Why is all my iTunes music not on my phone?

If you have a large iTunes library, you may find that not all of your music transfers over when you sync your iPhone. There are a few common reasons why this happens:

My iPhone doesn’t have enough storage space

The most likely reason your iPhone doesn’t have all your iTunes music is because your iPhone is full. Here are some quick answers to common questions about iPhone storage:

How much storage does my iPhone have?

The amount of storage depends on which iPhone model you have. Current iPhone models range from 64GB on the low end (iPhone SE) up to 1TB on high-end models (iPhone 13 Pro).

How do I check how much free space I have left?

To check your free space, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. This will show you how much total capacity you have and how much space is still free.

How much space does music take up?

On average, one song takes up 3-5MB of space. So a library of 1,000 songs would take up 3-5GB. If you have a large music library, it’s easy to fill up even a 128GB iPhone.

What happens if I don’t have enough free space?

If your iPhone storage is full, iTunes will only transfer as much music as will fit. So you may see only a partial selection of your library on your phone.

I don’t have “Sync Music” turned on

In order for your iPhone to get music, photos, or other content from iTunes, you need to have syncing enabled. Here’s how to check if “Sync Music” is turned on:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes.
  2. Select your iPhone icon in the top left corner.
  3. Go to the Music section of the sync page.
  4. Make sure the “Sync Music” checkbox is turned on. If not, check the box.
  5. Select “Selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres” if you only want to sync a portion of your library.

My sync settings are misconfigured

If syncing is turned on but your music still isn’t transferring, the problem may be your sync settings. Here are some things to check:

Make sure “Entire music library” is selected

If you only want certain playlists or genres to sync, you may be missing large portions of your library. Choose “Entire music library” to get everything.

Check that your sync preferences haven’t changed

Open the Music section on your iPhone’s sync page and make sure your selections haven’t changed. For example, make sure playlists you want to sync are still checked.

Try changing from “Selected playlists” to “All songs”

If you previously had “Selected playlists” choose “All songs and playlists” instead. This will ignore any selective syncs you had before.

My music files are corrupted

On rare occasions, corruption in your music files or iTunes library can prevent songs from syncing properly. Here are some signs of corruption and how to fix it:

Songs skip, play incorrectly, or won’t play

If you’re having playback issues, the files may be corrupted. Try deleting the affected songs and re-adding them to your library.

iTunes gives sync errors

If iTunes produces sync errors or doesn’t finish syncing, corruption could be preventing songs from transferring. Resetting your iPhone may resolve this.

Album artwork is missing

If album covers don’t sync over, the artwork files may be corrupted. Re-add images to your library to restore them.

My iPhone is incompatible with my iTunes library

If you have very old music files, they may not be compatible with newer iPhone models. Likewise, newer purchased music may not work on older iPhones. Here are some compatibility issues that can prevent transferring:

DRM-protected music from CDs won’t sync

Music ripped from CDs is DRM-protected. This can prevent it from syncing to newer iPhones. You may need to remove the DRM first.

Very old iTunes music won’t play

Music purchased long ago may not be supported by newer iPhones. Try upgrading the files to a newer format.

Apple Music or iTunes Match songs won’t download

If you have an older iOS version, it may not support newer Apple Music or iTunes Match features for downloading songs. Update your iPhone to the newest iOS.

There’s a temporary glitch or connection issue

Sometimes syncing fails for simple technical reasons. Here are some things to try in that case:

Restart your iPhone and computer

Restarting can clear up a temporary software glitch that’s preventing syncing.

Use a different USB port or cable

A bad USB connection could disrupt syncing. Change cables or ports to establish a good connection.

Update iTunes and iOS to the latest versions

Having outdated software can cause compatibility issues. Update iTunes on your computer and iOS on your iPhone.

Disable and re-enable iTunes Match

If you use iTunes Match, toggling the feature off and then on again can help clear up issues.

My music is there, but won’t play

Sometimes iTunes music will transfer to your iPhone successfully, but won’t play correctly. Typically this points to a media file issue:

Corrupted or missing music files

Damaged or missing files may show up in your library but fail to play. Delete and re-add affected songs.

Incompatible file formats

Extremely old lossless files or other formats may not play on iPhones. Convert them to AAC or MP3 instead.

DRM issues

DRM from CD rips or old iTunes downloads can cause rights issues. Removing DRM may help.

My music disappeared from my iPhone

If your iPhone had your iTunes music on it, but now it’s gone, a few things could have happened:

Your music was deleted

Check your Recently Deleted folder for missing music. If not there, it was likely erased.

Your iPhone was restored from a backup

Restoring from an old backup can revert music to a previous state. Sync again to get missing tracks back.

iCloud Music Library removed downloads

Turning on iCloud Music Library deletes local music. Re-download to get music back.

How to prevent iTunes music from disappearing from iPhone

Once you get your iTunes music synced properly, here are some tips to keep it on your iPhone:

Manage your iPhone storage

Delete old photos and apps to free up room for more music. Optimize storage with smaller file sizes.

Disable “Sync Music” before resets

Unchecking “Sync Music” first prevents existing music from being wiped during backups or restores.

Select “Manually manage music” in iTunes

Choosing to manually manage prevents accidental syncing changes. Music will only transfer when you manually add it.

Set iTunes to only sync checked items

Checking this option prevents entire libraries from overwriting your iPhone if sync settings change.


If your iTunes music collection isn’t fully transferring to your iPhone, there are a few common culprits to blame. Storage limitations, incorrect sync settings, software glitches, and compatibility issues are the most likely reasons your iPhone music is missing.

Carefully check your iPhone storage, sync preferences, iOS, and iTunes versions to make sure everything is configured correctly. Eliminate any file corruption or DRM issues. And rule out temporary technical problems by restarting, changing connections, and updating software.

With some diligent troubleshooting and prudent sync settings, you can get your entire iTunes library reliably loading onto your iPhone.

Reason Solution
Not enough iPhone storage Delete content to free up space
Sync Music setting disabled Enable Sync Music in iTunes
Sync misconfigured Review and update sync settings
Corrupted music files Delete and re-add corrupt files
iPhone/iTunes compatibility issues Update iOS and iTunes versions
Temporary glitch Reboot devices and update software