Is MTP the Best Mode for Transferring Music?

In most cases, MTP is a good choice

Teenage girl listening to music on her smartphone
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MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) is a communication method specifically optimized for the transfer of audio and video files. Microsoft developed it as 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 might have spotted this feature in your device's settings already.

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.

Portable Devices That Typically Use MTP

Portable electronic devices that typically support MTP include:

  • MP3 players
  • PMPs
  • Tablet computers
  • Smartphones and cell phones
  • 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 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 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 MSC (Mass Storage Class) is that it gives your portable device ultimate 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 can't 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 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 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 such as macOS; these don't 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.