Is MTP the Best Mode for Transferring Music?

In most cases, MTP is a good choice

Media Transfer Protocol transfers audio and video files. Microsoft developed it as part of the Windows Media platform, which includes Windows Media Player.

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 and audio formats.

mp3 car aux
PraxisPhotography / Moment / Getty

Portable Devices That May Use MTP

Portable electronic devices that typically support MTP include:

  • Smartphones, tablets, and some old cellphones
  • MP3 players
  • PMPs
  • Digital cameras
  • Other multimedia devices

These devices typically come with a USB cable that plugs into your computer. However, the MTP protocol is not limited to a particular type of interface. Some devices have a FireWire (IEEE 1394) port instead. MTP also works with Bluetooth and over a TCP/IP network with some operating systems.

Using MTP for Transferring Digital Music

In many cases, MTP is the best mode 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 you.

Another reason to use MTP rather than other methods such as Mass Storage Class is that it gives your portable device control, not your computer. This way, you can be sure that your device won't be reformatted, which could happen with MSC.

Like any system, MTP has disadvantages. For example:

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

The Best Transfer Mode to Use for Windows and macOS

For Windows systems, the MTP protocol is the best choice 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 like macOS; these do not support MTP. When a device is set to MSC mode, it acts as a mass storage device—like a flash memory card, for example.

Was this page helpful?