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How to transfer music from iPhone to iTunes or the Apple Music app

iTunes is good at syncing music to your iPhone, but not in the other direction. Learn how to transfer songs from iPhone to iTunes or the Music app for newer macOS.

Alex Griffith Updated on Jan 6, 2023 11:32 AM

What to know:

1. You can easily transfer music purchased from iTunes Store on your iPhone to iTunes with a few clicks, but you can't do that with non-purchased tracks.

2. The third-party app, iPhone Data Transfer, for example, gives you the option of moving songs from iPhone to iTunes, no matter you want to make a simple backup of songs locally, rebuild your music library, or free up space.

3. Not just specific music files, iPhone Data Transfer even allows you to export playlists to iTunes.

Third-party program is available to use when you're looking to transfer music to iTunes from iPhone, iPad or iPod.

If you're a audiophile, you probably have a large number of songs stored on your iPhone media library. While you can listen to all of them on the go, you might want to grab some of tracks and export to your iTunes or macOS Music app for desktop play, rebuild your music library, make copies of your favorite music, or anything else.

While iTunes has its own music transfer feature — it gives you ability to download purchased music on your iPhone to iTunes to listen to — unfortunately, the common music are not included in the list. iTunes, Finder and Music app (macOS 10.15 and later) don't let you pull common songs from your iPhone and save to local media library.

Instead, if you want to transfer music from iPhone to iTunes Windows or Music app in Mac, you'll need to use a third-party application, and there are lot of apps that claim to do this. In this post, we'll introduce an app named iPhone Data Transfer, and show you how to export music to iTunes from your iPhone, iPad or iPod, as well as how to transfer playlists.

Table of Contents

What is iPhone Data Transfer

iPhone Data Transfer is a comprehensive and reliable program that provides users with the power and the freedom to manage your media library on your iPhone, and transfer files, including tracks, between your computer and device. It also can transfer contacts and text messages from your device at ease. In addition, the software allows you to create backups, one-click to rebuild iTunes media library, make ringtone, convert HEIC image files. Basically, it covers almost everything that you can do with iTunes and can do more in a flexible way.

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for macOS | for Windows

As for music, you can opt to choose the full list of songs from iPhone and export to iTunes or Music app, or copy a specific album or song. Here're steps to do.

How to transfer music from iPhone to iTunes or Music app

Transferring iPhone music to iTunes library involves 3 basic simple steps: connect your iPhone into the computer and launch the software, select your songs or playlists from phone library, and then click "Export to iTunes." Even you're new to this music transfer program, you can handle the task quickly and easily.

Let's dive into the details.

Step 1: Plug in your iPhone to PC or Mac

To transfer music files to iTunes, you will first have to plug your USB cable into the computer (Windows or Mac) and connect it with your iPhone, and open the software.

Once connected, you will get an easy-to-understand screen like the image below, along with your basic information displayed.

Step 2: Select your music files from library

Click the "Music" tab in the navigation pane on the left sidebar of the screen to get into your iPhone music library. The software will quickly load all your tracks and playlists within seconds.

To select the music you want to transfer, you have a few options:

1. To copy all your music files: move your mouse to "All Music" in the center pane, and right-click on it, you will get a pop-up context menu, you're ready to go to Step 3; or you can opt for ticking the small box above the first track (next to Type filter).

2. To copy a few songs: move mouse to the list of songs on the right pane, and check the boxes next to the specific songs you want to export to iTunes. You can use the Name, Time, Size, Artist, Album filters to re-arrange your music to locate your tracks quickly.

3. To copy playlist(s): do not select anything from the music list but right-click on the playlist you want to export, and then jump straight to Step 3.


  • You can click the Pen icon at the far right side of the song to edit its ID3 info before transferring. Cover, name, artist, album, and genre are all supported.

Step 3: Start moving your songs to iTunes

Once you've selected your music from iPhone, you can start copying it to iTunes library.

In the toolbar at the top of the music list, simply click computer icon, and then select "Export to iTunes" in the drop-down menu.

