How to Sync Mac With iPhone

The iTunes program, included as part of the Mac OS X operating system, has a sync feature that shuttles information between your Mac and iPhone using a USB cable or a Wi-Fi connection. Syncing ensures that content on your iPhone, including music, movies and app data, is up-to-date with corresponding files on your Mac.

Sync Using USB Cable

Step

Connect the iPhone docking cable to a USB port on your Mac computer. Plug the other end into the iPhone.

Step

Launch the iTunes program on your Mac, and click the iPhone device icon. This icon does not appear unless an iPhone is connected to your Mac.

iPhone icon in iTunes
iPhone icon in iTunes
credit: J T B

Step

Click Music. Set the sync options for music files. Click the Sync Music check box to sync music files between the Mac and iPhone. Click the Entire music library radio button to sync all music. To sync music files selectively, click Selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres. Perform this step only when changing music sync settings; you don't need to do it for every sync operation.

Set sync options
credit: J T B

Step

Set the sync options for Movies, TV Shows, Tones and Photos in iTunes, changing the sync settings according to how you want to manage your personal media library.

Step

Click the Sync button. Allow some time for the iTunes sync to complete; the time varies depending on the size of your media library.

Sync button
Sync button
credit: J T B

Sync Using Wi-Fi

Step

Plug the iPhone into your Mac computer’s USB port using its docking cable. This step is necessary only for setup; once set, you can plug your iPhone into a wall charger to sync through Wi-Fi.

Step

Launch iTunes on your Mac, and click the iPhone device icon.

iPhone icon in iTunes
credit: J T B

Step

Click Summary in the list of iPhone options.

iTunes: iPhone list of options
credit: J T B

Step

Click the check box, Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi if it is not already set. Click the Apply button.

Wi-Fi sync option
credit: J T B

Step

Click Music and set the sync options for music files. Click the Sync Music check box to sync music files between the Mac and iPhone. Click the Entire music library radio button to sync all music; to sync music files selectively, click Selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres. Perform this step only when changing music sync settings; you don't need to do it for every sync operation.

Sync music options
credit: J T B

Step

Set the sync options for Movies, TV Shows, Tones and Photos in iTunes, changing the sync settings according to how you want to manage your personal media library.

Step

Click the Sync button. Allow some time for the sync to complete in iTunes; the time varies depending on the size of your media library.

Wi-Fi sync
credit: J T B