How to sync your iPhone and iPad with your Mac

Mac iPhone Backup
Mac iPhone Backup (Image credit: iMore)

Apple replaced the iTunes app with three new ones, Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV, beginning with macOS Catalina. So if you still use iTunes on your Mac to sync your iPhone and iPad, don't worry. You can still use your computer to perform this task. It's just different than it was previously.

Where to sync your iPhone or iPad

Instead of using iTunes to sync your mobile device on macOS as you did previously, you now use Finder.

  1. Attach your device to your computer.
  2. Click on the Finder app on the Mac Dock.
  3. Select your device on the left side of the screen under Devices.

To sync your iPhone or iPad, attach your device to your computer, then click on the Finder app on the Mac Dock. Choose your device on the left-hand side under Devices. (Image credit: iMore)

Once you do, you'll see a familiar interface. You can restore your device, manage backups, and sync content between your computer and mobile device(s). From this screen, you can also handle file transfers between devices.

How to sync music to your iPhone or iPad

If you're using the iCloud Music Library sync on your iPhone or iPad, you cannot sync music using your Mac.

  1. Click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock.
  2. Select your device on the left side of the screen under Devices.
  3. Click on the Music tab on the right-hand side.

To sync music between your iPhone or iPad, click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock. Choose your device on the left side of the screen under Devices. On the right-hand side, clock on the Music tab. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Check the box Sync Music onto your device to activate Music syncing.
  2. Under Sync, you can select Entire music library or Selected artists, albums, genres, and playlists.
  3. Under Options, you can choose to include Include videos and automatically fill free space with songs.

To sync music to your iPhone or iPad, check the box Sync Music onto your device, under Sync and Options, make your choices among those listed. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Select playlists, artists, albums, and genres, where applicable.
  2. Click Apply.
  3. Click Sync to sync music files between your Mac and mobile device.

To sync music to your iPhone or iPad, select playlists, artists, albums, and genre where applicable. Click Apple, then Sync. (Image credit: iMore)

How to sync movies between your iPhone or iPad

  1. Click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock.
  2. Select your device on the left side of the screen under Devices.
  3. Click on the Movies tab on the right-hand side.

To sync movies between your iPhone or iPad, click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock. Choose your device on the left side of the screen under Devices. On the right-hand side, clock on the Movies tab. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Check the box Sync Movies onto your device to activate Movies syncing.
  2. Under Sync, click the Automatically include box.
  3. Use the pull-down menu to select all content or make another choice from those listed.

To sync movies between your iPhone or iPad, check the box Sync Movies onto your device, click the Automatically include box. Use the pull-down based on your preferences. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Apply.
  2. Click Sync to sync movies between your Mac and mobile device.

To sync movies between your iPhone or iPad, click Apple, then Sync. (Image credit: iMore)

How to sync TV shows to your iPhone or iPad

  1. Click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock.
  2. Select your device on the left side of the screen under Devices.
  3. Click on the TV shows tab on the right-hand side.

To sync TV shows between your iPhone or iPad, click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock. Choose your device on the left side of the screen under Devices. On the right-hand side, clock on the TV Shows ta (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Check the box Sync TV Shows onto your device to activate TV Show syncing.
  2. Check the box to Automatically include.
  3. In the pull-down menu, select all unwatched or make another choice from those listed.
  4. In the next pull-down menu, select all shows or selected shows.

To sync TV shows to your iPhone or iPad, check the box Sync TV shows onto your device, then check the box to Automatically include. In pull-down menu, select all unwatched or make another selection. S (Image credit: iMore)
  1. If selected shows were chosen, check the boxes next to the shows you want to sync.
  2. Click Apply.
  3. Click Sync to sync TV shows between your Mac and mobile device.

To sync TV shows between your iPhone or iPad, check the boxes next to shows to sync, if applicable. Click Apple, then click Sync. (Image credit: iMore)

How to sync podcasts to your iPhone or iPad

  1. Click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock.
  2. Select your device on the left side of the screen under Devices.
  3. Click on the Podcasts tab on the right-hand side.

To sync podcasts between your iPhone or iPad, click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock. Choose your device on the left side of the screen under Devices. On the right-hand side, clock on the Podcasts ta (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Check the box Sync Podcasts onto your device to activate podcast syncing.
  2. Check the box to Automatically copy.
  3. In the pull-down menu, select all unplayed or make another choice from those listed.
  4. In the next pull-down menu, select all podcasts or selected shows.

