Please don't say iTunes. I've owned countless iPods (including the original) and iPhones (including the original) and iTunes has never been a reliable means for getting content on to an iOS device.

I basically have a bunch of mp3s (~4,000) that I listen to on my desktop & my iOS device. I regularly run into the "dotted circle" issue, resulting in only some of my music being transferred.

I've searched & tried the various tricks on Stack Exchange, as well as elsewhere on line.


  • I've reset my device but this is not practical to do on a regular basis and it hasn't worked. It results in a different, random subset of my songs being transferred.

  • I've tried removing all my music & resyncing. This doesn't work. It results in a different, random subset of my songs being transferred.

At this point, I want to give up on iTunes.

I just want something to get my music on my iOS device & enable me to listen to it.

I'm not interested in cloud services, despite Apple's push. I already own most of the music I want to listen to & I'm not into new music. I already paid for the music I have. It seems silly to now "rent" it.

I'm fine with not fancy. I have no need to for fanciness. I don't care about machine learning, auto playlists, content discovery.

Again, I just want to transfer & listen to my music.

I'm totally fine if this is requires new apps. As long as it transfer music & there is a "play" button, I'm happy.

Similar questions from my research (that don't actually help in this case):

  • So just to confirm, you have MP3's on your Mac and you would like to transfer them to your iPhone reliably without iTunes. Is it ok if they don't go to the music app? Jun 10, 2018 at 20:31
  • Can we assume that your iPhone has enough storage space for all of your mp3s and that's not what's causing your problem? Also, I know you're happy to use 3rd party apps to do this, but can you clarify if you're happy to pay $ for any such app?
    – Monomeeth
    Jun 10, 2018 at 21:07
  • @Josh Yes, absolutely. Another app is fine.
    – Bill
    Jun 11, 2018 at 1:32
  • @Monomeeth Sorry, I should have mentioned I confirmed space wasn't an issue. I have ~100 gig free. I'm open to paying for an app that's reliable.
    – Bill
    Jun 11, 2018 at 1:32
  • @Bill Lastly, could we try and solve your iTunes issue first? Maybe create a new question with that problem. iTunes is really the best thing to use. I have other ideas in mind though. There are a couple apps I could suggest that seam to work pretty reliably. FYI I have transferred ~30,000 songs with iTunes reliably so it may be an issue with your iTunes rather then iTunes it self. Jun 11, 2018 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


If you don't use Apple Music I would suggest something like iMazing (satisfied user for over a year) or another iTunes alternative with music management option.

Another solution is using Infuse or VLC as a player instead of the native Music app, you can import songs with File Sharing in iTunes and it shouldn't be affected with the 'dotted circle' bug.

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