How To: Put Music on Your iPhone Without Using iTunes

Put Music on Your iPhone Without Using iTunes

There are quite a few flaws with Apple's mobile products, and one that drives me crazy is their reliance upon iTunes for all your music syncing needs. If you want a song on your iPhone, you pretty much have to use iTunes to get it on there. Either that or buy it directly from the iTunes app on your device.

Now, don't get me wrong, iTunes is a good way to buy and organize your music library, but sometimes you just don't want to be locked down like that. So what are the alternatives? You'll probably be surprised, but there's actually more than one way to put music on your iPhone without using iTunes!

Option 1: Cloud Services

There are some free, big-name cloud services that will let you upload your music collection to play on your iPhone, on or offline, and I'll be covering three of them below before we get to other options.

Google Play Music

One of the best cloud-based music streaming apps is Google Play Music, which allows users to upload up to 50,000 of their own songs for free. Without ever paying a dime, you can upload your music to the cloud, listen to it on any device, and even stream Google's entire music library if you're willing to put up with a few ads.

Google Play Music's desktop player.

Adding your music library to Google Play is incredibly easy, though you'll need a computer to handle the initial upload. For more information on this part of the process, make sure to visit our full guide below:

In addition to serving as an online home for your music library, Google Play Music is a music store in the same vein as iTunes. When you purchase songs or albums through the Google Play Music app, they'll immediately be added to your library, which then allows you to save a copy of the MP3 to your phone or computer.

Beyond just streaming your own music, Google Play Music offers an optional subscription service called All Access that lets you stream Google's entire music library for free and without ads. The service costs $9.99/month for an individual account, but the $14.99 family plan can be split six ways to save some serious cash. On top of that, All Access comes with the ad-free YouTube service, YouTube Red, so Google Play Music is a great option here.

Amazon Music

If you're not a Google person, Amazon also has a cloud music service that works with your iPhone called Amazon Music. However, unlike Google's offer for 50,000 songs, Amazon only allows a measly 250 songs from your own music collection to be uploaded to the cloud (Note: MP3s purchased from Amazon don't count against your cap). Beyond that, you can either pay $24.99 per year to store up to 250,000 of your own songs, or you can use your Amazon Prime membership to get access to over a million streaming songs with Amazon Prime Music.

The Amazon Music app for iPhone. Images by iTunes/Apple

One major drawback is that if you want to purchase any music, you have to visit visit Amazon's website using the Safari web browser. You cannot purchase MP3s via the Cloud Player app. But on Amazon's website, you can browse the ample library of over 20 million songs and albums.

Once imported or downloaded, your songs are immediately uploaded to the Amazon cloud, where they can then be played via the Amazon Cloud Player app, and they work offline as well.

You can get the full rundown on features and pricing here. Now, all you need to do is sign in to your Amazon account to get started.


If you store your music collection on Dropbox, you don't need any other apps to play the files — just log in to your Dropbox account, and select whatever song you wish to hear. The song will automatically play in the web browser, and even give you a nice dark playback screen to help save battery.

You can also leave the browser and open other apps or navigate to anywhere on the device and the music won't stop playing! (I'm looking at you, YouTube.) If you don't want to use your browser, you can download the free Dropbox app and play your music there, too. It's a little smoother than using the browser and also continues playback when you leave the app.

Another nice feature is the ability to "star" songs or groups of songs for offline play. Dropbox is a super easy way to get new songs onto your iPhone and play them anywhere, anytime. If only you could create playlists, I may never need another music player again.

Option 2: iTunes Alternatives

Don't want to use any of the big services? Here are a few programs you can use in place of iTunes to transfer music from your computer to your iPhone.

CopyTrans Manager for Windows

If you're a Windows user, there's a free program called CopyTrans Manager that can fully replace iTunes and relieves you of some of its common annoyances. The freeware allows for on-the-go edits, drag-and-drop additions to your library, and can be copied to a flash drive for management on multiple PCs.

CopyTrans Manager also transfers your iTunes library to its own music player. This is great for people who already have a bunch of music on iTunes and are afraid of losing those songs by using another service.

Media Monkey for Windows

Media Monkey is another free media player for Windows computers. Once installed, Media Monkey will scan your computer for audio files and automatically add them to the library. You can also sync your iPhone to Media Monkey and avoid iTunes altogether. The program utilizes add-ons and has a bunch of customizable skins and features.

