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Transfer music from MacBook hard drive to iPad and iPod

By R Sub ·
Tags: Apple, Mac, Tablets
Hello, can you please help me copy music files from my 2012 MacBook hard disk to my iPad (2017) and iPod (2019) Music App? These files are recordings of talks that are not purchased from Apple music. This used to be very easy with iTunes. Now with the Apple's new Music App I am unable to do it. I spent little over two hours on the phone with Apple Help and it was a complete waste of time. I spoke with an agent , her supervisor and the supervisor's supervisor. The last one gave me a lame excuse- he was never trained to be able to help me with this! Each of them told me that I need to remove all existing music files in the Music folder and then transfer the files i now want to transfer. I don't want to do that. The important catch here is that they can only tell me how to transfer music that I bought from Apple's music store! Can someone please give me step-by-step method on how I can transfer MP3 files from MacBook to the iPad, of talks not bought from Apple store?

Thank you.

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All Answers

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I just read up on how to sync content with Finder.

by rproffitt Moderator In reply to Transfer music from MacBo ...

It's noted briefly at

It's also written "If you're using the iCloud Music Library sync on your iPhone or iPad, you cannot sync music using your Mac."

There's a lot of restrictions on the new system. To me I'd get a refund if it's unacceptable.

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Thanks for taking the time to help me

by satyakama010 In reply to I just read up on how to ...

I tried your method but, unfortunately, it doesn't work. I was able to connect the iPad or iPod touch to the MacBook and open these devices as indicated on that website. The problem I run into is that when I try to manually sink selected files, am not able to because the only option I get is to completely wipe out all the current music files on the devices and start all over again. I am not able to click on the 'Sync selected files' box. My wish is to move selected music files that I now have in a folder on the MacBook hard drive that I have labelled 'Music' to the Music App in the iPod and iPad. This used to be easy to do in the old iTunes App.
Wonder if Apple doesn't want to allow music that was not bought from them to be stored and played on the iPad and iPod.


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Sadly that's how it works.

by rproffitt Moderator In reply to Thanks for taking the tim ...

I'm guessing that you are still wrestling with the way this all works.

If you want to keep what's on the iPod/iPad you need to get all that content out on the MacBook so you can do the SYNC (not sink.)

Read to go over this complaint (it's a very common one.)

As it is today you have to get all your stuff into that folder to sync up in total. No more "add to" feature.

In case you didn't know, here are alternatives to transfers for iPod/iPads:

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Thanks again

by satyakama010 In reply to Sadly that's how it works ...

Will try the Sync method and start all over again, as you advise. My only reluctance is that I will first have to move all the music folders that I want to transfer to the devices from the folder on the MacBook hard disk to the Music App on the same MacBook. That means that I will duplicating all these folders on the MacBook.
Shall also look in to getting one of the Apps, probably dr. fone and see if that will work.


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I have not tried this, but,

by mrmacfixit Moderator In reply to Transfer music from MacBo ...

it's worth a try.
As a test, drag a file from the music app to the desktop.
Hopefully that will work in the same way that it did with iTunes, an audio file on the desktop.
Open Dropbox. Get an account if you don't already have one. It's free.
Shift the file into Dropbox.
On the iPad, go to the dropbox site, log in and drag the file to the iPad.

No guarantee it will work, but worth a try.

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Thank you for taking the time to respond

by satyakama010 In reply to I have not tried this, bu ...

Your method works with the iPad. I didn't have to go through Dropbox for this. Am able to transfer the files that I keep in a separate folder that I have titled 'Music', on the hard drive of the MacBook to the Files folder on the iPad. But this will not work for the iPod touch because I don't see a Files folder on it. What I am really trying to do is to transfer the files from the MacBook to the 'Music' folder on the iPad and iPod. It used to be straight forward on the iTunes App.


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