iTunes iCloud Match Error (Fix): This item was not added to iCloud because an error occurred.

Runtime: 1 Lazy Saturday

Moving to iCloud? You might not be aware that some of your files will error out for no apparent reason. Here’s how to fix them.

So, I decided to give iTunes iCloud service a try. Like anything Apple, I’m always a bit skeptical. They always promise the world, but when it comes to iTunes (in particular) I am always especially wary. My music is precious. iTunes always seems to have mind of it’s own.

So I signed the fate of my music collection over to the iCloud. Lo and behold, nearly half of my songs weren’t able to be uploaded to iClud [sic]. There’s an icon that looks like a cloud and an exclamation mark:

Clicking on the icon brings up this not-so-helpful dialog box:

This item was not added to iCloud because an error occurred.

This item was not added to iCloud because an error occurred. Oh, a 'problem' light. How marvelous.

It’s not a very helpful error. It doesn’t give you an error code, or tell you why an error occurred. “OK,” indeed.

So naturally, I put this error into the Google machine, and found a few threads on the subject. The original solution was found in this thread, and I have chosen to document the process with more detail. Come along for the ride.

How to fix this error the least painful way, step-by-step.

(Using iTunes 10.6.1 – most current version as of this writing.)

Step 1: Sort all your music by iCloud Status.

If you don’t see iCloud status you can right-click the bar with the column names and check iCloud Status:

iCloud Status Column

Make sure iCloud Status is checked. Sort by this field.

Step 2: Convert the Offending Songs to MP3 (even if they are already in MP3 format).

[Author’s note: Read in this step in full before beginning.]

After sorting, select all your songs with an error status, right-click on the list and choose Create MP3 Version (even if they already are in MP3 format).

Create MP3 Version

You will wind up with duplicate songs, and later you’re going to delete the originals (when iTunes has finished converting them all). Afterwards, with luck, iTunes will find a match for your songs and you’ll be able to download the highest quality version of the song from the iTunes catalog if you so choose. Still, it’s wise to double-check your MP3 conversion settings to make sure you have the best quality file just in case iTunes doesn’t find a match (after you’ve gotten rid of the error problem).

So before converting your songs, check your MP3 settings. Go to iTunes -> Preferences -> General Preferences and open the Import Settings Screen:

iTunes MP3 import settings

iTunes MP3 import settings: MP3 encoder Settings

Import Settings: Without getting into a debate about MP3 quality in general, I recommend a setting of 320 kbps Variable Bit Rate as the optimal setting if you care about sound quality (and who doesn't).

Depending on how many songs your converting, this could take a long while. This process takes about 8-10 seconds per song (on a Dual Core Macbook Pro with 16GB of RAM). It may take longer on your computer. In my case it took 1984 songs about 4.5 hours to duplicate.

Meanwhile, don’t touch iTunes.

Step 3: Wait patiently for iTunes to finish.

Leave the songs you’ve selected highlighted so you can hit the delete button when iTunes has finished with the conversion. I’m always afraid to touch my computer when it’s doing hard work like this. Go play with your kids or take your significant other out for a walk or call your mom.

Step 4: Delete the offending songs.

Now that you have duplicates of all the offending songs, while your selection of files is still active, hit the delete key…

iTunes Delete Songs DialogiTunes will ask if you are sure you want to delete the selected songs. Make sure to check the box labeled “Also delete these songs from iCloud.” Then hit “Delete Songs.

iTunes Dialog: Keep Files or Move to Trash?

Choose "Move to Trash."

Next iTunes will ask if you want to keep the files or move them to the trash. You don’t want all those duplicate files taking up space, so Move to Trash.

Step 5: Quit iTunes

Step 6: Open iTunes.

Now, all the songs that used to have error next to them have another icon with an ‘x’ inside the Cloud icon. This means the status is Removed.

iTunes iCloud Removed Files If you click one of the ‘x’ icons, you’ll see this dialog box:

Add to iCloud.You’ll want to add the songs to iCloud, but you don’t want to do them one at a time…

Step 7: Select all songs with an ‘x’ cloud icon (Status: Removed).

Step 8) Right-click on the selection and choose Add to iCloud.

Add to iCloud Context Menu

Step 9) Grab a Cocktail. You’re done.

This process will take some more time. iTunes will check your songs against the catalog and find matches and upload your songs that don’t have matches, etc, etc. You know. The way it’s supposed to work the first time.

If you’re still left with some errors, repeat the process from the beginning.

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  • matt

    it worked! thanks. my iCloud labels were different than yours such as “not eligible” rather than “error”, but your solution did it for me. great!

    • Alex Williams

      Yes, it does work for not eligible items, too! Thanks!

  • LincPosty

    The above instructions are great. With over 6K songs in my music library, and fully a 1/3 showing an iCloud status of Error, this process is going to allow me to correct all of that. Thanks so much for a hassle-free way to fix this.

    • Alex Williams

      Glad I could help!

  • Des

    So I tried that but when I click to convert to mp3 i get an error message saying “none of the selected files were converted because they could not be found”?

    • Alex Williams

      Right-click and “get Info” on one of the offending files. Make sure it’s not missing.

    • Kym

      Hi, I’ve also had this problem. When I go to ‘get info’ an error message keeps coming up saying ‘The song ‘blah blah’ could not be used because the original file could not be found. Would you like to locate it? You then click on locate it and you keep going round and round in circles. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • WHP

    I have this problem too but am running the latest version of iTunes,i.e. Can’t get past first step; could you please update your solution? Thanks

    • Alex Williams

      In iTunes 11.0.1 make sure to turn on iTunes Match (Store -> Turn on iTunes Match). You will be promted to sign into your iTunes account. iTunes will then attempt to match your songs.

      The new iTunes interface is a little different, but you can still sort your music by “Songs” and activate the “iCloud Status” sort column. The rest should work as indicated above. Please share your experience to help others.

  • WHP

    Thanks, Alex…I’ll give this a try soon and let you know.

  • Bruno

    Your solution might be good for MP3 but what people who ripped their CDs in Apple Lossless? I do not what to convert my songs in MP3!

  • RJ

    I completed the following steps, but received a message stating…”None of these selected files could be converted because they cannot be found.” I’m extremely frustrated b/c I’m only able to send 82 of my 600+ songs to icloud…Help, please!

  • jShelty

    Awesome Method. BUT- will this mean all of the songs I have in playlists will then be deleted? Will I have to rebuilt all of my playlists?
    Thanks a ton,

  • Juli

    Did not work for me, as converting to MP3 is not on the list, and preferences are not on the list either, must be a different version.