How to Connect an iPhone to Windows Without iTunes

By Samuel Wade

Tight integration with the iTunes desktop application is central to Apple's vision of the iPhone user experience. From its origins as a simple music player, iTunes has grown to handle everything from transferring music, apps and other media to updating the phone's operating system and backing up its contents. However, some feel that this has left the application bloated, and performance issues or simply personal preference leave many users looking for alternatives.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows PC
  • iPhone
  • USB sync cable
  • Internet connection

Step 1

MediaMonkey is a well-established player for Windows, and has a comprehensive feature set for music playback and management. Its free version can transfer audio to and from the iPhone, while the paid Gold version also allows tracks to be converted to lower bit rates during sync, saving space on the device.

Step 2

Sharepod focuses on providing a simple and lightweight syncing solution, though it can also play music from your iPhone through the computer speakers. It allows media transfer to and from the iPhone, and dragging and dropping of files between itself and Windows Explorer. It is free, though donations are accepted.

Step 3

CopyTrans Manager can run from the iPhone itself, and can therefore be used on different computers without requiring installation on each one. It allows drag-and-drop addition of media and comprehensive management of files already on the device. CopyTrans Manager does not require iTunes to be present in order to function.

Tips & Warnings

  • These applications focus on replacing iTunes' music and video transfer functions. However, iTunes is also responsible for syncing contacts and calendars with the host computer. These can instead be synced "over the air" using Apple's own MobileMe service or Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync.
  • Buying and managing iPhone apps on your computer is only possible in iTunes. However, they can also be purchased and organized on the iPhone itself using the App Store app.
  • These solutions allow you to transfer media files without using iTunes; however, with the exception of CopyTrans Manager, they still require that iTunes is present on your computer, as they rely on the infrastructure it provides. Furthermore, iTunes is still necessary for updating the iPhone's operating system.
  • If you do not sync your iPhone with iTunes, the intended backup processes will not take place. You may therefore be at risk of data loss if your phone is damaged, lost or stolen. This is particularly true for data stored within third-party apps, which often have no other means of backup.