Can't sync music from iTunes in iOS 8? Try this fix!

Since upgrading to iOS 8, many users have reported issues when it comes to syncing music with iTunes. For some reason, all their music is gone and no matter how many times they try and sync, no music ever gets transferred. Here's what worked for us!

Before continuing, you will want to make sure that you don't have iTunes Match enabled in Settings > Music. If you do, keep in mind that it will always override whatever you have hard synced from iTunes. Actually, iTunes won't even let you attempt to sync music if iTunes Match is turned on. If that's the case, simply disable iTunes Match and try syncing again with iTunes like normal.

If you don't have iTunes Match or already know it's disabled, continue on.

How to fix music syncing issues with iTunes and iOS 8

  1. Plug in your iPhone or iPad running iOS 8 or higher and launch iTunes.
  2. Select your iPhone from the dropdown menu.
  3. Select Music in the side navigation panel.
  4. Uncheck the box for Sync Music and then click Apply or Sync.
  5. Once the sync is complete, recheck the box for Sync Music and hit Apply or Sync again.
  6. Unplug your iPhone or iPad and see if your music is back.

For most folks, this fix seems to be doing the trick. It worked for me on my iPhone 6 Plus that didn't seem to want to sync any of my music from iTunes. So give it a try and let me know whether or not it works for you! And if you've found another way to fix iTunes syncing issues in iOS 8, be sure to let me know that too!

