How to download free music on iPhone

7 min read

Ever since the iPod has put 1,000 songs in our pockets, listening to music on the go has been something we don’t even think twice about. We listen to music during our commute, in the gym, at home, while working, and even reading. Music tends to elevate our mood and can either keep us energized or relaxed, depending on what we listen to.

The good news is that iPhones today come with up to 1 TB of available storage — enough for thousands of hours of music to be downloaded. And let’s not forget about the ubiquitous access to music streaming online (now that data is almost universally cheap), bringing tens of millions of songs to our fingertips.

There are lots of ways to download free music to iPhone nowadays, and there’s an abundance of free music apps for iPhone available. So how do you navigate this variety and find the best free music app for iPhone? Just follow our guide.

How to download free music on iPhone using Mac

If you have an iPhone and Mac, the most standard way to download free music to iPhone has always been iTunes. That is until iTunes was broken down into no fewer than three apps (Music, TV, Podcasts) with additional Finder functionality. 

So if you want to know how to download music on iPhone, you can explore three ways: synchronizing the whole music library through Finder, moving any music from Mac to iPhone with AnyTrans for iOS, or adding songs with Music. 

To synchronize your Mac music library to your iPhone: 

  1. Connect your iPhone with a USB
  2. Open the device via Finder sidebar
  3. Switch to the Music tab
  4. Check “Sync music onto …” 
  5. Select whether to sync everything or only a few things
  6. Click Sync. 

finder sync music iphone mac

AnyTrans for iOS is a slightly more advanced tool you can use to move select music, photos, contacts, or any data from Mac to iPhone and back. If you’re a Setapp subscriber, it definitely makes sense to go with this solution, because the app is free for you. Or, you can try it for free via Setapp’s 7-day trial

Here’s how to move music from Mac to iPhone with AnyTrans: 

  1. Connect your iPhone to Mac and open its contents with AnyTrans on Mac
  2. Click Music 
  3. Select the songs/albums/music videos you want to transfer and complete the transfer with a click. 

Alternatively, you can drop any audio file onto your iPhone via the Music app: 

  1. Connect your iPhone
  2. Open Music
  3. Click on the phone icon in the sidebar
  4. Drag and drop any songs you like. Everything will sync automatically.

music app mac

That’s not all, however. Most of the time, you might already have a sizable music library on your Mac, accumulated over the years. More often than not, that library is a mess without any proper structure. Good news is you can correct this situation before syncing your files with your iPhone by using Meta.

Meta is a smart music metadata editor for Mac. It makes records for hundreds of songs a breeze, including album covers, artist name, track numbers, release date, and so much more. If you’ve been thinking about organizing your music library, Meta is your best chance of actually doing so without taking up days of your time. 

meta music metadata editor mac

If besides your phone you also like to listen to music on your Mac, try enhancing the experience with Boom 3D. 

Boom 3D is the most advanced sound enhancer for Mac you can find. Its ultimate feature is letting you go beyond your Mac’s maximum volume, so that the sound can fill any room you’re in. Other than that, the app features a variety of presets and a precise equalizer, which you can fine-tune to the exact genre of music you like to listen to. And with Boom Remote control, you don’t even have to be at your Mac to listen to music at all. 

boom 3d music app mac

Save music from YouTube to iPhone 

If you’re looking for something completely unique to expand your library, YouTube is probably the best place to do so. But to transform YouTube videos into music and download it to your iPhone, you’d need a special app, such as PullTube. 

PullTube is a lightweight utility that can take any YouTube link and download the connected video in a variety of resolutions and formats, including the MP3 audio-only format. You can even trim video length, download videos with subtitles, and use other websites beyond just YouTube. Note: Pulltube is a Mac app, so you’ll have to download music to Mac first, and then move it to your iPhone via Finder or AnyTrans. 

