How to Manually Add Music to Your iPhone

Take control of iTunes by syncing only the songs you want on your iPhone

If you've only ever synced music to your iPhone using the default method, then you'll probably know that all the songs in your iTunes library get transferred. You can make much better use of your iPhone's storage capacity by only syncing songs you actually want to play.

Follow this iTunes tutorial to see how simple it is to add to your iPhone only certain songs and playlists from your library.

Switch iTunes to Manual Mode

To sync only specific songs to your iPhone and avoid the default option to sync everything, you have to make a tiny change in the options for iTunes.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer using its cable.

  2. Open iTunes and select the iPhone icon.

    iPhone icon in iTunes window

    If you're having problems with your iPhone being detected, see how to fix iTunes syncing problems.

  3. Select Summary.

    Summary tab in iTunes on macOS
  4. Select the checkbox next to the Manually manage music and videos option to enable this mode.

    Manually manage music and videos checkbox in iTunes on macOS
  5. Choose Apply to save the settings.

How to Add Specific Songs to Your iPhone

With iTunes now in manual syncing mode, you can choose individual songs and playlists to transfer to your phone.

iTunes helps you to see how much storage space is remaining on your iPhone. It's recommended to check this before transferring music, or you might max out your space and have no room for apps, videos, more music, etc.

  1. From your iTunes library page, select Music from the drop-down menu in the upper left corner of iTunes.

    Music in media drop down menu
  2. Select which music you want to copy from iTunes to your iPhone, and then perform the transfer.

    Dragging one track from iTunes song window to iPhone icon in left pane in macOS iTunes

To transfer a playlist or single song from your iTunes library to your iPhone, drag and drop the item from the right pane into the left pane, directly onto the item that is your phone (under the Devices section). It might be called <your name> iPhone or maybe just iPhone.

To add multiple songs in one go, you can use keyboard shortcuts. Hold down CTRL (Windows) or Command (Mac) and select each song you want to copy to your iPhone. This lets you drag all of them at once.

If you have lots of music to transfer, you might find it easier to create playlists first. They're easy to make and will save you a lot of repetitive work when syncing the songs you want on your iPhone.

iTunes Alternatives

You can add music to iPhone without using iTunes. There are other programs that can facilitate the transfer of music and other files between your computer and iPhone.

Syncios is one example of a free iTunes alternative for Windows and Mac. It supports copying music — as well as other files like documents, videos, apps, and images — to and from your iPhone.

To add music to your iPhone with Syncios, open the Media folder off to the left, and then use the Add button at the top to see another menu. In there are two options that let you add individual music files to your iPhone and entire music folders.

My Devices tab in Syncios

Another way to add music to your iPhone is to utilize music streaming via cloud storage services. For example, you could upload your favorite songs to Dropbox or Google Drive and then use those apps on your phone to stream only those files instead of your entire music collection.