How to Download Music on iPhone Without iTunes

Add songs to your iPhone even if you don't have iTunes

A young woman with headphones on, listening to music from her iPhone.

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On the iPhone, there are plenty of music streaming services, but what about those times you don’t have an active internet connection? You can manually add tracks to your iPhone by connecting it to a Mac or PC and launching iTunes, but in many situations, that’s less than ideal.

Fortunately, there are several ways to download music to your iPhone without using iTunes.

This guide includes instructions for iPhones running iOS 10.0 and up, and macOS 10.10 and up.

How to Download Music to iPhone Using Apple Music

Apple Music offers millions of tracks that can be streamed over a wireless network, but you can also save those tracks to your iPhone.

This guide focuses on downloading tracks, albums, and playlists via Apple Music, but it's worth noting similar features are available with Spotify Premium, YouTube Music Premium, and Tidal.

How to Save Individual Tracks to your iPhone using Apple Music

  1. Launch Apple Music on your iPhone.

  2. Navigate to the music you want to save to your device.

  3. To the right of the track name, tap the Plus symbol.

  4. If this is your first time adding tracks to your library, you'll be asked to enable iCloud Music Library.

  5. Tap Turn On to enable iCloud Music Library.

    You may see an additional notification advising you that adding iCloud Music Library will erase previously downloaded tracks. Be sure this is what you want to do before you tap Yes.

  6. The Plus will have changed to a cloud icon with an arrow, meaning the track is now in your Library.

    If the symbol hasn't changed, just tap the Plus once again

    Plus button, Turn On iCloud button, Download cloud button on iOS
  7. Tap the cloud with an arrow icon to save your track to your iPhone.

How to Save Albums and Playlists to Your iPhone Using Apple Music

As well as saving individual tracks, you can easily save whole albums and playlists to your iPhone.

  1. Launch Apple Music on your iPhone.

  2. Navigate to the album or playlist you want to download to your iPhone.

  3. Tap + ADD to add the music to your Library.

  4. You will see a notification that the music has been added to your Library. You will also see the + ADD has changed to a cloud with an arrow.

  5. Tap the cloud with an arrow icon to start downloading tracks to your device.

    Add, Added to Library, and Downloading icons on iOS
  6. The downloads will run in the background.

Depending on the number of tracks in the album or playlist it can take some time for your music to download. Be sure to remain on an active data connection to ensure all your music has saved for offline listening.

How to Use YouTube Music to Automatically Save Music to Your iPhone

YouTube Music Premium users can automatically save their favorite songs to their iPhone using the Offline music feature.

This feature is not for downloading handpicked tracks, albums, or playlists. While you can do that within YouTube Music Premium, this particular set of instructions focuses on downloading tracks algorithmically selected for you.

  1. Launch the YouTube Music app on your iPhone.

  2. Tap your user avatar in the upper right corner to open your Account details.

  3. Tap Downloads.

  4. If you haven't yet downloaded any tracks, this section will be empty. Tap the settings cog.

    Account icon, Downloads button, and Settings cog in YouTube Music on iOS
  5. From here, you have several options for your downloaded tracks. You can choose to download music over Wi-Fi only, select the quality of the download, and choose whether you want to save the video or just audio.

  6. Tap Download an offline mixtape to automatically save tracks to your iPhone.

  7. A slider will appear that lets you choose to download between one and 100 songs. Move the slider back and forth to make your selection.

  8. Once you're happy with your settings, tap X to return to the Downloads page where you can see the status of your downloads.

    Download an offline mixtape toggle, slider, and status notification in YouTube Music on iOS
  9. Once your Offline mixtape has finished downloading, you can play the tracks from Downloads (steps 1 to 3).

It can take some time for your music to download. Depending on your settings, your mixtape may only partially save if you leave a Wi-Fi network. To resume automatic downloads, reconnect to an active network and open the app.

How to Add Music to Your iPhone Using iCloud Drive

If you have your music collection on your Mac and/or an external hard drive and are comfortable manually managing your songs, you can use iCloud Drive to add tracks to your iPhone.

iCloud's terms explicitly prohibit the uploading of content for which you don't have the express permission to copy or share. Saving music you don't have the correct rights to upload, even for personal listening, could lead to your iCloud account being suspended.

  1. On your Mac, open Finder and navigate to iCloud Drive.

    iCloud Drive folder in macOS Finder sidebar
  2. Click File > New Folder (or press shift+command+N). This will create a new untitled folder.

    New Folder File menu item in macOS Finder
  3. Name the folder "Music."

  4. Double-click the Music folder to open it.

  5. Locate the tracks you want to access on your iPhone. Drag them across to your Music folder.

    If you want to be sure the tracks remain available in their original folders, copy and paste them to your Music folder, rather than drag and drop. To do this, press command+C to copy it from its original location, and then press command+V to paste in the Music folder.

  6. Your music will automatically upload to iCloud Drive.

    iCloud songs in Music folder
  7. Once your tracks have uploaded, your music will be available via iCloud on your iPhone.

  8. Open the Files app on your iPhone.

  9. Tap iCloud Drive.

  10. Navigate to and tap the Music folder to open it. You'll see the same tracks you uploaded via your Mac.

  11. Tap the track you want to play and it will automatically download to your device. Alternatively, tap the cloud and arrow icon to save the track to your iPhone.

    iCloud Drive, Music folder, download icons on iOS
  12. Tap any track to play it within iCloud Drive.

    Your iCloud Drive files on your iPhone are mirrored to your iCloud Drive Files on your Mac. If you delete tracks on your iPhone, they're automatically deleted on your Mac, and vice versa.

  13. That's it! Your music is now saved to your iPhone.