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iOS: Syncing your data with iTunes

Learn how to sync the data on your iOS device with iTunes on your computer using USB or Wi-Fi.

Note: You can also manage your content with iCloud.

Set up syncing

Before you set up syncing, install the latest version of iTunes. To use Wi-Fi syncing, you need these:

  • iTunes 10.5 or later
  • iOS 5 or later

Each time you sync, your content updates between your iOS device and computer to show new, updated, or deleted content. You can change your sync options at any time.

Sync using USB

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Connect the iOS device to your computer using the included USB cable.
  3. Click the Device button in the upper-right corner. (If viewing the iTunes Store, click the Library button first.) If you don't see your device, you may need to hide the sidebar. Choose View > Hide Sidebar.
    iTunes showing the Device button
    Some tabs may not appear if you don't have the corresponding content in your library. For example, if you don't have any podcasts in your library, the Podcast tab won't appear.
    Tabs in iTunes
  4. Click Apply, in the lower-right corner of the screen, to sync.

Sync using Wi-Fi

  1. Open iTunes
  2. To set up Wi-Fi syncing, connect your iOS device to your computer with the included USB cable.
  3. Click the Device button in the upper-right corner. (If viewing the iTunes Store, click the Library button first.) If you don't see your device, choose View > Hide Sidebar.
  4. In the Summary tab, select "Sync with this [device] over Wi-Fi."
    iTunes device screen
  5. When the computer and the iOS device are on the same network, the iOS device will appear in iTunes, and you can sync it. The iOS device will sync automatically when the following conditions are true:
    • The iOS device is charging.
    • iTunes is open on the computer.
    • The iOS device and the computer are on the same Wi-Fi network.
  6. While the iOS device is in the left-hand column of iTunes, you can select the content tabs and configure sync options.
  7. Click Apply or Sync to sync the iOS device.

If the iOS device doesn't appear in the Devices section or you can't sync, please try these steps.

What you can sync

  • Applications
  • Audio content (music, podcasts, audiobooks, and iTunes U content)
  • Bookmarks1
  • Books
  • Contacts2
  • Calendars2
  • Movies and TV shows
  • Photos
  • Notes3
  • Documents (File Sharing apps only)
  • Ringtones
  1. If you're using OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later, use iCloud or another cloud-based service to sync this content.
  2. If you're using OS X Mavericks v10.9 through v10.9.2, use iCloud or another cloud-based service to sync this content.
  3. If you're using OS X Mountain Lion v10.8 or later, use iCloud or another IMAP account to sync this content.
Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Jul 10, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Jul 10, 2014
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