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How-To: Sync music and videos from your computer (aka iTunes)

Lets face it: syncing your music and videos in Android is nowhere near as simple as with certain "i"-named devices. However, many of you (myself included) may use iTunes to manage and purchase your music and podcasts. There are a couple great solutions to get your media from your computer to your phone with playlists intact. Keep in mind that any DRMed music will not work on your Android phone. Apple switched over to DRM-free music awhile back, so it is likely only much older songs will have that issue. There are some ways to remove DRM from song files, but I will not go into it here (feel free to Google search for a way to do it, though). Join me past the break for all the hot syncin' action.

 So, let's take a look at three of the more popular solutions:

  • DoubleTwist - A popular and elegant desktop application along with an optional custom player available on the Market. The desktop client has both Mac and Windows versions and allows full syncing in addition to limited browsing of podcasts, music from Amazon's MP3 Store, and Android apps. Download the dektop client here. Free.
  • iSyncr - iSyncr has gained popularity for not requiring a desktop client to work and being simple and easy to use. When running, you can select playlists that will be synced and iSyncr does its thing. Search on the Market or get iSyncr from AppBrian : Mac / Windows. $2.99. Step-by-step tutorial here.
  • TuneSync - While the other two require a USB connection, TuneSync will work over your home Wi-Fi connection. The app requires a simple server be installed on your computer (Mac or Windows) but should work automatically after that. The app also allows you to start a sync manually. Some bugs have been reported, so try the free version and remember : YMMV. Get it from the Market or AppBrainDownload the desktop client here. Free (limited number of songs per playlist) and paid ($4.99) versions.

As a final note, to get podcasts to sync properly from iTunes you may have to create a Smart Playlist for them. This can be done by creating a new Smart Playlist and then having it go by the following rule: (Media Kind) (is) (Podcast). Make sure you enable Live Updating. You can then name it something, I went with "Podcasts," and then sync and access it like any other playlist you have for music. To sync videos, just put whatever movies or shows you want into a playlist titled something like "videos" and you should be golden. Or, to make syncing much quicker, you could always just use the tried-and-true "drag and drop" method onto your microSD card.

Considering all three options are free or have free versions, you may want to try each out to see what works best for you before settling on a single product. I personally use DoubleTwist, but you may be looking for something a bit different. The beauty of Android is that there are many options available and you don't have to go with a one-size-fits-all solution. Happy syncing! 

