Transferring your music collection to your shiny new iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, or any of Apple’s earlier iPhone models, can be a surprisingly tricky process. Here’s how to copy your audio files from a Mac, PC or iTunes to your iPhone.
The latest iPhones come with a generous 64GB of storage space as standard, which is great news if you wish to carry around a massive media collection. If you don’t have much data to burn through each month, downloading tracks to your Apple handset is definitely preferable to streaming.
Of course, you can quickly and easily download music from services such as Spotify, via the iPhone app. However, if you also have your own album collection sat on iTunes or a computer drive, then you’ll want to know how to transfer those tracks onto your Apple device.
Here’s our quick and simple instructions for copying audio files onto your iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, and older iPhone models as well. We'll cover alternative methods, using iTunes as well as third-party MacOS and Windows software.
Check out our ultimate iPhone tips and tricks guide for all you need to know about iOS 11, including our favourite hidden features and useful hacks.
How to copy music to the iPhone using iTunes
One of the most straightforward ways to transfer music from your PC or Mac computer to an iPhone is to use Apple’s iTunes software. Since iTunes supports lossless quality audio, you can enjoy hi-res tracks wherever you roam. Of course, the process is easier if you’ve actually bought your music through iTunes, although importing external songs into your iTunes library is perfectly acceptable also.
First step is to connect your iPhone to your computer of choice using your supplied USB cable (the same cable you use to charge the device).
You can then simply sync your device with your iTunes library, to copy everything across. Be warned that a complete sync will wipe any songs already stored on your iPhone, if your iTunes library doesn’t also contain them. However, this is also the easiest way to shift everything over in one go.
To perform a sync, click the little phone icon at the top of the screen which pops up when your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus is connected. This gives a summary of your handset. Next click on Music in the left column, in the Settings section. You'll see the option to sync your music flash up, so hit 'done' to proceed.
Alternatively, you can drag and drop any songs you want from your online library to your phone, if you don’t want to copy your whole iTunes catalogue onto your device.
You’ll see your device appear in the left column of the main iTunes window, as well as your iTunes purchases grouped by artists, albums, songs and so on under 'Library'. If you can't see these groupings, first make sure the drop-down box above the Library section says 'Music'. Find the songs you wish to transfer across to your phone inside of your iTunes library and then highlight them with a click, before dragging the lot to the iPhone icon in the left.
If you want to search for and locate the files directly, that’s an option too. Simply navigate to the iTunes directory on your machine. For Macs that’s generally in Users>(User Name)>Music>iTunes Media>Music Folder. And for those of you on PC it’ll likely be in This PC>Music>iTunes>iTunes Media>Music.
How to copy music from Mac OS to your iPhone
If you hate iTunes but still own an Apple iMac, Macbook or some other Mac contraption, you can use a different method of copying your music across. This is also a means of copying across any albums that were not bought directly from Apple. Ideal for enjoying all your old music you’ve ripped in the past, or copying over those remixes you can’t live without.
One great app for this is AnyTrans, which is software that’s free to download and which helpfully takes care of audio conversion as well as transfers. All you need to do is select the music you want and let the app do the rest. AnyTrans will even work with iCloud files, to take any unwanted complication out of the process.
If you want to get around using that software, another option is to use the cloud. Pop your music files into Dropbox or Amazon Music, for example, and then you can play the files using those apps on your iPhone, or download to enjoy offline.
How to copy music from Windows PC to the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus
Since you can simply plug most mobile phones into a PC and see their internal storage pop up as a folder in Windows, transfers are often simple. Not so much with iPhones, sadly.
Apple’s iPhones and Windows tend not to play well together. To copy music files from a PC to your iPhone, whichever model you may be rocking, one option is to use a programme called CopyTrans Manager. This is completely free to download and use and works as a nice alternative to iTunes.