To sync podcasts to your iPhone or iPad, check the box Sync Podcasts onto your device, then check the box Automatically copy. Choose All-Played from the pull-down menu or make another choose. In next (Image credit: iMore)
  1. If podcasts were chosen, check the boxes next to the podcasts you want to sync.
  2. Click Apply.
  3. Click Sync to sync podcasts between your Mac and mobile device.

To sync podcasts to your iPhone or iPad, check the boxes next to the podcast you want to sync, if applicable. Click Apple, then click Sync (Image credit: iMore)

How to sync audiobooks to your iPhone or iPad

  1. Click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock.
  2. Select your device on the left side of the screen under Devices.
  3. Click on the Audiobooks tab on the right-hand side.

To sync audiobooks between your iPhone or iPad, click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock. Choose your device on the left side of the screen under Devices. On the right-hand side, clock on the Audiobook (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Check the box Sync Audiobooks onto your device to activate audiobooks syncing.
  2. Check to sync All audiobooks or Selected audiobooks.
  3. Select your audiobooks to sync, when applicable.

To sync audiobooks between your iPhone or iPad, click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock. Choose your device on the left side of the screen under Devices. On the right-hand side, clock on the Audiobook (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click Apply.
  2. Click Sync to sync audiobooks between your Mac and mobile device.

To sync audiobooks to your iPhone or iPad, check the box Sync Audiobooks onto your device. Check to sync All Audiobooks or Selected Audiobooks. Select the audiobooks to sync. (Image credit: iMore)

How to sync books to your iPhone or iPad

  1. Click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock.
  2. Select your device on the left side of the screen under Devices.
  3. Click on the Books tab on the right-hand side.

To sync books between your iPhone or iPad, click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock. Choose your device on the left side of the screen under Devices. On the right-hand side, clock on the Books tab. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Check the box Sync Books onto your device to activate books syncing.
  2. Check to sync All books or Selected books.

To sync books to your iPhone or iPad, check the box Sync Books onto your device, then check to sync All books or Selected books.

To sync books to your iPhone or iPad, check the box Sync Books onto your device, then check to sync All books or Selected books. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Select your books to sync, when applicable.
  2. Click Apply.
  3. Click Sync to sync audiobooks between your Mac and mobile device.

To sync books to your iPhone or iPad, select your books to sync, if applicable, click Apply, then click Sync

To sync books to your iPhone or iPad, select your books to sync, if applicable, click Apply, then click Sync (Image credit: iMore)

How to sync photos to your iPhone or iPad

If you're using the iCloud Photo Library sync on your iPhone or iPad, you cannot sync photos using your Mac.

  1. Click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock.
  2. Select your device on the left side of the screen under Devices.
  3. Click on the Photos tab on the right-hand side.

To sync photos between your iPhone or iPad, click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock. Choose your device on the left side of the screen under Devices. On the right-hand side, clock on the Photos tab. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Determine the files to sync.

How to sync files to your iPhone or iPad

  1. Click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock.
  2. Select your device on the left side of the screen under Devices.
  3. Click on the Files tab on the right-hand side.

To sync files between your iPhone or iPad, click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock. Choose your device on the left side of the screen under Devices. On the right-hand side, clock on the Files tab. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click the files you wish to sync using the pull-down menus for each applicable app.
  2. Select Apply.
  3. Click Sync to sync your Mac and mobile device files.

To sync files to your iPhone or iPad, click the files you wish to sync, then select Apple, then Sync. (Image credit: iMore)

How to backup your iPhone or iPad

You can manually backup your iPhone or iPad on your Mac:

  1. Click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock.
  2. Select your device on the left side of the screen under Devices.
  3. Click on the General tab on the right-hand side.
  4. Click Back-Up Now next to the Backup and Restore section.

To backup your iPhone or iPad, click the finder app in the Mac Dock, then choose your devices on the left side under Devices. Choose the General tab on the right side. Click Back Up Now. (Image credit: iMore)

How to restore your iPhone or iPad

You can manually restore your iPhone or iPad on your Mac:

  1. Click on the Finder app in the Mac Dock.
  2. Select your device on the left side of the screen under Devices.
  3. Click on the General tab on the right-hand side.
  4. Click Restore Backup next to the Backup and Restore section.If you haven't yet backed up an iPhone or iPad on your Mac, the Restore Backup option will be grayed out.

To restore your iPhone or iPad, click the finder app in the Mac Dock, then choose your devices on the left side under Devices. Choose the General tab on the right side. Click Restore Backup Now. (Image credit: iMore)

Much you can still do

Yes, iTunes is no longer a part of Mac and macOS. And yet, the things you could do with iTunes remain; there are just different steps you need to follow. Happy syncing!

Updated May 2022: Updated for macOS Monterey.