Back in the day, people used to carry around a massive, clunky dedicated music player as well as their phone, but now (thank god) we only need the one device to enjoy the lion’s share of our media on the move.
You can either use a cloud-based music service, such as Spotify, Google Music or the soon-to-be announced Beats service from Apple, which will stream music to your device without the need to store it. Or, you can do things the old fashioned way: just you, your device and a USB cable.
It’s always handy to have a stash of music on your device, for when you’re in an area with no signal, so even if you use a streaming service you should crack on and copy a few tunes across, because there’s nothing worse than being stuck on a train with no music to listen to while the chump next to you snores or, worse than that, has an inappropriately loud phone conversation about his recent stag weekend in Tallinn.
How to transfer your music to your iPhone
Unfortunately, Apple eschews the traditional drag-and-drop approach to managing music, preferring instead to foist the often rage-inducing iTunes onto users of its devices. On the plus side, iTunes can sync your iTunes library with your device automatically, or allow you to tick off what playlists or tracks you want to sync.
First off, you’ll want to install iTunes (if you’re on a Mac it should already be present) and plug your iOS device into a free USB slot using the Lightning cable which came with it.
iTunes should now miraculously spring up; if it doesn’t, double-click the shortcut to open the app.
Locate your iPhone from the Devices list on the left, and then choose the Music option from the menu across the top of the app.
Now, check Sync and choose what type of content you wish to be transferred across when your device is plugged in (the same goes for apps, moves, TV shows etc.)
Alternatively, you can choose what music is copied onto your device manually. All you need to do is find your device from the Devices list and click on the Summary tab. Then scroll down and tick Manually manage music and videos, and then select Apply. iTunes will now ready your device for manual management.
Once this has completed, you can go over to your Library in iTunes and just drag whatever albums or individual tracks you like to your device on the left pane, and they’ll be copied across.
How to transfer music to your Android phone
If you’ve got yourself an Android phone, you’ll be glad to hear that copying music over is a much, much easier process than with iPhones. Hooray!
First, grab your smartphone and the USB cable which came with it, and plug the mobile into your PC or Mac.
If you’re using a Mac, you’ll also have to download Android File Transfer from the App Store and install it on your machine.
When you plug your phone into your computer, a window should pop up. This is your phone’s storage, complete with lots of folders for your apps, photos and more, including your music.
Now all you need to do is drag whatever music you want from your computer to the Music folder on your Android device’s memory. It’s that simple. If your device asks you what connection type to use, choose (MTP).
For those of you having trouble seeing your Android device, you might have to drag down the notifications area on your phone’s screen and select Turn on USB Storage. After that, you should be good to go.
How to transfer music to your Windows Phone mobile
Adding your music to your Lumia phone (or non-Lumia if you’ve gone for a more obscure handset such as the HTC One M8 for Windows Phone) couldn’t be simpler if you’re a Windows 7 or 8 user.
Just plug your device into a free USB slot on your PC and drag and drop your music using Windows Explorer. It’s fast, it’s trouble-free and, as it’s Windows, you can expect it to take a while. Don’t ask us why.
If, however, you’ve got a Windows Phone device and you use a Mac, you’ll need to jump through a couple of extra hoops to get music onto your device.
First up, you’ll need to install the Windows Phone 8 app for your Mac, found on the Mac App Store.
Once you’ve done that, plug your phone into a free USB port. The Windows Phone app should open on your device automatically.
In the sidebar of the app, choose the media that you want to add to your device. Tick it, then click the Sync button on the app and it will be copied over to your spangly new phone. Alternatively, you can copy your media manually by dragging and dropping from the Finder window to the phone icon in the sidebar.