So, you've got an iPhone, but all of the music that you want on the device is on your computer. If you're not familiar with the iPhone, or even familiar with how iTunes works -- as well as all of the recent changes to both -- it may be a little difficult to figure out how to transfer music from the computer to the iPhone. It's certainly not immediately apparent on how that happens.
So if you're confused and aren't sure how to move music over to your iPhone, follow along with us below. We're going to show you how, even you, in just a few minutes, can transfer your favorite albums on your computer directly to your iPhone. Let's get started.
What's going on with iTunes?
If you're trying to transfer music from the computer to the iPhone, it used to all happen within iTunes; however, that has changed with the new macOS Catalina update. Apple split iTunes up into three different services to make it easier, and it is easier, but can take a minute to figure out how everything works together.
That said, if you don't have macOS Catalina -- or don't plan on upgrading -- you'll still be using the traditional method through iTunes. That said, we're going to show you both methods for transferring music, as well as through another method.
iCareFone by Tenorshare is the easiest way to transfer music from the computer to the iPhone. It's actually a great way to transfer any type of file between your iPhone and your computer. iCareFone is similar to iTunes in a lot of ways, but it also makes things so much quicker.
There are plenty of advantages to using TenorShare's iCareFone software. It's fast and clean -- you aren't going to run into any bugs or crashes during the music transfer process. It's user-friendly, and allows for select or bulk transfers.
One of the more unique features of it is that it allows for the transfer of purchased and non-purchased music, which iTunes has difficulty doing because of DRM rights, licensing, and so on.
The first step is to get iCareFone on your computer. You can grab a Free Trial version of it for Mac or Windows here.
Once you're installed, open the program on your computer. Next, just like with iTunes, we'll need to hook up the iPhone to your computer with a data cable -- once again, this is generally going to be a USB-A to Lightning cable, or USB-C to Lightning cable, depending on your machine's available ports.
Almost instantly your computer and iCareFone should detect the iPhone. Once it is, head over to Manage on the main portion of the interface. In the list, select the Music icon. Next, select the Import option on the top of the panel.
Finally, you'll just need to select the songs and transfer them over to your iPhone. This process should work great for Mac, but we think it's especially great at transferring songs from PC to iPhone. iTunes is typically pretty buggy on Windows, so this cuts out the middle man.
Not a fan of iCareFone? Still running a version of macOS before Catalina? Then you should actually be able to easily transfer music from your computer to the iPhone with iTunes.
Now that you have iTunes on your Mac or PC, the first step would be to connect your iPhone to your computer via a USB cable. If you have an older Mac or a Windows machine, that's generally through a USB-A to Lightning cable; however, if you only have USB-C ports, you would need a USB-C to Lightning cable.
Next, run the latest version of iTunes on your computer, and head over to your Library. From here, you can select the music file that you want to add to your iPhone. You would just drag and drop it to your iPhone, which should appear on the left side in the navigation pane.
If that doesn't work, right next to the iPhone icon at the top left of iTunes, click on Summary. Under Options, select Manually manage music and videos.
And finally, click on Apply or Sync.
With Apple Music
As we discussed earlier, since macOS Catalina, all of your music has moved to Apple Music. iTunes itself no longer exists after macOS Catalina. That said, even though we do have this change, Apple Music has made it a whole lot easier to sync your library across all of your devices.
On your iPhone
Grab your iPhone, and then open your Settings app.
Next, you'll want to navigate to the section that says Music.
Finally, turn the slider on Sync Library to the Green position. Unfortunately, if you don't subscribe to Apple Music, Apple's massive music streaming service, or iTunes Match, Apple's iCloud music syncing service, you won’t see an option to turn on Sync Library. You'll have to be subscribed to either or for that option to appear; however, if you are subscribed to Apple Music, you do get all of the benefits of iTunes Match.
With Sync Library turned on, all of your purchased music, content from Apple Music, and content uploaded to your iTunes library, are synced with all your devices attached to your Apple ID.
On Your Mac
You can also sync all of your music with your Mac -- i.e. the songs that you purchase on your iPhone, are then synced to your Mac. To do this, open the Music app on your Mac -- again, this is on macOS Catalina and newer.
Next, looking at the menu bar at the top of your screen, choose Music, and then select Preferences.
Click on the General tab, and then just like we did for the iPhone, click on select Sync Library to turn it on. Similar to the iPhone, if you don't subscribe to Apple Music or iTunes Match, you won’t see an option to turn on Sync Library.
While Apple does have some integrated ways to transfer music from your computer to the iPhone, we think Tenorshare's iCareFone moves things around so much quicker, and without any crashes, bugs, or cross-syncing problems. And on top of that, Tenorshare's iCareFone is so much more versatile than just transferring music around.
They have so many other features that's worth mentioning as well. You can use iCareFone to manage pretty much anything about your iPhone.
iCareFone is essentially an all-around replacement for iTunes. One of our favorite features is the Backup & Restore feature. You never know when an accident can happen -- and have likely even experienced one of those unexpected incidents in the past. You can always rely on an iCloud Backup, but those backups stop when you eventually run out of iCloud storage.
This program from Tenorshare doesn't rely on the Cloud -- just hook up your iPhone to your PC, click on the Backup & Restore option, and follow the steps to backup your phone. That way, you're safe whenever an accident happens. When you're ready, you can just plug your old iPhone back in, or a new iPhone, open up the iCareFone software, and press Restore.
It takes a few minutes to restore your iPhone, but you're back up and running like nothing ever happened.
One of the other unique features worth mentioning in iCareFone is System Repair. If you're experiencing bugs, errors, or any problems with your iPhone, you can plug your iPhone into your computer, run iCareFone, and then run the System Repair feature to hopefully fix any problems that you were having.
System Repair is actually really nice. It's recommended that you run a Backup before using it, but for the most part, iCareFone promises to fix any bugs or glitches that you're experiencing without any data loss. It makes life easy, because normally fixing an issue like this would require reverting to an older version of iOS, or running a lengthy factory reset.
It doesn't promise to fix all glitches and errors out there, but if it can fix some of the more common ones, it saves you all of the hassle that comes with a factory data reset.
As you can see, it's actually pretty easy to move your music from your computer to the iPhone. iTunes was supposed to make it easy, at least if you still have access to the original method. On Mac, that all changed in the the macOS Catalina update, which split iTunes into three different services. Normally, iPhone, iPad, and iPod backup, restore, and syncing would be through iTunes, but that's now through Finder.
So, it's still easy, but the process has just changed. And Windows users are in luck -- moving music from the computer to the iPhone all still happen right in on iTunes.
Have any questions? Got confused somewhere? Leave a comment below, and we'd love to help you through getting your music on your iPhone.