Sync iPhone with PC or Mac: via iTunes, iCloud, Finder

Sync iPhone with PC or Mac: via iTunes, iCloud, Finder

It can be very convenient to have your devices connected and access your iPhone files and data on your Windows or Mac computer. You can do so using a data cable or over a Wi-Fi network. In this article we will show you multiple ways to sync your iPhone with your PC or Mac and what kind of content each tool provides.

How to sync your iPhone with your computer using iCloud?

It's now convenient and easy to sync information on your iPhone via iCloud. This is done automatically and only requires a Wi-Fi connection. It also updates your mobile content on all your devices, so you can access it from any web browser. To set it up on your iPhone, follow these steps:

  • First, make sure you have the latest iOS update on your iPhone. To check for the latest iOS updates go to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • At the top of Settings, sign in with your Apple ID and password. Following this, iCloud will be activated.
  • To decide which items to sync, tap Settings > [your name] > iCloud and manually flip the switch for each item you want to sync. You can choose from photos, emails in the Mail or Email app on your iPhone, contacts, calendars, reminders, notes, iMessage messages, your iCloud storage cloud, and other iOS and third-party apps.
  • You can now access your items from any PC web browser at any time you want by signing in to iCloud with your Apple ID. Icons for apps on your iPhone appear on your Home screen:
  • If you're a Mac user, you'll have access to the same information from your computer when you sign in with your Apple ID.
  • If you're a Windows user, you can also find this information through the iCloud app, which you can download from the Microsoft App Store. An iCloud Drive folder will be created to access all files in your Apple cloud from within Windows Explorer.

How to perform local sync?

Via iTunes

iTunes is a tool that is available to both Windows and Mojave MacOS users. If you sync your iPhone using iCloud, there will be some items such as photos, videos, contacts, and calendars that you won't be able to sync with iTunes on your computer. To sync them using iTunes, you need to disable them on your iPhone by selecting Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud and tapping the appropriate switch.

Sync with your computer as follows:

  • Download iTunes and install the application if you're a Windows user.
  • Open the app and connect your iPhone via USB cable. If you're connecting for the first time, you'll probably need to enter a code and indicate that it's a trusted computer.
  • Click on the iPhone icon at the top left corner of the window.
  • Navigate through each option on the left-hand side list to select the content you want to sync by checking the appropriate checkbox: music (songs, albums, playlists, music videos, voice notes), movies, TV shows, podcasts, audiobooks, photos, videos, contacts and calendars, bookmarks or favorites (Info tab), and files from your applications.
itunes local sync
© iTunes
  • Click Apply in the lower-right corner and wait until the syncing has been completed.
  • To sync your iPhone to your computer via Wi-Fi, go to the Summary tab and under Options, select Sync with this iPhone via Wi-Fi.

Note: the iPhone is designed to sync with one computer only using the iTunes app. If you sync your phone to another computer, the music, movies, TV shows, and books on your phone will be deleted and replaced by those in the new iTunes library. 

Via Finder (for Mac)

Starting with Catalina macOS, iTunes disappears and syncs your iPhone with your Mac through Finder. The interface and process is similar to syncing via iTunes:

  • First, connect your iPhone using the data cable and open Finder on your computer.
  • Your iPhone will appear in the left sidebar of Finder, under the Locations section. Select your device by clicking on it, and then your mobile information appears as it appeared in iTunes, with the ability to back up, restore, and sync music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, audiobooks, books, photos, videos, files from your applications, calendars, and contacts (Information tab).
  • To sync wirelessly later, go to the General tab and select Show this iPhone when on Wi-Fi at the bottom and click Apply.
finder sync iphone with mac
© iTunes
  • By clicking on the menu tabs at the top of the window, you can decide what content you want to sync by selecting the appropriate checkbox, as in the example in the Music section.
  • When you're done browsing each tab, finish by clicking Sync located at the bottom. This sync may take a little longer, depending on the number of files selected.

How to re-synchronize your contacts?

From iCloud

If you've synced your contacts with iCloud, you can retrieve your deleted contacts and move them to a new iPhone. Follow these steps:

  • Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Copy to iCloud and turn the option to On.
  • Next, you can set up your iPhone using your Apple ID and selecting Restore from Backup.
  • Select the most recent backup and wait while the transfer takes place.
  • Alternatively, you can enable the option to sync contacts under Settings > [your name] > iCloud on a new iPhone. Then go to iCloud Backup and tap Back Up.
  • If you're looking for a specific contact or want to access them separately, you can visit the iCloud website with your Apple account. Under the Contacts icon, you'll find the entire list.

From iTunes

If you previously synced your contacts in iTunes, you can retrieve them using these steps:

  • Connect your iPhone and in the program, go to the Info tab and enable the Sync Contacts option.
  • Then scroll down to the Advanced<bold> tab and check the <bold>Contacts<bold> box.
  • Click <bold>Apply or Sync, and you're done!
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