  • Its nowhere near as simple as syncing an iPhone??? I plug my Incredible in via USB, drag the files I want over to the new drive that has mounted and unplug it. Even when I've had devices with syncing software I've always felt like....whats the purpose...its just file copying.
  • This may work well for a few dinky 'tunes'. But I have a music library and also too much music for my device. I used to love syncing a selection of newly acquired music as well as a random selection of my favorite artists up to a certain capacity. Na, iTunes on my iPhone was wonderful. There is nothing out there for Android that compares. However, I do like Subsonic these days. What it lacks it makes up in other features.
  • I had a lot of trouble syncing my phone and wanted my iPod back until iSyncR showed up in the market. Actually like tunesync it can also do wireless sync. It's a $0.99 addon which brings its total price to $3.98, which isn't much at all imo for its functionality. I never had enough space even on my ipod so I simply set up some smart playlists that put new music and stuff I liked in them. Just plug in, click on iSyncr and in about a minute everything is synced and I am on my way (I don't actually use wireless simply because the copying is slower.) I actually find it now just as easy as syncing my ipod ever was and if I am not updating much its actually faster to update my droid. FWIW I sync about 3500 songs in 8 playlists on my droid every morning, with only a few changes it takes about 20 seconds.
  • Maybe its just me but I've never liked shifting sets of music around. And keeping directories in sync with Linux is as simple as dragging a directory and clicking "Merge" and "Skip All". I guess I'm not very picky lol. I didn't know Subsonic had an Android client now. I was just about to put my music back on my microSD after using it for something else but I'll try this out first.
  • I do LOVE the option to mount my android as a hard drive to drag and drop files, like PDF, DOC..etc I DO NOT like to drag and drop music files as I rather create playlists on the computer and let a program do the syching for me. So far I have not found one single program the works flawlesly. Double twist sucks and has never worked for me. Im going to try the others. Maybe by now they work. But until then, I will continue to carry a second device (ipod touch) because this dedicated mp3 player works very well.
  • I started using Double Twist and I love it. It works very similar to iTunes, which is what I used to use and it syncs easily with my Incredible. I create whatever playlists I want and it even syncs with iTunes. All I have to do to sync my phone is plug it in and press a button in Double Twist. Works great!
  • I seem to be having problems with Double Twist and the latest iTunes (on Mac?).
  • Really because in no way can I get the damn thing to not try and sync all 500 gb of my entire music libary on to my 32gb sd card on the galaxy S3 I have reinstalled it taken every trace of the app of my mac but no matter what as soon as I reinstal it it will try and sync EVERYTHING onto the S3. And yes the first thing I ever did was tell double twist ONLY to search my itunes libary. Utter rubbish application that simply refuses to listen!
    I can't actually do very much to stop the damn thing it just go's of on one big sync mania seesion all I wanted was my itunes libary I do not want a media player that will not do as it is told.
  • That's exactly what I did. I have 12 gigs of music on my Epic. Drag the folders you want over to the phone.
  • What's the point of having 12GB of unorganized music? And don't say "shuffle." The point of these sync apps is that they are playlist based. And it is a whole helluva lot easier to manage and maintain playlists on a PC as opposed to a phone -- I don't care what app you are using. If I download from Amazon or iTunes, the song gets added to a playlist and then syncs to the phone, where it is also added to the playlist. All I had to do was buy the track and click "sync." Doing it your way, I have to download, move to phone, find playlist, click to add song, find the song, and click to add. And if I bought 30 songs? Boy, that'll be fun!
  • MediaMonkey seems to work fine for me.
  • Point me to the Mac version?
  • And why use iTunes for podcasts? Google Listen works just fine
  • MediaMonkey is amazing, far more capable than iTunes and even easier to use... It'll work with any device that can connect as a mass storage device but it's filter and sync features far outstrip that of iTunes or most media management apps. Works just fine with Apple devices too, I actually started using it when I bought an ipod touch and didn't want to bother with iTunes. The only downside is no video sync... Highly recommended. I don't see why anyone with an Android device would bother with iTunes, it's so slow and can be a pain if you have music on multiple computers... No flexibility either, it's their way or bust whine doing almost anything. I guess if you buy/rent movies or tv shows there you might have no option, but their store isn't even the most cost effective place to do that anyway. MM and Amazon (or even Zune) for me... I've been using a file manager (from the phone) and/or Dropbox to sync new purchase back to my computer, I might look into some of these automated wifi solutions tho. I've heard good things about Subsonic altho I guess that's meant more for streaming from desktop to phone... Hmm, I can probably write a MM script to sync wirelessly or to pull new purchases from my dropbox into the main library.
  • you guys forgot Mspot!!! its the best solution for syncing music from itunes to android
  • "itunemywalkman" worked for me better than doubletwist. haven't tried the other two.
  • I also recommend Mozilla Songbird. It is cross platform, works really well and integrates with iTunes.
  • I use iTunes Agent to sync my HTC Hero and iTunes 10, works great and completely free.
  • I use iTunes Agent to sync my HTC Hero and iTunes 10 (Windows 7), works great and completely free.
