We just got a new MacBook Air and I'm trying to get playlists transferred off an old phone. I connected the phone to the laptop with a cable but it's not showing up in Music, nor is it acknowledged in anyway.

The phone no longer has a sim card but that shouldn't matter.

What do I need to do to get the playlists on to the laptop?

--- Edit ---

So the phone is now showing up. We have an Apple Music subscription. The phone went through a sync process, but the playlists still only show on the phone and not on the laptop.



  • 1
    The phone does show under devices in the Photos app
    – Josh Russo
    Jan 6, 2021 at 1:34
  • Ok, now the phone is finally showing up. It still won't sync the playlists from the phone to the laptop. How do we get the playlists into Music?
    – Josh Russo
    Jan 6, 2021 at 1:53
  • It seems the answer is either iTunes Music Match or Apple Music. It's frustrating that I need pay just to sync from my old phone to a laptop.
    – Josh Russo
    Jan 6, 2021 at 2:34
  • Are both the phone and iTunes on the laptop signed into the same AppleID for Apple Music, and the laptop is connected to the Internet? Syncing should then go via Apple Music, no direct connection between phone and laptop required.
    – nohillside
    Jan 6, 2021 at 6:26
  • @nohillside They are
    – Josh Russo
    Jan 6, 2021 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


Syncing back audio tracks from an iPhone to a computer was never part of any iOS version. In the past there have been tools like senuTi but afaik they don't work anymore.

If you have an Apple Music subscription on the phone you can log into Apple Music also from the Music application on macOS. It may take a while but all tracks and playlists from the phone will sync back to your Mac.

  • It did take a while but it did work
    – Josh Russo
    Jan 7, 2021 at 15:59

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