I want to sync my previously never synced iPhone (filled with 2 years of pics & music) to my mother's Mac. Is there any risk of data loss? It has never been linked to a computer. I have many pictures & videos of my baby & don't want to lose them!

  • How did you activate a 2 year old iPhone without a computer? I'm not sure it's a great idea to use your mother's computer, you ought to be using a computer with an iTunes account that's in your name.
    – Richard
    Oct 29, 2011 at 20:43
  • never connected to a computer before as there was no need Oct 30, 2011 at 15:26
  • Mothers mac is very new with all applicable programs, im just worried about loosing my music videos & photos Oct 30, 2011 at 15:27
  • 1
    How did you activate the Phone, it has to be connected to iTunes before you can use it. was it Second hand? Nov 7, 2011 at 13:23

4 Answers 4


Yes - there always is a risk of data loss even though the software (iTunes and iOS) are designed to let you make a backup and transfer all data before it erases anything.

Best to go online / call apple or visit a store and research how to prevent an automatic sync for your version of iTunes and the steps to back up / transfer that content before you start.

Without knowing your iOS version and iTunes version it's hard to be more specific. It should go fine, but best to be prepared beforehand.


Here's how to do it:

  1. Connect your iPhone via USB to the Mac.
  2. Start iTunes
  3. On the left menu in iTunes, your iPhone should appear.
  4. Do a right click on your iPhone
  5. You have two options now:

First: Select Backup. So your iPhone creates a local backup of your whole iPhone data. Second: Select "Transfer Purchases"

So all your Music, Videos etc. should be transfered to the Mac.

I would prefer to create a backup first, and then transfer all your purchased data.


You have to use an iTunes where no iPhone have been previously set up.

So even a second computer, or you set up another account for the OS (Windows or Mac OS). Then you will have the choice to backup the phone...

  • Could you add a bit more detail to your instructions?
    – myhd
    Nov 7, 2012 at 11:13

You can transfer all music and pictures on to her Mac.

Open finder and navigate to the iPhone, you can then extract all the images as you would with a digital camera.

To take the music files you will need to use a piece of software such as Xilisoft you cannot manually take the audio from an iPhone as it appears as a camera unlike an iPod which appears as a harddrive.

  • Can't he just use iTunes for the music files?
    – abc905
    Nov 7, 2011 at 14:28
  • 1
    no, iTunes wont let you transfer music from one device to another machine it hasnt been synced with. It is against the law to copy music, otherwise everyone would plug their iPod into each others PCs and steal all the music. Nov 7, 2011 at 14:49
  • 1
    How did a question about pictures and baby videos morph into illegal music discussion?
    – bmike
    Jan 7, 2012 at 14:11
  • @bmike OP asked about "2 years of pics and music", I answered, I was then asked if they can just use iTunes, I then explained why you cant. Not a legal discussion at all. Jan 7, 2012 at 20:13
  • You are spot on that music doesn't sync back - it only "transfers" when iTunes sees purchases if you don't use a third party product like Phoneview or Senuti or iRip.
    – bmike
    Jan 7, 2012 at 23:41

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