Use the Finder to sync your iPhone, iPad or iPod with your computer

Starting with macOS Catalina, the Finder has replaced iTunes as one of the ways to sync your device with your Mac.

The Finder is a macOS feature for browsing and accessing content on your computer. If you update to macOS Catalina or later, you can use the Finder to sync content between your Mac and your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The experience is similar to using iTunes.

Instead of the Finder, you can also use iCloud and Apple Music or similar services to keep content from your Mac or PC in the cloud. You can then access your music, photos and more on your devices when you're not near your Mac. If you do that, some of the Finder syncing features described below may be turned off.

If you use iCloud or other services like Apple Music to keep your content up to date across all of your devices, some syncing features through the Finder may be turned off.

What you can sync with the Finder

  • Albums, songs, playlists, films, TV shows, podcasts, books and audiobooks.
  • Photos and videos.
  • Contacts and calendars.

Find out how to use iCloud to sync content from Messages, Mail and Notes.

Sync or remove content using the Finder

  1. Open a Finder window and connect your device to your computer using a USB cable. Find out what to do if you can't see your device listed in the Finder.
  2. After your device has appeared in the sidebar of the Finder window, click the device to select it.
  3. If prompted, trust your device. You may be asked to update to the latest version of iOS or iPadOS.
  4. Select the type of content that you want to sync or remove from the horizontal list. To turn syncing on for a content type, tick the box next to "Sync [content] onto [user's] iPhone". More syncing options will now be available.
  5. Select the tick box next to each item that you want to sync.
    A Finder window shows the options for syncing music with a connected iPhone
  6. Click the Apply button in the bottom right-hand corner of the window. If syncing doesn't start automatically, click the Sync button. You may also be prompted to authorise your computer to complete the sync.

* You can only sync your device with one Apple Music or Apple TV library at a time. If you see a message saying that your device is synced with another Apple Music or Apple TV library, then your device was previously connected to another computer. If you click "Erase and Sync" in that message, all content of the selected type on your device will be erased and replaced with content from this computer.

Sync your content using Wi-Fi

After you've set up syncing with the Finder using USB, you can set up the Finder to sync to your device with Wi-Fi instead of USB.

  1. Connect your device to your computer with a USB cable, then open a Finder window and select your device.
  2. Select "Show this [device] when on Wi-Fi".
  3. Click Apply.

When the computer and the device are on the same Wi-Fi network, the device appears in the Finder. The device syncs automatically whenever it's plugged in to power.


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