How to add songs to the Music app

For some, the advent of Apple Music will mean their own personal collections will become small seas in the giant oceans of the full streaming catalog. For others, however, who don't want streaming, My Music is still the place or organize and enjoy your personally purchased or ripped music.

How to purchase music on iPhone and iPad

Even in the age of Apple Music, the iTunes Store still lets you buy all the music—and movies and TV shows—you want to own. You can buy songs or albums from the iTunes Store; once they've downloaded, the tracks will appear in My Music. And if you've bought songs on another device, you'll have those available to you to download via iCloud Music Library.

  1. Open the iTunes Store app.
  2. Search or navigate to the song or album you'd like to purchase.
  3. Tap on the price next to the album or song name, then tap again to confirm you want to Buy. Depending on your settings, you may need to enter your password.

  1. You can see the download status of your recently purchased tracks in More > Downloads. When your tracks have finished downloading to your device, they'll appear in My Music.

How to add music to your library with using the Apple Music catalog for iPhone and iPad

If you're subscribed to Apple Music, you can add music to your library by tapping the More button (looks like •••) next to a track, then tapping Add to My Music.

  1. Open the Music app and find the song you want to add.
  2. Tap the More button (looks like •••) to the right of the music.
  3. Tap Add to My Music.

How to use iTunes Match

If you use iTunes Match, you can enable it on your Mac to match and upload your songs to Apple's servers; from there, you can access that content within My Music on any of your devices. Learn more about iTunes Match with our ultimate guide!

How to add music manually to iPhone and iPad

Sometimes you may not want to download tracks over the air or from iCloud Music Library. In those cases, you can add content manually to your iOS devices or your Mac.

If you're not using iCloud Music Library, you can use iTunes to manually sync your songs to the Music app on your iPhone or iPad, or to store your songs on your Mac. It may not necessarily be the most glamorous way to add music in 2015, but it's faster than downloading over Wi-Fi, and lets you add a bunch of offline tracks to your devices for future listening.

  1. Make sure your iPhone is logged out of the Music app. (Tap on the Account button, then tap Sign Out.)

  1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac via USB charging cable.
  2. Open iTunes on your Mac (if it doesn't open automatically).
  3. Click on the Device button in the toolbar to the left of the My Music tab.
  4. Select the Music tab in the sidebar.

  1. Check the Sync Music box.
  2. Choose either to sync Entire music library or Selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres. If the latter, choose the tracks you'd like to upload to your device. You also have the option to "Automatically fill free space with songs," which will take up the remaining space on your device with tracks from your Mac.
  3. Click Apply to begin the sync process.
  4. Click the Eject button to safely disconnect your iPhone and iPad from your Mac.

How to download all your music at one time on your iPhone or iPad

If you really want to have all your music locally stored on your iPhone or iPad there is a little trick you can use to accomplish that. If you create a Smart Playlist in iTunes on Mac or PC, any devices connecting via iCloud Music Library will receive the option to download that playlist, and smart playlist can be "live", which means any new tracks you add will also push to all your connected devices.

  1. Launch iTunes on your Mac
  2. Click File in the top menu bar.
  3. Hover your cursor over New

  1. Click Smart Playlist
  2. Adjust the Smart Playlist Options to look exactly like the image below on the right.

  1. Click OK
  2. Type a name for your playlist.

  1. Launch Music on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Playlist.
  3. Tap the name of the smart playlist.
  4. Tap Cloud button to begin downloading all the tracks.

Depending on how many items you are trying to download to your iPhone this way, it could take a couple minutes, a couple hours, or even a couple days. If you have a lot of tracks, your best bet is probably plugging in your iPhone or iPad overnight, and letting it download while you sleep.


Let us know in the comments.

