Forum Question: How Do I Copy a Music CD From My iMac To My iPhone?

How do I copy a music CD from my iMac to my iPhone? I own the music CD and have imported it into iTunes on my iMac. But I had previously been syncing my iPhone with iTunes on an older MacBook Pro that I have now repurposed as a Linux computer. One option is to use the iTunes on my iMac and sync and start over again, but then I would lose much of the music presently on my iPhone. I have done some web searches but so far can not find a straightforward way to simply copy the music CD from my iMac to my iPhone without affecting anything else. Do you have any suggestions? I am using a 2015 iMac and macOS Sierra with a recent version of iTunes (
Richard Fuhr

Comments: 7 Responses to “How Do I Copy a Music CD From My iMac To My iPhone?”

    12/7/16 @ 4:36 pm

    The old old way to get music to your iPhone, which is seems you are using, is to “sync” it from your Mac like you suggest. This literally means “sync” — music will be added and removed to match the music in iTunes on your Mac, with adjustments made in iTunes. For instance, you can choose to only sync certain playlists, artists, genres, etc, instead of “everything.”
    The problem is that if you put music on your iPhone and then delete that music from your Mac, then when you sync again that music will also be removed from your iPhone. It “syncs” — so the music matches again.
    The solution is to not delete something from your Mac unless you also want it deleted from your iPhone. If you do, then you need to put that music back on your Mac and set up iTunes like you want it with the music you want before a sync.
    It sounds like this happened to you. Maybe instead of deleting the music on your Mac, you simply switched Macs and lost some music?
    So you need to find that music — all of the music you want on your iPhone — and get it on your Mac in iTunes. Then sync it to replace all of the music on your iPhone with the music from your Mac. But if you don’t have any copies of that music on your Mac and can’t get them from anywhere else, then you are out of luck.
    The other solution is to use the “Manually manage music and videos” option in iTunes in the Options for that iPhone when syncing. But that is something you have to do first — doing so erases the music on your iPhone and then lets you manually add or remove music. So it is only a solution moving forward. It doesn’t help you get those songs back if you have no copies of them anywhere else.

    Richard Fuhr
    12/7/16 @ 4:42 pm

    OK, here is a followup question. Is there a way that I can start by first copying all the music that is now on my iPhone (but not yet on iTunes on my iMac) to iTunes on my iMac? If I can do that, then I would be able to successfully proceed from there.

    12/7/16 @ 4:45 pm

    No. You can’t copy music from your iPhone to your Mac. That very problem has frustrated many people. It is why I am glad that this option for syncing music to iPods and iPhones is fading into the past with better options like “manually,” iTunes Match and ultimately Apple Music.

    Richard Fuhr
    12/8/16 @ 1:32 am

    Actually I have just discovered that a Mac app called PhoneView enables me to copy music from my iPhone to my iMac. I am just slowly working with it now to make sure it is really doing what I want it to do. So far, so good, but I am not ready to declare success yet.

    12/8/16 @ 7:35 am

    So you had no other way to get the music? Where did it come from originally? If you purchased it on iTunes, or ripped it from a CD, you could just re download or re-rip it. You didn’t transfer it from your old Mac to an archive or another Mac at the time?

    Richard Fuhr
    12/8/16 @ 8:46 am

    Some were from CDs, some were purchased via iTunes. I do have a Time Machine backup from that old MacBook Pro. So I could have used a combinations of those resources to load the music onto iTunes as an alternative to PhoneView. PhoneView, so far, seems to be working, and fortunately the amount of music is not huge.

    Richard Fuhr
    12/8/16 @ 2:20 pm

    I can now confirm that the process I used did seem to work, and now my iPhone syncs with my iMac, In retrospect, as Gary pointed out, I probably should have somehow transitioned the iTunes library on my old Mac to my new Mac before repurposing my old Mac as a Linux machine. In any case, the PhoneView app did work quite well. I think that, in general, synchronization between devices is one of the more challenging computer tasks, and it is more difficult than it needs to be.

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