How to Transfer Music from Computer to iPhone

It's simple once you know how

What to Know

  • Connect the iPhone to the computer using the USB cable. Then, open iTunes on the computer.
  • Transfer automatically: Select iPhone icon > Music > Sync Music.
  • Transfer manually: Select Summary > Manually manage music and videos.

This article explains how to transfer music from a computer to an iPhone. Instructions apply to the iTunes app for PC and Mac. You can also transfer music from one iPhone to another.

Transfer Music From iTunes to iPhone: Preliminary Steps

There are a few things to consider before transferring music to an iPhone. Follow this checklist before proceeding:

  • Install iTunes: Download the latest version from the iTunes page on Apple's site.
  • Keep iTunes up-to-date: Ensure the latest version of iTunes is installed on your computer before plugging in your iPhone. To manually check for updates on a Mac, select the Apple menu, then choose App Store. On a PC, select Help > Check for Updates. Once iTunes is up-to-date, close the program.
  • You can't transfer music from an iPhone to a computer: iTunes only performs a one-way synchronization to an iPhone. It doesn't work both ways.

If iTunes is installed, but it fails to run or has problems updating, download and re-install an up-to-date version from the iTunes website. After this step, you may need to restore your iTunes library from a previous backup of your iTunes library.

How to Connect Your iPhone to iTunes

Follow these steps to connect your iPhone to your computer and select it in iTunes.

  1. Connect the iPhone to the computer using a USB cable.

  2. Launch iTunes.

  3. In the upper-left corner of the iTunes window, select the iPhone icon, located to the right of the media menu.

    iTunes on Mac showing the iPhone access button
  4. The iPhone appears in the left iTunes pane, under the Devices section. Select the triangle next to the device to expand the iPhone entry and select any of the media types.

How to Automatically Transfer Music From iTunes

The easiest way to transfer music to the iPhone is by using the automatic sync method.

iTunes shows you how much storage space is left on the iPhone. Check the capacity meter at the bottom of the screen.

  1. On the iTunes window now showing the device, select the Music menu tab in the left pane.

  2. Select Sync Music to enable it.

  3. To enable the transfer of all your music, select Entire music library.

    iTunes in macOS showing Music and Sync Music sections
  4. If you prefer to select only certain songs from your iTunes library, choose Selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres. To specify the playlists, artists, albums, and genres, scroll down and select the media you want to sync.

    iTunes in macOS highlighting sync of selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres
  5. To automatically sync music to the iPhone, select Apply to start the transfer process.

    iTunes window in macOS showing the Apply button

    If a message appears stating iTunes can sync with only one library at a time, read it carefully so you understand what will happen, then select Sync and Replace.

How to Transfer Music Manually From iTunes

If you don't want iTunes to automatically transfer music to your iPhone, it's possible to configure the program for manual syncing. This method offers more control over which of your iTunes media you want on your iPhone.

  1. Near the top of the main iTunes screen, select Summary in the left panel.

  2. Select Manually manage music and videos to enable this mode.

    iTunes window in macOS showing the Summary category and Manually manage music and videos check box
  3. Select Apply to save the settings.

  4. Select the back arrow at the top of iTunes and locate the Library section in the left pane. Select Songs. You can also select Albums, Artists or Genres.

  5. Drag and drop songs from the main iTunes window to the left pane where the phone is listed. If you have several songs you want to sync at once, press and hold Ctrl or Command and then select each song.

    iTunes in macOS dragging multiple songs to iPhone manually

    As an alternative to manually dragging songs to your iPhone, use iTunes playlists. These are easy to set up and save time when syncing. If you previously created iTunes playlists you want to sync to the iPhone, drag and drop the playlists onto the iPhone icon in the left pane.

  • How do I transfer music from iPhone to Android?

    To transfer music from iPhone to Android, launch iTunes on the PC, select the music you want to transfer, and add it to a new folder on the PC. Next, connect your Android device to your computer, navigate to the device's Music folder, and copy and paste the songs you want to transfer.

  • How do I transfer a Spotify playlist to Apple Music?

    To transfer a Spotify playlist to Apple Music, use a third-party syncing app such as SongShift. Download SongShift from the App Store, launch it, and tap Spotify. Enter your login information, tap Agree, and then tap Apple Music > Connect and follow the prompts.

  • How do I transfer music from a computer to an Android phone?

    To download music to your Android phone from a PC, connect your phone to the computer with a USB cable and tap Allow. Find the songs on the computer you want to transfer and move them to a new folder. Drag the music you want to download to the Android phone's music folder.

Was this page helpful?