Serenity Caldwell

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

  • Stitches!!
  • Can I use iTunes Match on a Windows (10) machine? Or is that feature strictly for Mac users? If it's the latter, that's a shame, but Google Music lets Windows PC users (and I suspect Mac as well, but I don't know) upload up to 50,000 songs. They aren't matched, per se, but then they can be streamed (and pinned, so an encrypted copy stays on the device).
  • Go to YouTube to MP3 to get free music on iPhone iPod and iPad Sent from the iMore App
  • Problem: I have my iPhone and iPod touch as well as MBPro all on same internet/same iCloud account etc. etc. but can't get the 'Dnld. all your music.....' instructions to work. Have tried several times. What might I be doing wrong?
  • You have to be subscribed to Apple Music. I know that sounds obvious but you didn't mention it in your post so I wanted to mention it rather than assume you were subscribed. Sent from the iMore App
  • We used to be able to browse (from, say an iPad) our home Mac's iTunes library and then either stream a track (via Home Sharing), which we can still do, or download that track locally. It seems they've removed the latter option, presumably to try and force me to buy a subscription to Apple Music. So, if I still want that functionality, and NOT to subscribe to Apple Music, what can I do? I want some option where I can have my home music library on one 'master/server' kind of machine, but access it from all devices (and download locally any tracks wanted).
  • When you find that let me know, lol. I bought an iPhone 7 but have a 2007 MacBook. I can't upgrade my iTunes beyond 11.5 and the new phone requires version 12.4. So I have no music on my phone right now. The only solution is Apple Music, which I simply can't afford. Nice of Apple to let everyone know of the 12.4 requirement when the new phone was released, huh? I use Home Sharing but it doesn't let me add the music to my phone. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yes, that's the thing. And, the big issue is that we used to be able to do that. After Apple released Apple Music, they seem to have removed that feature from iTunes. :( It's another great example of the 'new' Apple putting marketing and spreadsheets ahead of UX. I'm sure they'll push a certain percentage of users to just subscribe to Apple Music. But, then there are those of us who they are actually pushing away from the platform. I suppose in overall calculations (at least in the short term), their move will increase profits (i.e. they'll make more from Apple Music subscriptions then they'll lose from driving customers like me away). But, the 'old' Apple, IMO, would have put UX first. That's what brought people like me to the platform in the first place, and what made them so successful. As they move away from that, a crash is in the works.... (And, the current management seems a bit too business 101, instead of basic common sense and critical thinking, to get that. I hope I'm wrong!)
  • Very much informative Sent from the iMore App
  • And this is part of why I can't switch to an iPad Pro (and I want to). I listen to way too many things that are not in Apple Music or even iTunes. I don't want to have to something else just to load MP3s that I legally bought from someplace else. Note: VLC Player can be used as a work around, sometimes.
  • You can sync your iPad with iTunes from your Mac or PC. Been doing it for years myself. ITunes can hold all music you've acquired regardless where it came from. It's been this way since the iPod.
  • "It may not necessarily be the most glamorous way to add music in 2015, but it's faster than downloading over Wi-Fi, and lets you add a bunch of offline tracks to your devices for future listening." 2015... Replies from 6 months ago... Was this article copy-paste-posted at least twice?... Beyond that, copying music from outside sources is a joke. Apple makes it intentionally difficult. I have a song I ripped in ALAC that it won't copy. It doesn't tell me why, it just won't. I've "converted" it, I've reset warnings. I've manually dragged and dropped. It will not copy over. Apple is getting worse. I thought I'd give an iPhone a try after needing to upgrade one of my phones, but really, what is their problem? Let alone they spammed my Watch with "Activity Challenge for Thanksgiving" when I have *all* activity off. Didn't they learn not to do things for people because "Apple knows better" with that whole U2 album nonsense? They need a new Steve Jobs, and it ain't whatever Tim Cook is doing.
  • "When it comes to iPhones, iPads, and iPods, there's still no way to add non-iTunes music to your Music app. That said, there are plenty of third-party apps that can either play music from online storage services or stream it from your computer's repository."
    I'm guessing you mean music that doesn't live in the iTunes app on the Mac (or PC). Because when you sync your iPhone or iPad and even The lowly iPod you can sync the entire library regardless of where you got the files from.