Imagine this situation: one day, you lose your entire music library on your Mac or PC, or your computer itself kicks the bucket. Now, your prized collection of tracks, albums and artists only exists on your iPhone, iPad or iPod.
To complicate matters, there’s currently no option to share songs from the iOS Music app, and, generally, iTunes is designed to transfer music to your iOS device — not the other way around.
Use iTunes to Transfer Purchases
As stated above, while iTunes can’t really be used to transfer media from an iOS device to a computer, there is one exception: iTunes Store Purchases. You can only transfer this to a computer that’s been authorized with your Apple ID, however — if you’re trying to copy your music to a friend’s computer, this method won’t work.
First, before connecting a phone..
- Open iTunes.
- Click Preferences.
- Then tick the box that says Prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from syncing automatically.
This will ensure that your iOS device’s library won’t be overwritten automatically when you sync it to iTunes.
- Open iTunes.
- Connect your device to your computer.
- When it’s been synced, go to File > Devices > Transfer Purchases from “[device name]”.
- Now your purchases — including songs and albums — will be transferred to your iTunes library.
Other Ways to Transfer Music from Your iPhone to a Computer
When it comes to offloading media that wasn’t purchased from iTunes, like songs ripped from a CD or albums downloaded from other sources, you have to resort to using a third-party application. There are a ton of third-party apps for both Mac and Windows PC that can do this for you, but here’s a few of the most highly rated and easy-to-use.
PhoneView, an app made by ecamm, is a smartphone media manager made for the Mac, and it’s a straightforward and easy-to-use piece of software. In addition to media files, you can also backup voicemails, text messages, contacts, notes, call logs and app data.
To extract your music and other media files, just plug in your device and enter your iTunes backup encryption password (if you have one). From here, you can explore your iOS device’s file system, pick the files you want to save, and either transfer them to iTunes or save them as a file on your desktop.
The full version of PhoneView costs $29.95. The app has a 7-day free trial period with restrictions on file access.
Similar to PhoneView, iExplorer is available for both Mac and Windows PC. With iExplorer, you can automatically transfer music, media and other files — such as contacts, notes and calendar items. You can connect multiple devices to it, and it allows you to view the file contents of each one.
Just like PhoneView, iExplorer is straightforward to use — just pick a file and export it to your desktop. It’s perhaps a bit less fluid than PhoneView, but is still a capable and powerful app — so it’s a recommended download for users who want to extract their iOS device’s contents to a PC rather than a Mac.
iExplorer can be used for free with restrictions. A full version is available for $39.99.
AnyTrans is another iOS sync and backup manager, and like iExplorer, it’s also available for Mac or PC. AnyTrans has a streamlined and clean interface that fits the Apple aesthetic, and is similarly easy-to-use.
Just plug in your device and AnyTrans will automatically recognize it. From here, just click on the Menu > Audio > Music, and you’ll be able to view your iOS device’s audio library. From here, you can Send to Mac or Send to iTunes.
Of particular note is the fact that AnyTrans offers a 7-day free trial of its software which allows you to transfer 50 items a day — unlike other media managers whose trial versions offer limited access to the iOS device’s files. The full version of AnyTrans costs $39.99.