When Apple released macOS Catalina in the fall of 2019, it quietly closed the book on iTunes as well. If your Mac is running Catalina or any later version of macOS (like Big Sur or Monterey), the iconic but now old music management software is gone. The good news is, that doesn’t mean your library is gone. You will just need to go to another app to get it.
With the demise of iTunes, the Music app has inherited some of the old app functionality. As a result, your iTunes library as you knew it, along with all of your purchased music, should be available in the Music app, which you can find with a quick Spotlight search if you tap Command + space bar then type “Music. ”
While Apple Music is a subscription service that costs $ 10 per month, much like Spotify, the Music app on iOS does not require a subscription and now performs the tasks that iTunes previously had, including syncing. The iTunes Music Store also lives in the Music app, giving you the option to purchase your music instead of subscribing to a streaming service.
While iTunes may have died in the latest versions of macOS, it still lives elsewhere. iTunes continues to work on older versions of macOS, and Apple has so far left the Windows version running and intact. Still, it’s the end of an era (and perhaps a welcome one), and if you want to be absolutely sure your library survives, act while you still can.
How to get your iTunes library on iPhone
If your goal is to access your old iTunes library on your iPhone, the good news is that it is possible, the bad news is that it is not as easy or free as you might hope. Apple offers several options, each with advantages and disadvantages.
The free option: synchronize manually
If you want your iTunes library on your iPhone to be free, the only real option is to sync it manually. In Catalina and newer operating systems, you can sync using Finder. Here are the full instructions from Apple, but the process goes as follows:
- Connect your iPhone to your Mac with a Lightning cable.
- Click on your device when it appears in the left sidebar of the Finder window
- Choose the type of content you want to sync and check the items to transfer in the menu that appears.
You can also sync over Wi-Fi by enabling the setting to display your device over Wi-Fi after plugging it in by cable for the first time.
The easy option: subscribe to Apple Music
The easiest way is to subscribe to Apple Music and activate “Library Sync”. You can do this by:
- Open the Music app on your Mac
- Go to Music, then Preferences
- Go to the General tab and select “Sync Library”
- Go to Settings, then Music on your iPhone
- Activate “Synchronize library”
This is the easiest method, but it Is require an Apple Music subscription which will cost you $ 10 per month, but which offers streaming and can replace a service like Spotify.
The other option: use iTunes Match
If you don’t want to subscribe to Apple Music but also don’t want to sync manually, you can subscribe to iTunes Match, which exists for this purpose. It’s cheaper than Apple Music, at $ 25 a year, but also hard to find. Here’s where he’s hiding.
- Open the Music app on your Mac
- Select “iTunes Store” from the sidebar
- Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page
- Find “iTunes Match” in the fine print under “Features” in the footer
Once you’ve subscribed to iTunes Match, you can sync your library with the same instructions for syncing with Apple Music, listed above.
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