You can download the free version or opt for the Gold edition, which runs for $24.95. The Gold edition includes a few extras like the automatic library organizer and faster CD burning speeds. If you don't want to buy Gold outright, you can also get a free copy by completing an offer with one of Media Monkey's partners (Apple, Gamefly, GAP).

Media Monkey only recently added compatibility with Apple products, but it's got all the features of iTunes and more. Check their list to see if your device is compatible.

Option 3: Cydia Tweaks for Jailbroken iPhones

If your iPhone is jailbroken, you can use Cydia tweaks to import music directly onto your device. Unfortunately, most of these tweaks have become outdated recently, so we only have one left to recommend at this time. There is currently no working jailbreak method for iOS 10.3.x versions, but if you're still running iOS 10.2 or lower, you can use this guide to get started:


Bridge is an awesome Cydia application that allows you to import music and videos to your media library right from your phone. No need to plug into a computer or sync with iTunes.

Any media file that you have on your iPhone can be imported into your media library. If friends send you songs via email or if you download some music from Dropbox, you can use Bridge to add them to your iPhone's music library in seconds.

Image by Cydia/

Bridge is available for $1.99 from the BigBoss Repo, and is compatible with all iOS devices — even those running iOS 10.2.

Option 4: Streaming Radio

Of course, one of the most convenient ways to "add" music to your phone is via a streaming music player. Pandora, TuneinRadio, Rdio, and Spotify are a few popular music apps that let you stream music on your iPhone.

Just sign up for any of these free services and begin listening to new music instantly. The free versions of most of these applications do come with intermittent ads, but they can be removed with a paid app upgrade or monthly subscription.

And don't forget about YouTube, either. The app and the website are both pretty good for finding new, old, and hard to find music and playing it wherever and whenever you want. You may not be able to store those songs on your iPhone, but you do have access to a seemingly unlimited media library on the go.

Know any other ways to download or transfer music to your iPhone without iTunes? Have you tried any of these apps or programs already? Let us know in the comments section below.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover image and screenshots by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks


It's ridiculous how complicated an iPhone actually is. To transfer a few albums I got my girl on my laptop I need to do freaking research since it's not a built in capability like it is for Windows and Android phones, where you can merely drag and drop/cop and paste files. With the latest update I couldn't transfer a song for her using Media Monkey. Maybe she'll finally move away from Apple.

After Read this article of Install Mp3 on Iphone is very good because recently i buy Iphone 4s but i don't know how to install Mp3 File so thank you for sharing useful information and i will share this idea with my friend

The post should be updated accordingly as some of the programs were discontinued for years.

I don't think Dropbox should be listed here. It literally just opens mp3 files. You cannot use this app exclusively for listening to music. Moreover, when you turn off the screen, it also stops the music automatically.

In accordance to this article, if you use the Dropbox app (not the browser version) music should continue playing even when you leave the app. Don't know if the screen is turned off.

I would recommend to give a shot to MP3 Hunter for iPhone – The app gives access only to music released under Creative Commons music (not popular songs), but there is a lot of pretty good songs there still. And you can actually download MP3 music on iPhone and share it with your friends (or yourself) via email.

It's too complicated for a new user like me.

But I googled and found AirMore, free yet easy-to-use, and I can import or export music and other files on my iPhone.

Not a bad choice.

Good app. I have used it for a long time:)

I actually bought and iPhone last week and once it was delivered and I started using it I figured out quickly how difficult it was going to be to transition from using an Android to the iPhone. I use go seek to download music and Poweramp as my media player. Needless to say I just packed up that iPhone and I'm shipping it back today. I started transferring the music back to my laptop and then importing it in the iTunes and then syncing my phone to the laptop. Hell no that's just too much damn work. I'm used to downloading music and it just being already there ready to play once it's downloaded.

You had to be crazy to switch from Android to iOS.

YouTube didn't give me the Shortcuts option either so I did it with Safari. All good until I tapped Download Youtube on the Run Shortcuts screen. A box popped up with Get Contents of URL. I tapped Done and another box appeared with Failed to convert. Very frustrating. I'm close to giving up.

I just want to buy a tablet that lets me use it in the way I need to use it, not in the way some evil, vile, Marxist CEO like Tim Cook wants to force me to use it. Fie on Tim Cook! Evil SOB.

Do any American companies make tablets that I can use to download music when I am outside and not anywhere near my PC? I'm usually just downloading backing tracks for practice but this evil SOB, this communist murder, Tim Cook, forces me to have to come inside and use my computer to use a file I may only need 20 times.

Apple must be destroyed.

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