How to Manually Sync Your iPhone X

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

Automatic syncing is great; it selects items on your iPhone X to sync based on criteria you’ve specified, such as genre, artist, playlist, and album. But it’s not efficient for transferring a few items — songs, movies, podcasts, or other files — to your iPhone.

The solution? Manual syncing. With automatic syncing, iTunes updates your iPhone automatically to match your criteria. Changes to your iTunes library since your last sync are synced automatically to your iPhone. With manual syncing, you merely drag individual items to your iPhone.

Automatic and manual sync aren’t mutually exclusive. If you’ve set up automatic syncing, you can still sync individual items manually.

You can manually sync music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and iTunes U lessons but not photos and info such as contacts, calendars, and bookmarks.

Use the On My Device section in the sidebar (if the sidebar isn’t displayed, choose View → Show Sidebar) to see which songs, movies, TV shows, and other media are already on your device.

To configure your iPhone for manual syncing:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer via USB or Wi-Fi.

    If iTunes doesn’t open automatically, open it manually.

  2. Click the iPhone icon to the right of the media kind drop-down menu.

    If you have more than one iDevice, the iPhone icon becomes a drop-down menu listing all your connected iDevices. Click the icon to display the menu with your devices, and then select the device you want.

  3. If you want to disable automatic syncing for music and videos, click the Summary tab. In the Options section, select Manually Manage Music and Videos.

    If you’re happy with automatic syncing and just want to get some audio or video from your computer to your iPhone, feel free to skip this step.

To add items from iTunes to your iPhone without using the syncing controls or performing an actual sync, first choose the type of media you want to copy to your iPhone from the media kind drop-down menu near the upper-left corner — music, movies, or TV shows — or click the ellipsis (…) to select podcasts, iTunes U, audiobooks, or tones. Then start dragging the media to the left. As you do, a new pane appears on the left side of the iTunes window. Drag the media to this pane and the media will be copied to your iPhone immediately.

You can easily drag media from the other items in the menu: Song List, Artists, Genres, or Composers. And you can add other types of content, such as movies, TV shows, podcasts, and books. Just select them from the media kind drop-down menu near the upper-left corner of the iTunes window.

And that’s pretty much all you need to know to sync files automatically or manually.