  • Can we maybe add a poll to this post? I'm curious to see what everyone else uses...
  • +1 for the poll, I'd like to know also
  • Why not just drag the files on to the phone like the first poster said? I've done this with my droid and my fascinate and I have had no problems. I have a thousand songs on here, no problems. Why sync??
  • Some people may not want to sit through 15 minutes of clicking "no" to the question "There is already a file called X on the destination drive. Do you want to replace it?" when you're adding a few hundred songs and aren't sure what's already on your phone. ;)
  • I keep forgetting that Windows may not have the same merging functionality of Nautilus on Linux. A drag, two clicks and you can walk away while it syncs the directories.
  • Simple is plugging in your phone, and after a few seconds it saying "Done". Dragging and dropping is a pain unless it is one or two files. I think that is what he was getting at in the post.
  • What about Widows Media Player? Just create some playlists and set it up for auto-sync.
  • Agreed. Syncing my Droid X with Windows Media Player is fast, simple and painless, then I listen using Cubed. iTunes is great if you have one iPod and one computer. Anything beyond that, it's a pain.
  • I use Salling Media Sync to sync photos and music between my Mac and my DX. No frills, works great.
  • Same here and it syncs iPhoto as well.
  • My issue with doubletwist is that if i edit my music info (artist name, genre) on Itunes, it doesnt take affect on Doubletist. Does it work on Isyncer?
  • My issue with doubletwist is that if i edit my music info (artist name, genre) on Itunes, it doesnt take affect on Doubletist. Does it work on Isyncer?
  • Your headline is misleading. "...aka iTunes" means "also known as iTunes". You might have better expressed your thoughts by using "...à la iTunes" which means in the sytle of iTunes but not iTunes.
  • I have an old mac (tiger osx) and it won't connect to my incredile.
    will one these apps help?
  • With Astro-smb, I just look at my computer's music folders and drag songs of entire folders to the Nexus without even cabling up. Don't have to be anywhere near the computer. Backup my purchased music the same way. I haven't spent a nickel in Steve's store since I stopped using apple products.
  • I just sync with windows. I don't see why people feel that they need a different solution to this. Why put more software on your PC when you just don't need it.
  • I've tried many sync tools, but none seem to have the ability to delete a show from my Android device when it's deleted from the server. I'm currently using a rooted rsync run manually until I write something or someone adds the feature (I've requested it). I'd love to see the last 3-4 unwatched TV episodes manually appear on my device, but for now I just have to manually start a rsync command.
  • One word, Dropbox !
  • i think there is some confusion as to what some of these programs are meant to do. dragging and dropping music onto any mass storage device is easy enough. you can mount any of our phones and do it. the REAL problem comes with syncing the playlists. thats where i run into most of my issues. i also use isyncr for one reason, it syncs my playlists. when i had my ipod, then iphone, i went thru a lot of trouble creating playlists. thats what i'm most concerned about. i have some playlists that are made based on the music of that time period, 70, 80,90's etc. these songs in the playlists are in tons of different folders. what good would it do me to have to look for each folder, then drag them over, just to realize that it when i play a folder, there may only be one song in it! thats where these types of programs excel. they bring over the playlist information which is a lifesaver.
  • Winamp on Windows has a sync to Android option. I've been using it since the Android app came out, and I like it. I actually stopped using iTunes on my Windows machine in favor of it. Now that's progress!
  • Is it just me because DoubleTwist is either super slow or does not sync at all. I love iSyncr. Super fast and works everytime and no need for a desktop client. Tunesync is better than DoubleTwist to me but not as good as iSyncr.
  • no it's not just you. DoubleTwist never worked for me either on my MAC.
  • blanck
  • I've run into a strange problem. I recently copied some Christmas music over to my Droid X, putting it in a Christmas directory; nothing fancy, just a drag and drop from iTunes to my Droid. I then went to Astro Player and created a Christmas playlist and added the songs to that playlist. But when I tried to play them, I got a message for most that it couldn't read the file. When I went to music browser, however, and selected the albums where the songs were located, they played fine. Anyone know what might be the problem -- and how do I solve it? CharlesLewis Posts: 4
    Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:04 pm
  • I use Doggcatcher, it doesn't get any easier! Nothing to sync, it's all managed on the phone.
  • iSyncr Lite worked great for me tonight when syncing music from iTunes on my Mac desktop to the Droid Bionic. Haven't found how to do photos yet, or resolve the issue of playing my phone music via BT in my car.
  • Newbie questions... Actually I haven't got my phone yet. But the guy at Verizon says that Droid DNA can't play aac music (just mp3) True or not?
    If so, do any of these apps convert and do i need to keep two libraries??? Also, (since I have no experience yet), do any of these apps detect the music on my phone if I do a manual load?
  • I have a new phone, my first, Galaxy S5. I find myself using it more for it's gadgets than making calls. But while cutting the grass and doing five hours worth of yard work and listening to a gig of music (145 songs) I already find myself already bored hearing the same songs over and over. I have 42 gig on my computer, so I'd like to access it from my phone. Is there a way to get into my wifi (at home only), and sync it up to my phone so I can listen to my entire music catalog directly off the computer??