The Best Way to Synchronize Android With iTunes

Whether you have a Mac as a main computer or you use an iPod or an iPhone to complement your Android device, there’s a good chance that your music collection is all organized and kept in iTunes. Out of the box, your Android smartphone isn’t supposed to play nicely with iTunes to sync music and playlists, but, if you follow this tutorial, your phone and iTunes will become the best of friends.

Step 1: Set Up iSyncr Properly

iSyncr is an Android application for both Windows and Mac that synchronizes your iTunes playlists to your SD card, as previously explained in details by Ruairi. In order to get the most out of iSyncr with iTunes, here are the essential steps to take:

  1. In the Android iSyncr app settings, make sure “Play Count Logging” and “Auto Clean Playlists” are ticked and that you have adjusted the Playcount Sensitivity and Skip Threshold to your liking.
  2. In the computer component of iSyncr, get to the options and tick “Sync iTunes Album Art” and I’d recommend “Remember Selected Playlists” as this will help you not have to re-select your playlists every time.
Settings for iSyncr on Android and the computer

Settings for iSyncr on Android and the computer

Step 2: Set Up PlayerPro Properly

There are several music players that can work nicely with iSyncr; however, from personal experience, I have found PlayerPro to be the best by strides. Tessa Thornton has already reviewed Playerpro for you so I won’t dwell on everything that it can do. I will, nonetheless, tell you that the reasons PlayerPro works best with iSyncr is its ability to synchronize play counts, lyrics, and ratings, aside from the obvious album art and ID3 tags. If you’re like me, and you have several smart playlists in iTunes that rely on ratings, skip counts, play counts, and other tiny details, then you will find this to be a great solution.

These are the settings you should pay attention to:

  1. In General Settings, under Scrobbling, make sure Simple Last.fm is picked. This will make sure the play and skip count are sent to iSyncr and hence iTunes.
  2. In General Settings, under Rating System, pick iSyncr. PlayerPro will then display the ratings you already have in iTunes and sync back any new ones you change on the phone.
  3. In Look And Feel, make sure Prefer ID3 artwork is ticked. This will use the album art embedded in the song’s details instead of checking the SD card and cache for one.
Settings for scrobbling and ratings in PlayerPro

Settings for scrobbling and ratings in PlayerPro

Step 3: Enjoy the Result

The end result is an experience between your Android phone and iTunes that is as close to an iPod as possible, if not similar. Playlists are synchronized, along with artists, albums, embedded album art, lyrics, ratings and other ID3 tag details. Changes in ratings, play counts and skips are sent back to your iTunes library so your smart playlists there take that into account.

iSyncr and PlayerPro widgets with album art and ratings, and lyrics in PlayerPro

iSyncr and PlayerPro widgets with album art and ratings, and lyrics in PlayerPro

Bonus: Remote Control Your iTunes

For those times when you don’t want to have your whole iTunes collection on your phone, but want to control your music remotely while it plays on your computer, there’s Remote For iTunes. After a simple setup process, you are granted access to your complete iTunes library, including playlists, albums, artists, genres, as well as a full search function. In terms of playback, you can view the song’s details, skip, rewind, pause, and activate shuffle and repeat.

iTunes Remote playing screen and library browsing

iTunes Remote playing screen and library browsing

Do you use iTunes with your Android phone for music? If so, have you found another way to make them work together perfectly, or is this tutorial an answer to your previous problems in synchronizing them together? Let us know!


  • Jared Sartin

    Cool… but I have 2 words… Google. Music.

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      Google Music creates a separate database to your songs compared to iTunes (ie, same songs, but different embedded ratings, ID3 tags, lyrics, play counts…). This tutorial is for people who want to keep all their embedded song details in sync between Android and iTunes, in order for example to use the skip count or play count in iTunes smart playlists, even if the skipping or playing was done on the phone.

  • Hiroshi

    What about the AirSync plugin for doubleTwist?

