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How to Sync Your iPhone Without iTunes (And Erasing All Your Data)

The iPhone is a wonderful smartphone, but it’s got one huge, ugly, glaring flaw – an Achilles’ Heel, if you will.

Yep, I’m talking about iTunes.

No small of amount of irate hair-pulling has been inspired by this piece of software. Same goes for brain aneurysms and smashed keyboards. And all these destructive outbursts of frustration result from the difficulty involved with one – seemingly simple – task: syncing content to your iPhone.

iPhones are only allowed to be synced to one iTunes library at a time. The reasons for Apple placing this restriction on their phones make sense, I guess – they probably don’t want people being able to plug their phone into a friend’s computer to grab their entire music and movie library.

Nope, you’re gonna have to pick up a $5 flash drive from Wal-Mart if you want to do that! Try and hurdle that roadblock, criminal scum…

This (used to) annoy me to no end.

Still, the restriction is ridiculous, and it’s plagued me to no end ever since I got my first iPhone.

The fact is that there are plenty of legitimate cases where you’d want to be able to sync your iPhone with multiple computers. These include:

  1. You owning more than one computer – “Oh honey, he’s teasing you. Nobody has two television sets.”
  2. Downloading data to a new phone from iCloud, only to realize that iTunes wants to delete it all

There are probably more as well. The first reason really is a pain: My Macbook Air doesn’t have much drive space, so I don’t want to keep my entire media library on it. Still, there are times when I’m traveling and would like to use it to sync something to my phone.

But Apple doesn’t want that. And Apple gets what Apple wants. Yes master, of course I’ll line up on day one to get a new Mac Pro…

Whelp, that means we’re boned, right? Fortunately, no.

Enter iTools

Today I’ll show you a free program called iTools that allows you to add content to your iOS device, sans iTunes.

The iTools interface.

I’ve found iTools to be quite powerful, actually. Here are a few things you can do with it:

  • Manage your applications, and even update them
  • Add and remove media of all types
  • Browse the file system of your iPhone, just like you can with a regular computer
  • Mirror the screen of your iOS device to your computer and record videos – though it’s choppy, and Reflector does it much better
  • Browse and manage your phone’s photo library

Overall, iTools is wonderful. Even though it won’t make toast or help me build an iPhone app, I’m in love with it.

Using it brings me back to the days when cell phones were just for calls, and all my media was loaded onto my Creative Zen Vision M – which acted exactly like a normal drive and would let me use Windows Explorer to edit its contents.

Sigh, what a wonderful device that was…

Anyway, let’s get to the business of using iTools. While there’s a lot you can do with it, I’m just going to show you how to put music onto your iPhone.

Don’t blink, because this is fast and dead easy.

  1. First, download iTools for your computer. There’s both a Mac and a PC version available. I’ve used both and they work well.
  2. Open iTools. There’s no installation on Windows – just run the program and it’ll open up. On Mac, drag it to your Applications folder first.
  3. Connect your iOS device to your computer.
  4. Click the Media tab on the left menu.
  5. Select the type of media you want to add on the right menu – in this case, Music.
  6. Drag an album in via Finder or Windows Explorer.

That’s it! Voilà, the music’s on your phone. Album art and all!

iPhone Music
“Gee Tom, your hands are looking pretty feminine…”

Oh, and if you’d like to get the awesome Majora’s Mask tribute album you see in the screenshot, here it is.