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • Allyson, From my experience because I own the iPhone 6, the music syncing will work just fine if you sync each genre or playlist one at a time. Especially for larger libraries, iTunes 12 and iPhone communication is rather crappy. Therefore, if you sync one at a time, the syncing should work just fine. Checking sync music can produce issues specifically because iTunes 12 and iPhone communication is crappy. The two take a very long time to begin a syncing sequence. Even for my iPod touch, for which I have a 64GB, I have to add genres one by one to use it. I'm not sure if Apple will fix this in the future because it's worth noting. Bottom line: check genres and/or playlists, one by one to get your music on faster. In addition, if you wanted to add books to iPad or iPhone, or any iOS device, add them one by one. If you want to add books all at once, add four or eight at a time. Caution: if you delete a playlist on your iPhone and sync back on iTunes, the playlist will be entirely gone. Make sure you delete songs individually and modify your playlists before moving forward to delete anything. The iTunes 12 is buggy, but nice. You have treat each piece of file with care. I hope this helps!
  • Kind of like disappearing photos. Thanks for this tip. I do not use match, but have songs that are missing after a sync. I think we tend to rely on the cloud too much, and may be should be plugging back into the computer. Sent from the iMore App
  • It's frustrating for a technical person to see that troubleshooting has really become nothing more than unchecking a box, wait, recheck the box. I know Serenity was mentioning this same frustration with the cloud where the only thing you can do if you have trouble is to turn it off & turn it back on. As Ally is want to say... "that's all there is to it!". Now, that being said, if it really does fix the problem then kudos. But when it doesn't... you're in a world of hurt.
  • My issue is some album are showing up unknown artist and no cover. On iTunes it shows the artist and cover fine. On the iPhone 6+ when I click on the artist tab unknown artist won't appear but if I click on the songs tab the songs are there with the correct names but is an unknown artist and no cover.
  • I had problems syncing purchased songs. If I changed any of the info, I have to sign out of iTunes/App Store on the Settings app before it will sync updated song info. I also had an issue syncing purchased songs that I convert to a bit rate of 128 Kbps during syncing to save space. A few of the songs don't convert and only sync like a millisecond of the song, but they show up in my music app on my phone like they have been synced. It's a hassle because i never know which song it is and I have to go through all of the songs to find out which one. One last issue is albums with the same title showing under the wrong artist (like Chris Brown's album X showing up under Ed Sheeran who has an album entitled x), though I worked around that by deleting the albums and re-syncing. Apple has gotten sloppy with all of these bugs in the Music app no less. Hopefully they fix them. Sent from the iMore App
  • Anyone having problems sending a picture using iMessage? Mine just fails to send but text is fine. Any help would be appreciated. Sent from the iMore App
  • Adding by genre actually worked better for me. Sent from the iMore App
  • Unfortunately, this is far from the answer. Allyson, I think you're going to need to do a little more homework on this one. Take a look at some of the Apple support blogs...there does not appear to be a one size fits all solution to this issue and speaking from personal experience, unchecking the sync music box and re-checking does not resolve this issue. I do not have an answer because non of the solutions I have found either, "don't work at all", or only "work, sort of" and then as you do additional sync's...lose your music again. This is a FULL ON issue that I have yet to see any official acknowledgement from Apple about. I sure hope they fix it soon!
    My solution has been to upload all my music to Google Play, then download it back to my device (so I can play it without incurring data usage charges). This works and actually works nicely but not the solution I am looking for.
  • I couldn't agree with you more. I am glad the solution has worked for other people, but, just speaking for myself, if only the fix was as simply as unticking and reticking the 'add music' boxes, or was related to Itunes Match, I would have resolved my issue week ago :). Since then, I have progressively moved onto more and more time-consuming and tricky solutions offered up by the TONNES of posts that people have submitted over this issue, but none have yet worked for me unfortunately. They've included constant restoring of my iphone, using 3rd party programs to delete Media Library and other system files in the phone (probably stupid of me, I know, but was getting desperate) re-installing itunes, deleting and re-adding my library (I've lost years worth of metadata in the process). I've spent countless hours on this issue since the IOS update pouring through posts of different sites, and have given up... I now only google the topic to see if there is any word from Apple on a fix...but there isn't even an acknowledgement yet. Aaaarrrghhh!!!!! Anyways, guessing if enough people have this issue there will be a fix sooner than later :)
  • Worked perfect for me on my 6 Plus! Thanks for the tip!!!
  • How 'bout it Allyson, do you have any resources that can get us REAL answers? This is a REAL problem that does not have a simple fix and those of us that have this issue are in REAL need. It would be nice if there was someone that had a contact within Apple that could at least confirm that they acknowledge this issue and are working on a solution.
  • Thank you! I don't see how this isn't a bigger issue within the blogosphere. A MAJOR function of the iPhone flat out doesn't work anymore. How is this ok? I recently downloaded a free album by El - P and Killer Mike called Run the Jewels 2. It can't be found on iTunes (free mixtape) so my ONLY option to get it on to my 128gb iPhone 6 is to do a physical sync. In order to get this on my phone I will need to delete all 11,000 songs I currently have on my device and then resync all 11,000 songs to include this small 12 song EP. That's upward of a 5 hour process to add a single album. INSANITY. Flabbergasted this hasn't reached the mainstream media yet nor has been acknowledged/addressed by Apple.
  • Since Steve Jobs' departure, quality and consistency has departed too from Apple software.
    - Terrible experience with iOS 7 & 8 software.
    - Most Apps, including Apple's own apps, keep crashing. I have delted and added some of them still very little improvement.
    - On the virtual iOS keyboard, the normal state of the shift key is "dark". When you ress it it becomes "white" like other keys. It is so confusing
