iTunes: Hiding Purchased Items

It’s awfully convenient to be able to download or play all of your past iTunes purchases whenever you want—from your iPhone, your Mac, or even your Apple TV. To do this, you’ll just go to the iTunes Store on the device and find the “Purchased” area.

I’m using iTunes as an example here, but if you’re on an iOS device, you can also download previously purchased books (from iBooks) or apps (from the App Store).

Once you’ve looked through your list, though, you may notice that an item keeps appearing when you wish it wouldn’t. Maybe, for example, you don’t want anyone who happens to turn on your Apple TV to know how much you love Toddlers & Tiaras. Maybe you’re just tired of paging through 15,000 songs to get to the artists you actually want to listen to. In any case, you can hide any purchase you want, which’ll prevent it from showing up on any of your devices. Hallelujah!

First we’re gonna go through how to do this on your Mac. So open iTunes, click on the iTunes Store link from the sidebar, and then choose the Purchased link on the right. (You’ll have to log in to your account if you’re not already.)

Then you’ll see tabs across the top of the Store window that you can use to navigate through the different stuff you’ve bought. Don’t linger too long, or you’ll get frightened by how much money you’ve given Apple.

Find something you want to hide, and when you hover over its icon, a small “X” will appear.

Click that and confirm your choice when the dialog box asks you to do so.

That’s it. Your purchase is hidden, never to be seen again by the eyes of man. You couldn’t get it back even if Tim Cook himself helped you do it. 

I’m kidding, of course—it’s pretty easy to unhide a purchase, too. You’ll do it by going to the Account Information section of the iTunes Store, which is accessed by clicking on your Apple ID in the upper-right corner and entering your password.

Hopefully your Apple ID will be less blurry than mine is. Anyway, once you’re there, click on View Hidden Purchases.

Then navigate to what you’d like to unhide and, well, unhide it. Easy!

If you’d prefer, you can also hide and unhide content from your iOS device. Go to iTunes on the device (or the App Store or iBooks, depending on what you’d like to manage), and navigate to the Purchased area of the app as I showed in my first screenshot above. Find what you’d like to send away, and swipe across it to reveal a Hide button.

As an aside, the iOS App Store’s Purchased area doesn’t have a dedicated tab at the bottom—it’s under the Updates tab. Which is completely logical, right?

Geez, I’m getting cynical in my old age.

Now, unhiding a purchase from your device is a bit more complicated. You’ll need to go to your Account Settings page, again from the relevant app. Within each, the Account Settings are under the first tab at the bottom by default. In the iBooks Store and the App Store, this is labeled Featured; in iTunes, it’s Music.

Tap on that tab, scroll to the bottom, and touch your Apple ID to view your account page. As always, you’ll have to enter your password to authenticate. I grow so weary of my Apple ID password.

When you do that, you’ll see a Hidden Purchases option, where you can unhide things to your heart’s content.

I’m not entirely positive Apple could have made that any more convoluted if they’d tried. But hey—at least we have a way to do it, right? So now when your friends come over to watch TV with you, you won’t have to be embarrassed about what you’ve bought. I won’t judge you for your predilections, but some people might.