How to Transfer Music From My iPhone to My Computer

By Johnathan Stetson

You open your computer, press the power button and wait, only to realize that the dreaded moment has finally come--your hard drive crashed. You do everything you can to save your files, but to no avail. But there is one glimmer of hope--your music is all saved on your iPhone. The efforts of software developers have taken all the pain out of transferring those songs back onto your computer. Now you can protect your music library against unexpected computer crashes or hard drive failures, or simply always keep your computer's music library updated.

Automatic Software

Step 1

Download and install iPhone-to-computer transfer software. A number of reliable, free options are available for Mac, Windows and Linux systems.

Step 2

Plug in your iPhone, and launch the transfer software.

Step 3

Choose which songs you'd like to transfer from your iPhone to your computer. To pick more than one song at once, press and hold the Shift key (Windows and Mac) to select multiple songs in a consecutive row, or press and hold the Ctrl key (Windows) or Apple key (Mac) to pick specific songs individually. Click "OK," and wait for iTunes to automatically add and sort the songs in your library.

Manual File Finder

Step 1

Download and install a free iPhone file-browsing program. These programs find the hidden files inside your iPhone (including your songs) and let you navigate through them. Several types of reliable, free programs are available for Mac, Windows and Linux systems.

Step 2

Plug in your iPhone, and open iTunes. Click the iPhone tab on the left, and click "Check for Updates" to download the most recent iPhone software. This process clears your iPhone of its data, so back up and sync your phone before updating its software. Click "Sync" before you update in case iTunes isn't automatically set to sync your phone on startup.

Step 3

Open the file-browsing software, and close iTunes. If your iPhone is plugged in, the program should automatically detect it and its files.

Step 4

Create a new file on your desktop for the music you'd like to transfer from your iPhone to your computer, and call it whatever you'd like.

Step 5

Find the songs you'd like to transfer by reviewing the file-browsing results, and drag the files over to the new music folder you made in Step 4. To pick more than one song at a time, click and hold Shift (Windows and Mac) to select blocks of more than one file at a time, and click and hold Ctrl (Windows) or the Apple key (Mac) to individually highlight multiple songs at once.

Tips & Warnings

  • You won't be able to listen to paid music from iTunes unless your computer is "authorized" for that specific iTunes account. To authorize your computer, open iTunes and enter your login and password when prompted.
  • There's a strong chance that transferring your music from iPhone to computer will create duplicate songs or files. To delete the duplicates, go to "View" and "Show Duplicates," and then go through to pick out which songs you no longer want.
  • Make sure you have enough hard drive space available on your computer before you transfer your music. If you don't think your computer has enough space, consider buying an external hard drive to store your music library.
  • If you're using file-finder software, do not upload or delete any files. Only use the software to find, copy and transfer files from your iPhone to your computer.
  • It is illegal to pirate or download stolen music. Transferring music from your iPhone to your computer is only permissible if you have the right of ownership to the files in question.