By Lena / Last update September 9, 2022

What’s the Best Way to Transfer Music from External Hard Drive to iPhone and iPad?

iTunes is the official management tool provided by Apple to help users sync songs or other media files to iDevice. If you want to transfer music from external hard drive to iPhone/iPad using iTunes, you should first add music to iTunes and then sync songs to your device. However, you will find that it’s not that easy when you actually do it.

● If you use iTunes to sync songs, you should first copy songs to your computer but storage space is not enough and that’s why you have songs stored on external hard drive.
● What’s worse, the music sync will cause data loss: it will erase all existing media files (songs, movies, TV shows) on your device.

So you come to this article to find a way that can help you transfer music from external hard drive to iPhone without iTunes, right? Congratulations, you’ve come to the right page! This guide will show you how to copy the music directly from the external disk to the iPhone/iPad.

All these methods described here apply to all iPhone & iPad models, including the latest iPad Air 5, iPad Pro 12-in. (5th generation), iPad Pro 11-in. (3rd generation), iPhone 14 (Plus)/14 Pro (Max), iPhone 13/13 mini/13 pro/pro max, iPhone X/11/12 series, iPhone 8/7/6/5/SE.

Part 1. How to Transfer Music from External Hard Drive to iPhone/iPad without iTunes

To directly transfer songs from external hard drive to iPhone/iPad, you can rely on FoneTool, one professional iOS data management. It helps you transfer music in an easy, quick, and safe way.

● Transfer Selected Songs. It lets you preview and select the songs that you want to add to your device.
● No Data Erasing. It will only put songs on iPhone/iPad and all content on your device will remain 100% safe.
● Easy and Fast. With the clear and user-friendly design, you can complete the transfer in only a few clicks.
● Works well with all iDevice: It is compatible with all iOS/iPadOS devices. Besides the iPad and iPhone, you can also transfer music on your external disk to an iPod Touch.

With only a few clicks, you can complete the transfer. Install this tool on your computer and follow the steps below to transfer songs from external hard drive to iPhone/iPad in minutes. We take iPhone as an example.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7
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Steps to Transfer Music from External Hard Drive to iPhone without iTunes

1. Run FoneTool > Plug in your external hard drive and iPhone. (You may need to enter the passcode on iPhone to allow the software to access your device.)

2. On the Home screen, click Phone Transfer > Locate PC to iPhone option and click Start Transfer.

Transfer to iPhone

3. Click the “+” icon > Go to your external hard drive and choose the songs you’d like to add to iPhone > Click Open to continue.

Choose Music

4. Confirm the songs that will be transferred to your device > Click Start Transfer to start.


5. When the transfer completed, click OK. Then you can open the Apple Music app, to see if the music is there.

Transfer Completed

► Other Features of FoneTool
● It also can help you transfer music from iPhone/iPad to computer, external hard drive, USB flash drive.
● iDevice to iDevice transfer is also supported. You can transfer music from iPhone to iPad and vice versa.
● Besides music, it also allows you to backup and transfer videos, photos, contacts, messages.

Part 2. How to Transfer Music from External Hard Drive to iPhone/iPad with iTunes

Maybe you are interested in how to transfer music from external hard drive to iPhone via iTunes, we also show you the method here. Please make sure that you have installed the latest version of iTunes on computer.

1. Plug in your external hard drive and iPhone > Open iTunes.

2. Click the Device icon > Go to Summary > Uncheck the “Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected” option and check the option “Manually manage music and videos” > Click Apply to confirm.

Manually Manage Music and Videos

3. Click File option > Choose Add File to Library from the drop-down list to add music files to iTunes that you want to move to iPhone.

Add File to Library

4. Then click Music under Settings > Check Sync Music > Choose to sync Entire music library or Selected playlists artists, albums, and genres.

Sync Music to iPhone

5. Click Apply > Sync to start.


If you want to transfer music from external hard drive to iPhone/iPad without iTunes, FoneTool can be your best choice. It lets you directly add songs to Apple Music on an iOS device. without data loss. More than that, it also supports managing videos, photos, contacts and messages, which helps you always put data in the right place. Go for it now and discover more!

FoneTool Runs Perfectly on

iOS Versions
  • iOS 16/15/14/13/12/11 and former
  • iPadOS 16/15/14/13/12/11 and former
iOS Devices
  • iPhone 14/14 Pro (Max), 13/13 mini/Pro (Max), iPhone 12/12 mini/Pro (Max), iPhone 11/11 Pro (Max)
  • iPhone X/XR/XS/XS Max, iPhone 8/8 Plus, iPhone 7/7 Plus, iPhone 6/6s/6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st, 2nd, 3rd generations)
  • iPod touch 1/2/3/4/5/6/7
  • All models of iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad Pro and iPad