As part of the big iPhone 6 launch on Tuesday, Apple announced that they were making music history in conjunction with the band U2 by instantly giving away a full copy of U2's new album to over 500 million people with iTunes accounts.
Apple and U2 are giving the new album Songs of Innocence to over 500 million iTunes customers worldwide. Never before have so many people owned one album, let alone on the day of its release.
Awesome, I am indeed a U2 fan - but...
Apple pulled this off by adding Songs of Innocence to every iTunes library on earth - making it available instantly for streaming or download as if you had purchased it.
But if your computer, iPad, or iPhone is set up to automatically download new purchases - that means that Apple has launched a 100+ MB download your way too. Perhaps multiple times if you have multiple devices!
To protect yourself from this inbound U2 missile, make sure that you have "Automatic Downloads" turned OFF for music in the "iTunes & App Store" menu under the "Settings" app on the iPhone and iPad. On your PC or Mac, you can find this under the "Preferences" menu, under the "Store" tab.
Reports are starting to come in of unapproved auto-downloads, but the U2 assault hasn't hit everyone. None of our personal devices have seen it yet, though I do see the album as "purchased" in the iTunes store. So if you haven't been hit, there is still time to make sure that you are set up to avoid auto-downloads - leaving the album stored in your iCloud library for a future download if and when you want it.
And if you aren't at all a U2 fan...
You can't preemptively opt out of owning the album, or give it back. But you can permanently hide it from your iTunes and iCloud library so that it never show up in a shuffle mix. Here are instructions.
This is yet another example of companies ignoring the reality that not all customers have fast and unlimited mobile data. So frustrating!
Update: An embarrassed Apple has actually released a special tool to let people who don't want the album to fully delete it. Click here for instruction.