Subscribing to iTunes Match with an iPhone music library


Q: I have my iPhone 4S packed with songs I bought from iTunes, from other websites such as 7digital and songs I have uploaded from CD’s. I have just bought a MacBook Pro. By using iTunes Match is it possible to put what is on my iPhone into the library on my MacBook Pro?

Subscribing to iTunes Match with an iPhone music library

– Ash

A: Unfortunately, no. iTunes Match can only be used to upload and match tracks from iTunes running on a Windows or Mac computer, not an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. In fact, it is not possible to subscribe to iTunes Match on an iOS device or even enable the feature until you have first subscribed in iTunes using your computer.

Essentially, iTunes Match works in the opposite direction from what you’re looking for. If you already have all of your music in iTunes on a computer, you can subscribe to and enable iTunes Match on that computer—regardless of whether it’s a Mac or Windows PC—and it will match and upload your songs from there to iCloud. You can then enable iTunes Match on your iPhone 4S and your entire music library would become available on that device “from the cloud.”

If you do in fact have your music in an iTunes library on another computer, you could definitely use iTunes Match from there to transfer that music over to your new MacBook Pro. Simply subscribe to iTunes Match and enable it on both computers; once the matching and uploading process is complete, your entire music library should appear on your new MacBook Pro. When using iTunes Match on a computer, songs stream by default when playing them, but you can download any selected item(s) to your computer by either clicking on the iCloud icon to the right of the track name or selecting a group of tracks, right-clicking and choosing the “Download” option from the context menu. To download your entire library, simply use CMD+A to select all of your tracks before choosing the download option.


Subscribing to iTunes Match with an iPhone music library

If your music is only on your iPhone then you will need to transfer it to your new MacBook Pro using a third-party utility to transfer the data back over a direct USB connection and import it into iTunes. The iTunes application can handle this directly for items purchased from the iTunes Store, but music from other sources will need to be transferred using third-party tools. You can find out more on how to do this in our article on Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer.

Once you’ve transferred the music into an iTunes library on your MacBook Pro, you can then enable iTunes Match from there to make it available in the cloud. However, if your iPhone 4S already has enough capacity for your entire music collection, and you don’t feel you need the space for anything else on your device, than you might not even really need iTunes Match in the first place. That said, however, iTunes Match does offer a few additional advantages, such as the ability to convert matched tracks to a higher quality and allowing changes to playlists and track metadata to sync wirelessly to your device via iCloud rather than having to rely on syncing directly with iTunes on your computer. See our article, Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes Match for more information.


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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.