How to...

Transfer music from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod to iTunes or Music

Transfer music from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod to iTunes or Music

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod (touch, classic, nano...), you probably use iTunes or the macOS Music app to listen to and manage your music on your Mac or PC. Those apps are great, but they don't let you retrieve songs from the mobile device, which can be especially problematic if you don't subscribe to Apple Music. You may want to recover songs you manually synced from an old iPod or iPhone, or quickly grab a track you're working on with your band, or even rebuild an entire music library from scratch. iTunes, the Finder and the macOS Music app won't help in those cases. Fortunately, iMazing can help.

With iMazing, you can copy music files from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to iTunes or the Music app, retaining all their metadata: each track's name, artwork, and even ratings and play counts. And you can also transfer your meticulously curated playlists. And if you're worried about duplicates, well, iMazing makes sure it doesn't copy files already in your iTunes library.

Here is how to transfer music from your iPhone (or iPad, or iPod) to iTunes or the Music app:

  1. Launch iMazing and connect your device to your Mac or PC.
  2. Select your device in the sidebar, then select Music.
  3. Select the music you want to export then click Export to iTunes/Music.
  4. Customize your export and confirm.

Before you begin

Download and install iMazing on your Mac or PC computer

In-Depth Tutorial

1. Launch iMazing on your computer and connect your device

Download and install iMazing. Launch the app, and connect your device to your Mac or PC.

2. Select your device in the iMazing's sidebar, then select Music

iMazing will take a few seconds to load tracks and playlists from your device's music library, and check the music library on your computer to determine which tracks are already present.

iMazing Music View

💡 Tip: Tracks which already are listed in your computer's music library are identifiable by an iTunes/Music app logo displayed to the left of the track's name.

3. Select the music you want to export

To copy a specific album or song use the Genre/Artist/Album filters and search bar to narrow down displayed tracks, and select the ones you wish to export.

To copy a playlist select it in the left sidebar and do not select any specific tracks.

To copy your entire library don't select anything and jump straight to step 4.

💡 Tip: when no tracks are selected, iMazing considers that your selection is equivalent to all the tracks matching your current filters. This makes it easier to export a playlist (just select the playlist itself), or a specific album (just select the album). You also get the opportunity to review your selection in the export options window before launching the operation.

4. Click the Export button

In the toolbar at the bottom of the window, click Export to iTunes (Windows and legacy macOS versions), or Export to Music (macOS 10.15 and above). iMazing will display the following export options window:

iMazing Music Export Options Window

5. Customize your export

The export options window lets you review and refine your selection, and customize what metadata will be included.


In the top part of the window, you'll see how many items are selected, how many are already present in your computer's music library, and how many will effectively be exported. If you hadn't selected any items manually, all currently filtered items are considered as selected.

In the next block, you can still change your mind about your selection and instead opt to export the entire library. If you click on Library, you can further refine which types of items to export.

Customize metadata

In the 3rd block of the export window, you define which types of metadata iMazing will export to your music library. By default, all of the following are checked:

  • Playlists: all the playlists. Only available if you've selected a playlist, or nothing at all (entire library).
  • Ratings: the star ratings that you've applied to your tracks.
  • Plays: the total number of times you've listened to each track.
  • Skips: the number of times you've skipped each track, by tapping or clicking the Next button on your iOS device
  • Last Played: the date and time of the last time you listened to each track

6. Transfer your Music

Click Export, and iMazing will start transferring the files from your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to your computer's music library. Depending on how many files you're copying, this may take a while.

iTunes or the macOS Music app may open during the transfer. This is perfectly normal: iMazing needs to communicate with those apps in order to create and add to playlists, and add track metadata to the music library.

Once iMazing finishes working, you'll see the operation listed as successful in the Operations Window. Click on the magnifying glass icon to reveal a log file summarizing the export:

iMazing Music Export Operation Completed

The log is in CSV format. Here's an example:

iMazing Music Export Log

Exporting music to iTunes on macOS 10.14 Mojave and to the Music app on Catalina and above

With macOS 10.14 Mojave, Apple added new security features which guard against malware and spyware accessing your information and controlling your apps via automations. You must now explicitly authorise apps to access specific data and automated actions, and this includes authorising apps such as iMazing to control iTunes or the Music app in order to import music to your music library.

The first time you will use iMazing's Export to Music feature on macOS 10.14 or above, you will be prompted twice by macOS to authorize iMazing to 'control' and System macOS Mojave iTunes Control Prompt macOS Mojave System Events Prompt

💡 iMazing ONLY uses these permissions to import media to your iTunes Library. Granting access is perfectly safe!

After granting iMazing access through both prompts, you can proceed with the export as usual and will not be prompted again.

If you've ever denied iMazing access, iMazing will display a dedicated screen when you try to export media:

iMazing iTunes Control Screen

Simply follow the instructions on screen to whitelist iMazing:

  1. Click the Open System Preferences button
  2. In the Preferences window which will have opened, click the lock and enter your macOS user password to allow changes
  3. Check the 2 checkboxes just like in the screenshot below:

Preferences Automation iMazing Whitelist

💡 You can of course rescind permissions at any time: launch the macOS System Preferences app, select Security & Privacy -> Privacy tab -> Automation and uncheck these boxes to remove iMazing's access to iTunes/Music and System Events.

Going further

If you check Only Show Transferable Media, just above the toolbar, iMazing only shows those files it can copy. If you uncheck this option, any files that iMazing cannot transfer display greyed out.

There are two reasons why iMazing may not be able to copy files:

  • iCloud Music tracks that aren't downloaded cannot be copied, because they are not on your device. If you do want to export music that's in your iCloud Music Library, you should download it first to your device, or use iCloud on your computer as well.
  • Apple Music tracks cannot be copied because they are always DRM protected, meaning that they are encrypted and will not play at all once exported. This is why iMazing lists them as non-transferrable. Those types of tracks are identifiable by an Apple logo.

Speaking of DRM, sometimes tracks that you've purchased via the iTunes store may also be protected and unreadable. This is rather rare since Apple changed stance quite a few years ago on this matter, and most purchased tracks are now DRM free. If a track you've selected for export is DRM protected, iMazing will display the following warning:

iMazing Protected Music Message