Here’s how to download YouTube music with Pulltube: 

  1. Open Pulltube on Mac
  2. Drop or paste the link to your music video 
  3. Once Pulltube has fetched the data, click the Quality icon and select Audio only 
  4. Click the Download button. 

pulltube macos

Download music on iPhone via Apple Music 

Apple Music is the natural evolution of music streaming offered through iTunes (and now the Music app). It’s available in nearly all countries, has free curated radio and over hundreds of millions songs available for subscribers. Unlike Spotify, Apple Music has zero ads but also doesn’t have a completely free tier and has limited availability on non-Apple devices. 

On the other hand, due to its tight Apple-device integration, you can enjoy such features as spatial lossless audio at no extra cost. 

apple music streaming mac

Subscribers can use Music to download songs to iPhone (just as any other Apple device) easily: 

  1. Open the Music app on your iPhone
  2. Tap and hold a song or playlist > Add to Library 
  3. Open your Library, tap and hold a song or playlist > Download. 

How to add music to iPhone from iTunes Store

If you’re still using the iTunes Store app on your iPhone — it’s available even on the newest iOS versions — you can use it as a place to get your music. Unlike Music subscription, it lets you buy individual songs or albums, which is not very cost-effective but can be useful in some cases. Simply open the Music tab and choose the music you like. 

For those who don’t want let go of iTunes on Mac and are using macOS Mojave or earlier, you can sync your music from iTunes to iPhone: 

  1. Connect your iPhone to Mac
  2. Open iTunes on Mac 
  3. Find your iPhone under the Device icon and click it
  4. Go to Music and choose the songs you want to sync
  5. Click Apply. 

The best music app for iPhone

Luckily, choosing the best music app for iPhone is pretty much something that you only have to do once. After you do the initial setup, create playlists, download songs, and follow your favorite artists, you’d not be really tempted to switch. So let’s choose once and choose wisely. 

Spotify is the OG streaming service, available across 183 markets and boasting over 400 million users. The Spotify library contains more than 80 million songs from all eras as well as a sizable library of podcasts. 

You can stream Spotify music, playlists, and radio for free, but your experience will be interrupted with ads. Downloading music to your device is only available for premium users. There are apps for most major platforms, including macOS and iOS. And you can easily sync your Spotify playlists to Apple Watch. 

spotify streaming music app mac

YouTube Music is now Google’s official music streaming app, after sunsetting Google Play Music at the end of 2020. It’s available for free with ad support or paid, either as a standalone subscription or in tandem with YouTube Premium. Geographically, YouTube Music can be accessed in around 100 countries. 

While YouTube Music still feels new and not as feature-rich as other competitors, it’s still a good option for those who have Android devices or are already subscribed to a premium version of YouTube. A great bonus of YouTube Music is automatically loading music videos for songs where they are available. 

youtube music streaming online

SoundCloud is a great choice for anyone who likes EDM or hip-hop as well as discovering new talent. This app features a massive library of user-uploaded tracks for free and adds to it a standard library of licensed music with a monthly subscription, for a total of 265 million tracks. Offline listening is also available through the app on all the paid tiers. 

soundcloud streaming music app

Finally, there’s Apple’s very own Music we’ve talked about before. 

To sum up, each app has its upsides and downsides, and tailors to a specific audience. If you can’t decide between Apple Music and Spotify, read our detailed comparison of the two.

Enjoy your music on all devices 

As you can see, how to download songs in iPhone for free is not really that much of a problem when you consider all the options available to you. You can subscribe to a free streaming service plan on Spotify or SoundCloud, you can download music from any website with PullTube, or you can transfer your old music library to your iPhone with AnyTrans for iOS. 

Additionally, don’t forget to organize your library with Meta before making some noise with Boom 3D

Best of all, Meta, Boom 3D, PullTube, and AnyTrans for iOS are available to you absolutely free for seven days through the trial of Setapp, a platform with more than 240 best-in-class Mac and iOS apps for any task at hand. 

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