How do I transfer songs from iTunes to iPhone?

May 8, 2009

How do I transfer songs from iTunes to iPhone?Regardless of the computer platform that you are running on, using the iTunes program is the best way to transfer songs between your computer and your iPhone. Here are the ins and outs.

The time to move songs between your computer and your iPhone is when you sync your iPhone to the contents of your computer. This sync is normally done using the iTunes program, which comes with Apple computers and can be obtained for Windows systems. If you don’t already have iTunes, you should get it before you attach a new iPhone to your computer. You can get iTunes, for either the PC or the Mac, at this link. All it will cost you is your email address.

Once you have installed iTunes and told it where on your computer to find your music, iTunes will do the rest and you will be ready to move your music to the iPhone. The first time you plug your iPhone into a USB port on your computer using the cable that came with the phone, you are asked if you want to merge data, replace data on your phone, or replace the data on your computer. Except in special situations, since the iPhone will be new and empty, you will want to replace data on the phone.

The sync process synchronizes more than just music between the iPhone and your computer. The iTunes screen that is automatically displayed when you plug in your iPhone has 8 tabs to control the synchronization process, including screens for photos, ringtones, video, and your applications. The controls for keeping your tunes in sync are on the “Music” tab, which looks like this:

Syncing iTunes music with iTunes

Bear in mind that the sync process can be fairly complicated, since you can buy new music both on the iPhone or from your computer. So the sync program has to track which side of the connection has new songs, which could be both, and keep the two devices in lock-step with each other. ITunes will move any new songs on your computer to the iPhone, and will also move any new songs from your iPhone to your computer.

The music sync control panel, shown above, contains the options that you need to control this process. It is important to understand that you can stop the synch process from the iPhone end of the connection until you have set these options, simply by sliding the unlock bar to the right when the synch starts. Most versions of iTunes have also had an option to do this, at least at the time of the first sync.

You can choose not to synchronize any music at all by clicking on the checkbox labelled “Sync Music” and removing the check from it. If there is no check in this box, music will not be synced along with the rest of the selected information from your phone.  With that box checked, however, you have a few other options to choose from.

If you select the top choice, “All songs and playlists” that is what iTunes will do; it will synchronize all of the music from both sources. You can also choose to sync music from only certain playlists available in your iTunes installation by selecting the “Selected Playlists” option. This will let you sync just the playlists from the desired ones on your computer. This is especially handy if you have a huge collection of music and don’t want it all (or it won’t all fit) on your iPhone. Just check each of the playlists on the screen to select those to move to the iPhone. You can always change your mind later.

You can also, of course, download music videos to both your iPhone and your computer, and iTunes will also keep these synced for you. Just check the box labeled “Include music videos” near the bottom of the Music tab in order to do this. Bear in mind that videos are larger than audio tracks, and that you could quickly fill up your iPhone with them.

There are other programs available to sync your music with your iPhone. But iTunes is the only one that I have seen that does a really good job of syncing all iPhone data with your computer and especially for no charge. If you know of a program that does as well, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to include it in this article. Even if you want to use another program to organize and play your music iTunes still seems like the best bet, at least to me, for syncing your music and everything else.

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16 Responses to “How do I transfer songs from iTunes to iPhone?”

  1. QUANG:

    how do i transfer songs from itune to iphone when iphone is synced with another library(don’t want to erase songs on iphone)? Also, transfer apps. from iphone to itune when itune said pc not authorize even after i’ve tried to authorized?
    thanks……………………………….

  2. adrian:

    how can i download the songs on my itunes on mac osx to i phone. everytime i pkug my i phone i dont see the i phone tab nor the sync thanks

  3. Ravi:

    Can you copy music that I copy from cd’s in your playlist to your I phone.
    Thanks

  4. Gurinder:

    Hi
    how do i transfer my music (already on my computer) & songs from itune to iphone, i tried with sync but there on iphone no music display. music files are in my I drive !! Do i move it to in My music ?

    Many thanks in advance.

  5. deviant:

    you can try this software:

    http://www.softwaremania.net/windows/graphic-apps/media-management/iphone-videophoto-to-computer-30/

  6. Anjie:

    i want to know how do you sync music

  7. prokir:

    thank you it helped me very much

  8. Jenny:

    I have an existing iTunes account for an iPod touch. How can I use the same iTunes library in both??

  9. John:

    Apple software is intuitive? Not!
    If I had a PC I could just drag and drop, why does iTunes make a simple music transfer so difficult?

  10. This didn't help. At all.:

    how do I transfer songs from itune to iphone when iphone is synced with another library(don’t want to erase songs on iphone)?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?

  11. Thomas:

    Dear all, I have a totally different problem: The sync tab and everything else is there, but whenever it says sync complete and I switch back to my iPod function on iPhone it says no content. Is something wrong with my iPhone and how can I fix it?

  12. Mary:

    Hi all, you don’t necessarily need iTunes to sync music from your PC to your iPod or iPhone. There are some other great apps, allowing you to add music from PC to iPod or iPhone via a simple drag and drop (even if they’ve been synced with another computer before). Personally I use a Freeware called Copytrans Manager to sync my iPhone. This app and some other ones can be found here: http://en.kioskea.net/faq/191-managing-ipod-without-itunes

  13. Ben:

    I have a serious problem trying to transfer my applications from my Itunes to my I phone. It doesn’t load at all. I have tried everything but seems like I can’t find a solution.
    Please help

  14. Katie:

    I am sync-ing my iphone with my computer and it will do the normal sync like always when you plug it in. BUT I tried to move my music onto my phone and it sync-ed for 2 hours and never said it was done… I stopped it in I-tunes and said forget it… Well tonight I plugged it in and now it just says step 4 of sync and won’t stop what should I do?

  15. Remell:

    I had a large music library on Itunes with previous Iphone 3, lost it and how do I get music on new phone?? It is not wanting to transfer??? Thanks!

  16. Claire:

    If i sync only a chosen playlist, will I lose music on my iphone that isn’t on my itunes? i.e. will I end up with only that playlist on my iphone?

    thanks!

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