    - I cannot sync my own PDFs to iBooks any more. Previously, one could sync on one device, and they would automatically be synced on other devices registered with same Apple ID. Now that functionality is limited to iBooks purchased from iTunes store. Same behavior seems to be happening with home movies.
  • Well that's a lot of bother. Why wouldn't you just download an MP3 player app and load the album into that?? I do it all the time. SIMPLES....
  • ......That did not work.......
  • Nothing works. I can't sync my iPad mini 3. I had to restore my iPhone 6 four times today. I synced 61GB of my music all day today, little by little, on the last sync, memory was corrupted again.
  • Hey! This worked like a charm! Thank You.
  • Me, my boyfriend and our Super Bowl bound road trip thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
  • Marry me! AT LAST .... I can stop tearing my hair out. Thank you :)
  • Thank you so much for this! I was getting so frustrated.
  • I have iTunes v12 and was unable to sync my iTunes library to my new iPhone 6.
    Figured out what works for me, although tedious, it works!
    1. select your iphone in iTunes
    2. Under "on my device", select Music
    3. On the menu bar, click File > Add Folder to Library
    4. Now locate the music that will not sync and add the folders with the music.
    5. Make sure you have your sync settings set to sync all music
    6. Now sync your iphone.
    If you don't want to sync all your music, then you will need to select the new music/artists under Settings > Music on you iPhone
  • Hey guys, I have been battling this for DAYS AND DAYS. This is what I did and it works without a reboot, you don't lose your files and it is super fast. This is what I did and I was synching within 10 minutes. Download and Install
    Close iTunes 12
    Open App Zapper (you do not need to purchase or register it)
    Open App Zapper preferences and UNCHECK the box to protect Apple applications
    Drag iTunes Application to the App Zapper window and zap away
    Run software update and iTunes 12 will reinstall Apparently apple has released a fix for this issue but it does not "fix" until you uninstall and reinstall iTunes 12 As for the "other" issue with the space where iTunes basically thinks you have no music on your device and tries to sync it all twice. Well once you get iTunes fixed you can either make a backup of your phone or use an existing backup and just reset your phone. This all worked for me perfectly. Hope this helps.
  • Unfortunately, this didn't work for me. I went through all the steps, the iphone (4s) indicated both times that it completed the sync in total and without error, yet the one single album I tried to push to my phone is still not there. I don't know what's going on, but it seems no matter what I do, I'm just simply unable to get this thing to sync. What's weird is that I can get the system to the point where it gives every indication that its pushing music to the phone (whether I drag & drop or, now, use the sync functionality), it gives no indication of an error at all, but the albums/artists/songs are not available from my iphone. I'm now at a complete loss as to what to do, and any suggestions or assistance will be both appreciated and tried.
  • I'm having the same problem. No indication of an error, tried every possible sync option there was and nothing at all!
  • I honestly cannot explain it, but almost as soon as I finally broke down and posted on a forum looking for help with my problem (after struggling through for about 10 days), I once again tried something that I had tried multiple times before, and it magically began working: 1. I resync'd my iphone to my computer, opting to remove all music not purchased directly through the itunes store from my iphone. 2. Then, in the sync functionality in itunes, I unchecked all boxes under playlists, artists, albums, and selected just one genre and resync'd. BAM! it worked. 3. So, I tried the same thing, but with a single album- it worked again. 4. I then selected all the artists I wanted and it worked. So I guess there was one thing I did differently, which was to first try a genre. Why this worked when everything else I tried didn't is baffling, but it worked. I can't say it will work for you, but it worked for me. Now, my rant: Prior to Steve Jobs's passing, Apple held itself to a standard of useability design that far outpaced the industry average, and everybody loved it. I was concerned, however, when he died, that those days were numbered. If this recent experience is any indication, then those days are long gone, and it's a sad day indeed. As I get ready to upgrade my phone in the next few months, I'm forced to seriously consider whether to get another iphone- and I've had an android phone already, which drove me to iphone in the first place. Anyway, sorry for ranting. It's safe to say that, even though I managed to solve my problem, it was incredibly frustrating to me to even have the problem at all, to say nothing of it taking ten days of persistent effort to solve it.
  • Thank you so much - I have been tearing my hair out for days trying to sort this out. I followed a few ideas, including removing all my music from my phone and then re-syncing - that just removed everything from my phone and then left random songs (combination of downloaded and uploaded songs from random CDs) as ghost songs. So glad to everything back on again.
  • This problem with iTunes and my iPhone 6+ being incapable of syncing my music was driving me crazy, and this fix remedied that problem! Now I have ALL of my music from my music library on my iPhone! Thanks a million!
  • For a novice this solution was a disaster, I've lost all my music. Thank you so much for your incapable advice. I can only hope that others read this before attempting your suggestions
  • Please do not demean the author of this article simply because this solution wasn't applicable to your situation. Take your negative, condescending attitude elsewhere until you learn some respect.
  • This is just rude. The solution worked for me and many others. You decided to follow the advice so take some personal responsibility for that please.
  • thank you so much! it works on my iphone. just a simple uncheck and check the sync music. i thought there's something wrong in my phone but it turns out there's a simple solution for it. :)
  • Thanks so much for this tip! Just downloaded some new audibooks since I recently lost a load when I had to wipe my Iphone (annoying since I backed up 5 mins before!) And I could only get one to sync on the first attempt! This solved the issue for me!
  • I sent an email a few minutes ago, but I just want to say I love this website!! I had a problem that I couldn't find a solution for, I was at my wits end-but POOF-it's solved and the instructions were EASY to follow. Thanks again!!