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      From experience, DoubleTwist misses some data when synchronizing, like play counts. And I’ve tried giving DoubleTwist a try, on my Macbook and both my iMacs, it’s simply a dreadfully slow application. iSyncr doesn’t require *another* music player to run, it simply syncs from iTunes to the SD card, no questions asked.

    • AMAR

      AirSync is plague!

      It corrupted my files/meta data and all.
      Screws your Mac files and folder structure.

      When I raised a request the support rep from doubleTwist tells me “it was intended” and “it’s a feature” and “retaining Mac folder structure was a programming hassle so our team thought – screw it!”

      I am looking for another option, paid or free anything. As of now I am using Google’s app to copy files to Android manually. This app sucks but there’s no alternative.

  • Azzoth

    Cool… But why search more when you have Google Music… 22,000 free songs storage and easy syncs.

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      Check my answer to Jared above :)

      • Luis

        furthermore, GoogleMusic is currently only available in the U.S

  • Dude

    What if you don’t have the best data connection and your data is limited? Then Google Music isn’t the best.
    My problem with AirSync & DoubleTwist is that when I delete music from iTunes playlists (Which I do constantly) , Double Twist doesn’t register it.
    I must go into the iTunes directory and force iTunes to make a new “iTunes Music Library.xml” file.
    I’m hoping this iSyncr method solves my problem.

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      I think iSyncr will solve your problem. I constantly delete tracks from my iTunes and they’re removed from my Android phone. I think the problem is with DoubleTwist functioning as a second music app with iTunes, as opposed to iSyncr directly pulling and syncing from inside iTunes.

  • Brent

    It doesn’t look like my ratings are getting synced back to iTunes. Also, my playlists aren’t showing up in PlayerPro. Any setting I’m missing that wasn’t mentioned?

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      Oh, if you set it up like the how-to, it should be good. Try rebooting your phone?

  • tido

    Too bad Google music is only a US service. Will give iTunes and PlayerPro a chance. By the way is there another application that can do the rating/play count syncing other than iTunes?

    Cheers,

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      Not as far as I know.

  • http://austinhenderson.com Austin Henderson

    I had a wicked time getting DoubleTwist to sync with my phone – well it would sync it but then it started duplicating songs and it would not take things off my phone that I removed from my library – and this was a real pain. Since I couldnt find a true two way sync – meaning add songs on either side (think Amazon MP3) and/or remove songs on either side and the change should flow – I was left frustrated.

    I ended up writing a project to solve this for Windows users:
    More info can be found here for those that are interested in learning more.

    http://www.austinhenderson.com/Projects/mediaSync.aspx

    Thanks for the good read.

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  • http://www.catdouglas.com cat

    thanks so much for making this easy

  • Sri Nithya Satyaswaroopan

    What is the next best option to iSyncr for those who can’t run it on their old mac? My mac is at OS 10.4.11 and iSyncr requires minimum 10.5. What to do?

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      You can check see if DoubleTwist is available.

  • http://stevenroose.be Steven

    Can this setup sync my current Google Music playlists with iTunes???
    I’m looking for that option for a long time.

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      There’s a reverse sync’ing option in iSyncr (check the first screenshot, on the right, towards the middle of the screen). I suppose it could potentially work for you. I haven’t tried it as I don’t have Google Music available in my country.

  • Shyam

    Hi,
    I have gone thru and repeated the same set of steps on my galaxy note running ICS. There seems to be a problem :(. Instead of play counts skip counts get updated on itunes. What could be the problem. And the PlayerPro UI has changed in the sense that there is nothing called General in the settings. Can you help me out?

  • Luko

    For me, the simplest solution is directly drag the music from iTunes to Android phone, and export playlists by right-clicking playlists in the iTunes left panel > Export as .m3u. It’s fast, simple and free.

    • MrPete

      That’s a nice way to download, but that’s not syncing. Your play counts and ratings changes won’t synce back to your iTunes!

