How to Add an MP3 to iPhone

Apple's iTunes Store sells music in the AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format, but you don't need to convert your MP3 files to add them to your iPhone. Both iTunes 12 on your computer and the Music app on iOS 8 can play MP3s, so import your music to iTunes and sync your phone to transfer the songs. You can also add individual songs from your iTunes library to the phone without changing its music sync settings.

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Syncing also copies over metadata including ratings and play counts.
credit: Image courtesy of Apple

Add to iTunes and Sync Music

Step

Open the File menu in iTunes on your computer and click Add File to Library to pick an MP3 to add. If you can't see the menus, press Ctrl-B.

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Alternatively, click Add Folder to Library to add all music from a directory.
credit: Image courtesy of Apple
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Unchecking Sync Music deletes all songs on the phone.
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Step

Plug in your iPhone with the USB cable and click its icon on the iTunes toolbar. Switch to the Music tab. If Sync Music isn't checked, enable it.

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The Automatically Fill Free Space with Songs option adds as many more songs as fit your phone.
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Step

Pick either Entire Music Library to copy all songs from iTunes to your phone, or Selected Playlists, Artists, Albums and Genres to pick and choose from your library.

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When using the latter option, check the box by each item you want to include. Watch the meter at the bottom of the window to see how much space your iPhone has left.

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The Revert button cancels your changes.
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Step

Click Apply to copy the selected music to your iPhone.

Add Individual Songs to an iPhone

Step

Plug in your iPhone and click its icon in iTunes. On the Summary tab, check the Manually Manage Music and Videos option if it isn't already enabled, and click Apply.

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Manual music management still requires you to use iTunes.
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Alternatively, pick another category to add entire albums, artists, etc. to your iPhone.
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Step

Open your iTunes music library and select Songs from the category selector in the upper-right corner.

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You can also drag songs into iTunes playlists.
credit: Image courtesy of Apple

Step

Select the songs you want to add and begin dragging them to the left to open a sidebar that shows connected devices. Drag the songs onto the iPhone entry in the sidebar and release the mouse button to copy the files to your phone.