Best Free iTunes Alternatives for Syncing Music

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Apple wants you to think that to sync music to your iPhone, iPad or iPod seamlessly it's necessary to have iTunes installed on your computer. However, just because you have purchased songs from the iTunes Store doesn't mean you have to use Apple's software to manage them and ultimately transfer them to your iOS device.

In fact, there is a good selection of iOS-friendly software to download for free which can replace iTunes — and some offer more features too.

01
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MediaMonkey Standard

What We Like

  • Lots of great features.

  • Install extensions for more features.

What We Don't Like

  • LAME MP3 encoder 30-day limit.

  • Runs on Windows only.

  • Updates infrequently.

MediaMonkey is a free music manager and audio converter that can be used to manage large digital music collections. It is compatible with iOS devices and other non-Apple MP3 players and PMPs too.

The free version of MediaMonkey (named Standard) comes with several useful tools for organizing your music library. You can use it to automatically tag music files, add album artrip music CDsburn discs and convert between different audio formats.

02
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Amarok

Amarok
Amarok Logo. Image © Amarok

What We Like

  • Cross-platform support.

  • Simple design that's easy to use.

  • Displays all plugged-in storage devices.

What We Don't Like

  • Confusing download page.

  • Large download.

  • Unappealing user interface.

Amarok is a multi-platform media player for Windows, Linux, Unix, and macOS operating systems that is a great iTunes alternative for your iDevice.

As well as using it to sync your existing music library to your Apple device, you can also use Amarok to discover new music by using its integrated Web services. Access services such as Jamendo, Magnatune, and Last.fm, straight from Amarok's intuitive interface.

Other integrated Web services like Libravox and OPML Podcast Directory extend the functionality of Amarok to make it a powerful software program.

03
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MusicBee

MusicBee
MusicBee user interface.

Steven Mayall

What We Like

  • Modern and usable user interface.

  • Closest match to iTunes.

  • Heavily customizable.

  • Portable option.

What We Don't Like

  • Works on Windows only.

  • Infrequent updates.

MusicBee, which is available for Windows, sports an impressive amount of tools for manipulating your music library. If you're looking for an iTunes replacement that's got an easy-to-use interface and packs more features than Apple's software, then MusicBee is worth a close look.

High on the list of features: extensive metadata tagging, a built-in Internet browser, audio format-conversion tools, sync on-the-fly and secure CD ripping.

MusicBee also has features useful for the Web. For example, the built-in player supports scrobbling to Last.fm and you can use the Auto-DJ function to discover and create playlists based on your listening preferences.

Overall, it's a great iOS-friendly music manager that also offers tools for the Web.

04
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Winamp

Winamp Logo
Winamp's splash screen. Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

What We Like

  • Wirelessly manage your device's media.

  • Various skin options.

  • Tons of customizable options.

What We Don't Like

  • Runs on Windows operating systems only.

  • Built-in browser often malfunctions.

Winamp, which was first released in 1997, is a full-featured media player. Since version 5.2, it has supported synchronizing DRM-free media to iOS devices like the iPod which makes it an excellent alternative to iTunes.

There's also a version of Winamp for Android-based smartphones if you want an easy way to move your iTunes library over. The full version of Winamp is free to use and sports a whole host of features that will satisfy most people's needs.

Winamp hasn't seen active development for quite a while, but it's still a good iTunes replacement nonetheless.

05
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Foobar2000

Foobar2000
Foobar2000 main screen. Image © Foobar2000

What We Like

  • Runs on Windows and Mac computers.

  • Very simple design.

  • Can be used portably without installation.

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't ask to load music automatically.

  • Unique program settings.

Foobar2000 is a lightweight but powerful audio player for the Windows and Mac platforms. It supports a wide variety of audio formats and can be used to sync music if you have an older Apple device (iOS 5 or lower).

With the aid of optional add-on components, Foobar2000's features can be extended — the iPod Manager add-on, for example, adds the ability to transcode audio formats that aren't supported by the iPod.