And click the OK button.
On Mac (Apple Music):
Launch Apple Music, select Music > Preference on the top of the screen. Click Sync Library, then choose the OK button to settle the change.
4. Others Possible Problem:
|Some grey out songs in a new album
|May be unreleased yet. Just wait for it.
|Travel to another region
|Back to your region / Workaround
|Artist change the song’s name
|Search artist in Apple Music to find if there is new version of the song
|Song is unavailable in Apple Music
Method 3. Fix your Operating System and iTunes
1. Fix the Problems in Your Operating System
If this issue happens accidentally, try to restart your desktop, which will fix many errors.
Update to the Latest Version of Your Operating System
Generally, the new version of the operating system will fix the issue inside the old one. So, check for the latest version or click the link below to do it.
(Update to Windows, Update to Mac OS)
Add iTunes to the Whitelist of Firewall
Make sure the iTunes is in the whitelist of the firewall, so that iTunes is allowed to connect to the Internet.
Add iTunes to the Whitelist of Firewall on PC
First: Click the magnifier icon on the menu bar, type firewall and select Windows Defender Firewall. There will be a popping window. On the left sidebar of the window, select Allow an app or feature through Window Defender Firewall.
Second: Press Change settings, scroll down to find whether the 2 checkboxes of iTunes are all selected. If not, tick them and press the OK button on the bottom.
Add Apple Music/iTunes to the Whitelist of Firewall on Mac
First: Click the Apple icon on the left of the menu bar. Then select the System Preferences. And the System Preferences window will present. Click Security & Privacy > Firewall tab, then select Lock icon on the bottom, enter the username and password.
Second: Press the Firewall Options > Add Application, pick Music app / iTunes (if you hasn’t updated to macOS Catalina). Click Add, and select OK.
Turn off Third-party Security Software
Sometimes, third-party security software will identify iTunes as untrust services and block it from using the network.
Turn it off temporarily, then open iTunes to check whether the song is still in grey or not. If you find it works, then you can turn off the security software before playing the iTunes music.
2. Fix the Problems in iTunes
Update to the Latest Version of iTunes on Mac
If you have updated to the latest macOS Big Sur, then iTunes will not be available. You can find your song in the Apple Music app.
If you can’t upgrade the system, then go to the App Store. Select Update, and you will find the available update version of iTunes.
Update to the Latest Version of iTunes on PC
Open iTunes, click Help > Check for update.
Reauthorize Your computer
Occasionally, deauthorize and authorize your computer will settle some errors.
Open Music app on mac/ iTunes on Windows, click Account > Authorizations > Deauthorize This Computer. Then, click Account > Authorizations > Authorize This Computer.
Normally, when the copyright holders of the songs decide not to put songs on Apple Music anymore, then the songs will permanently turn grey on iTunes. That means you can no longer listen to them, unless you search for it on another platform.
For sure, to prevent the issue from happening again, saving them right away is a wise idea. But it is difficult to do it by ourselves since most platforms will try to stop this kind of behaviour.
That is why we need a tool to help. Besides, I would want the tool to be compatible with popular resources (such as YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud) and provide us with the highest downloading song quality.
I have carried these thoughts and searched the tool online. And Musify Music Downloader surprisingly has met my needs. Even, it will help us to download lyric of the song at the same time (lyric will show while listening to the songs)
Also, the downloading procedure is quite easy:
Step 1: Setting the Downloading Format and Quality (skippable)
Open Musify on your desktop, then click the gear icon on the top right. And you will find the format and quality option below the 1-Click Download Mode.
If you plan to play those songs on your Hi-Fi MP3 player, you should choose FLAC and get the best quality. However, if you want to play it on many devices, you must keep the default format– MP3, which is a widely acceptable format.
Step 2: Begin the Download Process
First: Copy the (share) link of the album (for example, bandcamp).
Second: Turn to Musify and click the Paste URL button, there is a confirmation window. Make sure the songs are correct and press the Download button.
Step 3: Open the Location of the Downloaded Music Files
When the downloading process ends, choose the Downloaded tab. Then, click the folder icon on the right of one song of that album. And the folder which contains the album will be open.