  • john kingsbury

    Will iSyncr work to transfer from iPod to Android tablet?

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      I see no reason why not :)

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  • Arif

    So basically, with using iSyncr we can sync all the music with all the embedded details in it to the android device right?
    Just the same as when I sync the music from iTunes to the iOS device right?

    Thank you for the post..=)

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      Yes same result as using iTunes with an iPod or iPhone. For those of us on Macs, or who use iTunes as our music library, this iSyncr + PlayerPro combo is a very welcome boon.

  • JJ

    You rock!
    Thanks a ton!! was about to give up on trying to sync up my Itunes to my Android phone. I tired so many ways and it failed…until this!!!

    Thanks!!

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      You’re welcome :)

  • Luis

    I´ll try it soon. thanks!

  • David

    Brilliant!!
    Many thanks – this is exactly what Ive been looking for since ages :)

    One small issue though……

    Ive just downloaded isyncr and transferred my entire itunes library to my Galaxy but then remembered a new CD I hadnt ripped, so put this on itunes and then opened isyncr again

    I ticked the ‘library’ box to sync but it then tried to sync my entire library which was over the capacity of my memory card instead of just adding the new CD

    How do I get around this on please?

    cheers

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      You should be able to select playlists separately with iSyncr, whether on the phone or on the computer.

  • Ant

    Where is the general setting – scrobble option you are talking about in playerpro? cannot find the option at all?

    • http://www.ritaelkhoury.com/ Rita El Khoury

      They shuffled some things around, right now, it’s in Settings / Music Library / Notifications / Last.fm scrobbling

  • Gary

    So I set up both ISyncR and Rocket Player and it did sync but says it can’t play my NPR podcasts because the ‘player does not support this type of audio file’. Uninstalled it and installed the recommended PlayerPro. It is up but doesn’t see any music. Geez. Time to move to iPhone where it isn’t all patched together. Why can’t things just WORK?

  • simon

    Hi Rita
    I have itunes that I sync my ipod and an old works iphone with no probs obviously,
    But my query is – I now have a samsung S3 that I also wish to have my music on. If I install Syncr can I still run my ipod, iphone and samsung along side each other synching each one as I please with no complications? cheers

    • http://bit.ly/khouryrt Rita El Khoury

      Yes, you should be able to do that. I run iTunes on my Mac with both my S3 and my iPod Touch sync’ing to it. However, iSyncr has changed a little bit now (one app for the wired and WiFi version) but everything is mostly the same, expect sometimes in a different place in the settings.

  • Garbage

    is it possible to rate songs that are not on device but on the google cloud and have the play counts and ratings sync back to itunes on desktop…i know i syncr syncs the ondevice files seamlessly..was lookin for a way to keep the cloud music files in sync.thanx.

  • justin

    I am wondering if when you rate a song on your android phone will the ratting be synced to the iTunes library, will play counts, skips, and the like? Or does it only work one way ie. from iTunes library to android phone?

    • http://bit.ly/khouryrt Rita El Khoury

      Yes, the ratings/play counts sync back and forth between phone and iTunes.

  • orion

    What about putting my google play music on my itunes?

  • Patricia Wang

    I sync my iTune playlists with my HTC one x+. The entire “music” that has 44G has been synced but the syncing stopping at 99.7% so the palylists are failed to sync. I tried several times and had never be able to get 100% sync. Do you know how to solve the problem?

  • Torsten

    hi is there a way to sync my audiobooks in a seperate folder?
    Or how do you guys handle your audiobooks? it’s disturbing when they are mixed in my music.
    for i will just remove them from itunes and handle them manual on my phone.
    by the way i use mortal audiobooks player.

  • Dan

    What about MeloDroid? It has way more features than these, and the app let’s you wirelessly sync Android with iTunes and use your phone as a remote for iTunes in one app. It’s free too, but unfortunately Windows only. http://melodroid.com

  • Lisa

    Unfortunately it is unable to sync my music videos and movies.

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