I manually manage my iPhone's music (iOS 11.1). I use music from my hard drive, not from my iTunes account. When I drag music to my iPhone, all metadata of my music shows up in iTunes (iTunes correctly. But on my iPhone, an album is broken into individual albums. So a 12-song album is turned into 12 1-song albums. This is the case 100% of the time. Every time that I add any album to my iPhone, every song will show up as separate albums.

Also, the artist is missing from every song on my iPhone.

I am 100% sure that my metadata in iTunes is correct. Artist, Album, and Album Artist are all identical down to the capitalization and everything is correct on the Sorting tab. The Compilation box is not in play here. I have verified my song metadata with a 3rd-party ID3 editor.

The only thing that works is to delete the music from the iPhone and then re-add the music. When I re-add the music, the music now is grouped together and labeled correctly on my iPhone.

Can I fix this issue without having to delete and re-add the music onto my iPhone every time?

7 Answers 7


Have the same issue. I figured out that adding first song of albums and then rest of the songs works. But also looking for better resolution.

  • Hm, very interesting... this worked on one album but a different one shows some OTHER weird broken behavior...
    – T3db0t
    Mar 1, 2018 at 18:39
  • 1
    Still relevant in 2019.
    – Natrium
    May 25, 2019 at 19:40
  • Works like a charm! Oct 4, 2019 at 18:16

Probably found solution which works.

  1. Drag MP3 files into your device ( iPhone or other ) in iTunes.
  2. Open music app on device and see each song as separate album.
  3. Go back to iTunes and remove that songs from device.
  4. Then drag songs back to device.
  5. Now open music app and see only one album with all songs.

Tested on mac with iTunes and iPhone 7 plus with iOS 11.2.5 beta.

  • I tried a lot of tricks found over internet and nothing helped except this. Thank you.
    – zur4ik
    Nov 13, 2018 at 14:53
  • I already offered this workaround in the second-to-last paragraph of my original post.
    – wale
    Dec 10, 2018 at 0:23

It fails to sort by album when adding songs directly to the iPhone, but I've noticed that it works properly when first adding them all to the library and then moving them to the iPhone.

  1. Add albums from your local storage to iTunes library.
  2. Add albums from your iTunes library to your iPhone.
  3. Songs are now sorted properly by album on your iPhone.

You may have to individually tag those files in iTunes so that it wont show those songs as if they are albums.

  • 1
    Editing any metadata field in iTunes has no effect on whether the albums are displayed correctly on my iPhone.
    – wale
    Dec 8, 2017 at 3:29

have had the same issue for some time, and has nothing to do with tags. like you, my music is all on an external.

i've long since stopped using itunes, in favour of swinsian. much easier to use, sounds better, only apple won't allow non itunes adding of music.

i used to open itunes, drag n drop to the phone icon, and all was good to go. not sure if it was ios 11 or some other update ... but now the songs are required to be in itunes first, from which you can drag onto the phone icon.

so you are unable to drag music to the phone from a folder in the finder window. you must add to the itunes library first, and then drag over. hopefully this helps!

  • You suggest that I use Swinsian, but then you say that I still must drag the songs to iTunes in order to use Swinsian? So, what's the convenience offered by using Swinsian?
    – wale
    Dec 8, 2017 at 3:43
  • long day at work, multiple thought trains...
    – user267099
    Dec 8, 2017 at 7:12
  • i wasn't suggesting using swinsian. only offering that it suits me much better, is significantly faster for a 1tb library, and easily syncs with my classic ipod. the caveat being work-around synching with the phone is cumbersome...
    – user267099
    Dec 8, 2017 at 7:20
  • regardless, after speaking with apple support, the only way to add music to a phone is to first add to itunes, and second drag over. otherwise the single song album issue will remain..
    – user267099
    Dec 8, 2017 at 7:25

I found a fix.... Seam to be a clash between the artist and the album artist in the tag info.. MOVE the artist name (make sure it is now empty) to the album artist and it will show up in the library..

  • The Artist name and the Album Artist name are identical for the songs in my library, so a metadata conflict is not responsible for this issue.
    – wale
    Dec 10, 2018 at 6:36

For long i had the same problem. And because i listen to a lot of audiobooks it was much much worse. Of course the copying, deleting copying worked. But, i found another solution: I switched to the amazon music player app. And it works perfect. :-) I also tried Ecoute and some other players but all had the same issue as the original. I hope this helps at least a bit.

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