Is MPT The Best Mode for Transferring Music?

Learn if you should be using MPT to sync your music files

Teenage girl listening to music on her smartphone
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The term MTP is short for Media Transfer Protocol. It is a communication method specifically optimized for the transfer of audio and video files. It was developed by Microsoft and is part of the Windows Media platform, which includes Windows Media Player.

If you have a phone, tablet or portable media player, there's a good chance it supports MTP. In fact, you may have already spotted this feature in your device's settings.

Consumer electronic devices that can be plugged into a USB port on a computer usually support the MTP protocol, particularly if they are capable of handling video like movie clips as well as audio formats.

Portable Devices That Typically Use MTP

The types of portable electronic devices that typically support MTP include:

  • MP3 players
  • PMPs
  • Tablet computers
  • Smartphones and cell phones
  • Digital cameras
  • Other multimedia devices

These devices normally come with a USB cable that can be directly plugged into your computer. However, the MTP protocol is not limited to a particular type of interface. Some devices have a FireWire port instead. MTP can also be used via Bluetooth and over a TCP/IP network with some operating systems.

Using MTP for Transferring Digital Music

In most cases, MTP is the best mode to use for transferring digital music because it is optimized for the transfer of media-related files including metadata. In fact, it doesn't allow anything else to sync, which simplifies things for the user.

Another reason to use MTP in preference to an alternative transfer method such as MSC (Mass Storage Class) is that your portable device has ultimate control rather than your computer. This way you can be assured that your device won't be inadvertently formatted like could happen with MSC.

Just like any system, there are disadvantages when using MTP. For example:

  • It can be a slow way to sync music files. Only one file can be transferred at a time.
  • You can't edit or make changes to media files directly on an MTP device. In order to modify a file, you first have to make changes to it on your computer. This modified file then is re-synced to your portable device.

The Best Transfer Mode to Use for Windows and MacOS

For Windows users, the MTP protocol is the recommended setting to use for your portable hardware device, although Windows supports both MTP and MSC. MTP provides a user-friendly way to integrate your device to use software media players, playlists and music subscription services.

This contrasts with the MSC mode that is normally used for non-Windows operating systems such as for Macs, which do not support MTP. When a device is set to MSC mode, it simply acts as a mass storage device—like a flash memory card, for example.