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

The Finder is one of the ways that you can sync your device with your Mac.

If your Mac is using macOS Catalina or later, you can use the Finder on your Mac to sync content between your Mac and your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. The experience is similar to using iTunes to sync in earlier versions of macOS.

Content that you can sync includes music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, audiobooks, books, photos, contacts, and calendars.

Instead of using the Finder, you can use iCloud Photos, Apple Music, and similar services to keep content from your Mac in the cloud and available to all your devices—even when they aren't near your Mac. To keep Messages, Mail, and Notes up to date across devices, you can set up iCloud for Messages, iCloud Mail, and iCloud for Notes.

Sync or remove content using the Finder

  1. Use a USB cable to connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your Mac.

  2. On your Mac, click the Finder icon in the Dock to open a window in the Finder.

  3. Select your device from the list in the sidebar of the window. Don't see your device?

  4. On the right side of the window, use the row of buttons below the name of your device to select the type of content to sync, such as Music or Photos. Then select the Sync checkbox for that content. In the example pictured, “Sync music onto John's iPhone” turns on music syncing. After you turn on syncing, more syncing options become available.

  5. Click the Apply button in the lower-right corner of the window. If syncing doesn't start automatically, click the Sync button. You might then be asked to authorize your computer.

Sync over Wi-Fi instead of USB

When your device is connected to your Mac via USB, you can set up your Mac so that in the future it syncs over Wi-Fi instead.

  1. Select your device in the sidebar of the Finder window, then click General on the right.

  2. Scroll down and select “Show this [device] when on Wi-Fi.”

  3. Click Apply.

You can now unplug your device from your Mac. When your Mac and device are on the same Wi-Fi network, your device appears in the Finder sidebar, and it syncs automatically over Wi-Fi whenever it's plugged in to power.

If you need help

  • If you see a message that your device is synced with another library, your device was previously connected to another computer. Your device can sync with only one Apple Music or Apple TV library at a time. 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 Mac.

  • If you see an error code when syncing, learn about iTunes or Finder error codes.

Learn more

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