How to Transfer an iTunes Library to an iPhone

By Carol Finch

Learn how to transfer an entire music library or selected music from iTunes to an iPhone. Find out how to download music from iTunes in the Cloud.

Things You'll Need

  • iPhone
  • iTunes

Transferring your iTunes library to your iPhone can be as simple as clicking a couple of buttons to sync your music from your computer to your phone. If you have more music than your iPhone can hold or if you want to transfer only selected parts of your library, sync a selection of playlists, artists, albums or genres. Alternatively, use iCloud to download music directly to your iPhone without connecting to iTunes.

Sync Music to an iPhone Using iTunes on a Computer

Transfer an iTunes Library

Connect your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes. Select your iPhone's image icon from the menu bar.

Select your iPhone icon to access its settings.


You can change settings in iTunes to enable Wi-Fi syncing, allowing you to transfer music without connecting your iPhone to a computer.

Select Music. Make sure the Sync Music box is checked and select Entire Music Library. To include videos in the sync, check the Include Music Videos box.

This setting transfers all the music in your iTunes library.

ITunes checks the size of your library against available space on your iPhone. Go to the Storage bar at the bottom of the screen to see how much free space you have. If the bar shows the phrase "Over Capacity," you don't have enough room to transfer the library. Either free up space on your iPhone or switch to transferring a selection of your music collection.


  • ITunes transfers all music by default when you select the Entire Music Library option. To remove music from a full download, select your iPhone in iTunes, go to Summary and check Sync Only Ticked Songs and Videos. To remove artists or albums from a transfer, go to Music and sort by Artist or Albums. Right-click on the artist's name or on an album in the list and select Untick Selection. To remove individual tracks, go to Songs view and uncheck the tick mark next to songs you want to remove from the transfer.

Transfer Selected Music From iTunes

In iTunes, select your iPhone's icon to open its settings and select Music. Check Sync Music and then Selected Playlists, Artists, Albums and Genres**.** Check boxes in any of the lists to choose which music to transfer.

Selectively sync music to an iPhone.

Go to the bar at the bottom of the screen to check that your iPhone has space for the transfer. If you see an Over Capacity message, remove some of your selections. Select Apply to start the sync.


  • Youcan also transfer songs, albums and artists by dragging them to youriPhone's icon on the iTunes menu bar. This opens a slider menu under theicon -- drag the files to your iPhone in the Devices list to add them.* You can't choose individual songs when you transfer selected music. To transfer a selection of songs, put them in a Playlist or drag them to your iPhone.

Download Music to Your iPhone From iCloud

If you have enabled iCloud, you can download music directly to your iPhone instead of transferring it from iTunes.


Apple only allows you to cloud-download music purchased from iTunes. If you want to use this method to download music ripped from CDs or purchased from other sources, you need to subscribe to iTunes Match.

Tap Music on your Home screen and then select Playlists. Open the Purchased playlist.

To download all available songs, pull down the screen and tap Download All or scroll through the list and tap the Cloud icon to download individual tracks.

The Cloud icon shows music you haven't downloaded to your iPhone.


  • You can also download music from the Artists, Songs and Albums areas in the Music app.
  • You must be signed into your Apple account to see music you've purchased.
  • To download music you've purchased, tap the iTunes Store app, tap More, select Music and tap Not on This iPhone to see a list of music available for download.


Don't use cell data to download a lot of tracks from your iPhone. Large downloads eat into your plan's allowance, and you may incur extra charges if downloads exceed your cap. It's better to use Wi-Fi for this transfer method.