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How to add music to iPhone without iTunes

Craig Grannell | June 17, 2016
You can still listen to your favourite songs on your iPad or iPhone without using Apple’s iTunes, here's how to.

Apple's iOS devices are designed to sync with a single library on a specific Mac or PC. This is inconvenient if you just want the odd new song on your device, without going through a lengthy sync, or if you've got a device that was previously synced with another computer (and therefore an iTunes library) you no longer have access to.

Trying to sync a device with a new library on a computer that has a fresh install of iTunes may wipe the iOS device. At best, you'll be able to transfer across your iTunespurchases, but not any other music you've loaded on your iPhone or iPad. This tutorial is therefore about workarounds - how to get new music on your device, or old music off of it, without going anywhere near an iTunes sync. 

Use iTunes in the cloud

Content you've bought in the Music app on your device or in iTunes on your Mac can be accessed when you're online. Fire up Music and you should see albums you've bought; select one and you'll see the familiar cloud icon. Tap this to download the album to your device. (If you're an iTunes Match subscriber, you'll be able to download albums and tracks in the same manner.)

If an album or track you've bought isn't showing in Music, open the iTunes Store app and navigate to More > Purchased > Music. You may find it lurking in the Recent Purchases section.

iTunes alternatives: apps and services

It's also possible to get music on to your device using alternative cloud-oriented services that have apps with their own players. For example, if you upload an MP3 to Dropbox, you can play it inside that app and store it locally by tapping the star button. However, you cannot transfer it to Apple's Music app's library.

Amazon Music app

There are many services and apps beyond Apple's own that can get music on to your device. Amazon Music loads your on-device tracks from Music and integrates them with content you've bought on the Amazon store (which, of late, may also include free rips of CDs you've previously purchased). Elsewhere, streaming services such asSpotify provide access to a huge library of music, and if you pay the monthly fee you can save tracks for offline playback. Alternatively, StreamToMe will stream music from any Mac with the StreamToMe server installed, meaning you can access your iTunes library without iTunes Match or dealing with a sync.


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