Music syncing issues because of Apple Music

Way back in the using iTunes with an iPod with a spinning hard drive, I imported a decent number of CDs into iTunes. That library has followed me now for almost 20 years and I still sometimes use them to listen to. That worked fine for many years.

But now, I’m upgrading my new phone 13 Mini for the first time with a Mac on Monterey and I discovered that my 2020 iPhone SE (which I set up with a pre-Catalina 2013 Macbook Air) has the music library, but it didn’t import through the finder backup to my newer M1 Macbook Air. Thus, my new phone has NO music showing in the library other than the one U2 album Apple gives everyone.

When I look online it looks like Apple deliberately disabled this method of importing on Catalina when it rolled out Apple Music. Googling is yielding a bunch of websites that “claim” they have simple software to allow you to do the old-fashioned sync so I can migrate library onto the Mac (and then onto new iPhone), but I’m suspicious as they are all developers and sites I have never heard of.

Has anyone successfully done this? I don’t want to lose my music library!!!


Questions. So many questions. Is your music library from all those CDs on your Mac? Is it playable from the Mac? Does your music library exist on backup media of your Mac? Don’t know if this matters, but do you pay for Apple Music? Or iTunes Match? Is iCloud Music Library enabled in Apple Music?

Do you ever plug your phone into your Mac and tell it to sync music from your Mac to your phone?

It’s on the old Macbook Air, but it turns out not on the new one. I assume it still works on the old one, but it has been a few months since I fired that up. I don’t pay for Apple Music or iTunes match.

With Catalina/Monterrey the syc on ripped CDs won’t allow you to import from the phone to the Mac and I’m apprehensive that if I hit sync the empty music library on the Mac will overwrite the library on the phone.

The phone is satellite to your Mac. As far as Apple is concerned music sync is one way only from Mac to phone.

A few on this forum have spoken up for apps like iMazing which apparently can move music from iPhone to Mac. But I’ve never used anything like that.

Your music should be on your Mac and backed up from there! Then it would be an easy matter to sync it to your phone.


I’ve never used iMazing to move music (I have none on my devices) but I have moved photos, exported attachments from Notes, etc. The way this app works it creates a backup of your iPhone/iPad then extracts the information from the backup.

But if your music is on your old Mac that would be the easiest / least expensive way to retrieve your music. Attach a usb drive and drag it over. Good luck

I’ve stayed away from iMazing because it has always sounded a little sketchy to me. But your explanation of how it works makes it sound like a pretty straight-forward utility.

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You will need to open Finder on your old Mac and open the Music folder, then copy the iTunes folder inside it to an external HD. Then you can copy that folder into your new Mac in the same location. Hold down Option when launching Music and choose the iTunes folder. Give it time to sync up and then connect your phone. This “should work” for your needs.

Apple has never allowed music files you “ripped” to just transfer over. Purchased music would just require you to download it again. 3rd party programs like iMazing or Senuti are fantastic for recovering music when the original files are no longer available.