That's it! A small window will open, indicating the progress of the music transfer. Once it's done, all the transferred tracks should appear in "Songs" tab in iTunes library.

The steps for putting songs from iPhone to iTunes are almost the same on a Mac, but you will want to click "Export to Music" button here instead if you're having a machine with macOS 10.15 and later version, which replaces iTunes with Apple Music app to play tracks.

Related: What to do if iPhone is disabled and says connect to iTunes

How to transfer playlist from iPhone to iTunes

If you wish to transfer a or multiple playlists to iTunes from your iPhone rather than certain songs, there is a simple and quick way to finish it with iPhone Data Transfer.

1. Connect your iPhone into the computer and open iPhone Data Transfer.

2. Click "Music" tab on the left sidebar of the interface.

3. In the opening music library, head to the Playlists section in the center pane.

4. Right-click on a playlist you want to transfer, and click "Export to iTunes" from the menu.

5. Do the repeated operations to export other playlists.


  • If a playlist is already existing in the iTunes library, iPhone Data Transfer takes all of the songs from the playlist on iPhone and add them to the same playlist in your iTunes. Otherwise, it will create a new playlist locally.

One-click to sync iPhone to iTunes

The default and most common approach of importing songs and playlists from iPhone to iTunes is by choosing what you want from the music library. Also, you can one-click to move your music to iTunes just by a shortcut built in iPhone Data Transfer. This is especially helpful if your iTunes library is corrupted or emptied after an iOS update/ crash, or you just want to built a new library in iTunes.

Steps on copying music from iPhone to iTunes with single click

1. After installing iPhone Data Transfer on your computer, run it. Then connect your device.

2. In its main screen, go to bottom One-click Operation section and click "iTunes Library."

3. On the next screen, select "Sync Device to iTunes" tab.

4. Next, you will get a window with all types of your tracks selected by default, such as music, ringtone, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, podcasts, music videos, voice memos, playlists and iTunes U. You can uncheck the specific box related the type of track you don't need manually.

5. Press "One-Click to iTunes" button at the bottom, and let iPhone Data Transfer transfer your iPhone tracks to iTunes on computer. Depending on how many files you're moving, this may take anything from a few minutes to hours.

Also see: How to access iTunes backup

How to download purchased music to iTunes

iTunes itself includes a transfer feature for purchases. This gives you a convenient way to transfer purchased songs from iPhone to iTunes. You will have to authorize your computer with the same Apple ID, though.

1. Authorize the computer

  • Open iTunes, update it to the latest version if it's available.
  • Go to Account > Authorizations > Authorize This Computer.
  • When prompted, enter your Apple ID and password.
  • Click "Authorize."

Before downloading purchased songs to iTunes, authorizing the computer is necessary.

2. Put music from iPhone to iTunes

  • Connect your device to your computer with a USB cable.
  • From the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window, go to File > Devices.
  • Select Transfer Purchases from "[Your device]."

It's a quick way to transfer iTunes Store music from iPhone to local library.

Note: you will need to authorize the computer for several times if your songs were bought with several accounts.

Related: Why iPad is stuck on reboot loop

Bonus: sync music from iTunes to iPhone in a much easier way

iPhone Data Transfer is excel at iPhone to iTunes music transfer when you want to download some songs or your entire media collection. It makes it easy to sync music from your computer to your iPhone without iTunes as well. Get a new iDevice and want to move favorites from your old device? This application also has you covered.

The whole process of syncing music to iPhone is simple and straightforward.

1. Launch the application on your computer and plug your phone using a working cable.

2. Click Music tab on the left sidebar of the interface.

3. Click the "+" icon in the toolbar at the top of the right pane.

4. In the dialog box that opens, locate your music files or a folder from your computer, then click Open. If you select a folder, all songs inside it will be imported to your iPhone soon.

5. Wait for your music to transfer to iPhone.

If you're looking for transfer songs from one iPhone to another, check out the "Export to device" feature next to "+" button.

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