This is one of the scariest, vaguest warnings I've ever seen.

In my case I don't mind if it erases all of my songs and re-syncs with my new computer, but I sure as hell don't want it erasing everything on my iPhone. Why on earth would it need to do that? Why is this error so vague?

I'm definitely not willing to just try it and see what happens.

  • Wondering the same thing!! Good question!!
    – daviesgeek
    Jul 10, 2012 at 5:17
  • 2
    Not sure why answers are closed, but it will remove and sync anything that you have checked "Sync" for. If you had music, photos, etc. synced with another computer, then check "Sync" just for photos on the new computer, it will delete the old synced photos and copy the new ones, without touching music, contacts, or even other photos you've taken with the iPhone - JUST the ones you synced.
    – user43892
    Feb 27, 2013 at 1:32
  • 1
    thanks @andrewtweber i proceeded after syncing music on a new computer, and it only erased the music. it left everything else untouched
    – austin
    Feb 26, 2014 at 1:11

5 Answers 5


I finally found a tool that will let me transfer songs to my iPhone without iTunes, at least from my PC: CopyTrans.


Extracted from Apple's Support Page:

Clicking Erase and Sync will delete any existing content currently on your device. The content will be replaced with whatever existing content is in the current iTunes library your device is connected to. If there is no content in the iTunes library, nothing will be synced to your device, and your device will be empty.

iTunes will begin copying any purchases made with any account for which the computer is authorized.

Well, if you'd like to sync with a new computer or transfer your purchases to a computer, this is the way. And for the vague, it seems pretty clear:

Erasing and syncing replaces the contents of this iPhone with the contents of this iTunes library.

It keeps being sort of scary, though.

  • 3
    The part that's vague is what "contents" refers to. If they wanted to be explicit they could say either "everything" or "music and video", etc. I'm guessing it's "everything" then.
    – devios1
    Jul 10, 2012 at 16:32
  • This answer isn't very clear. Does that mean it erases apps too?
    – Simon East
    Apr 10, 2016 at 11:14
  • @SimonEast Well, "any existing content" is pretty clear to me. But yes, it will delete everything on the device.
    – Thecafremo
    Apr 11, 2016 at 9:35

As far as I know and from my experience it will all delete the third party apps and music, but as for the other contents and I am pretty sure that they have links on your itunes account in iCloud like photo and contacts plus messages will not be harmed.


  • 1
    I can't believe it is so hard to put a few songs on my iPhone! How do I get all my "contents" back after I erase? What if I'm not using iCloud for my photos?
    – devios1
    Jul 10, 2012 at 16:33
  • 2
    I think I'm just gonna jailbreak it. This is ridiculous.
    – devios1
    Jul 10, 2012 at 18:22

Although it's not technically the answer to the question as I worded it, for the sake of others I finally managed to get my iTunes to sync with my iPhone by first:

  1. Finding my iTunes library persistent id from my iPhone using http://www.magicspace.eu/software/iphone-itunes-sync-recover-your-library-persistent-id/
  2. Changing the library persistent id of my iTunes installation using http://www.andrewgrant.org/2008/03/30/how-to-sync-an-iphone-with-two-or-more-computers.html
  • Second link is dead now unfortunately. :-(
    – Simon East
    Apr 10, 2016 at 11:18

iTunes can only be synced with one Apple device at a time. You can also try Library Tunes, which gets around this restriction and guides you step by step. It uses the library persistent method mentioned above.

  • 1
    That is incorrect. iTunes can sync with many iOS devices at once.
    – segiddins
    Oct 12, 2012 at 0:38

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