How to sync your local iTunes library when you’re subscribed to Apple Music

Apple Music is one of the best music streaming options when you have a local library of unreleased songs, live concerts, or remixes. But this method will also allow you to sync hi-fiedlity music such as ALAC to your iPhone.

While not completely obvious, it is possible to sync your local library while also having a cloud-based Apple Music library on your iPhone or iPad.

While it’s not perfect, Apple Music will allow you to import your own music into the service. This will essentially create a hybrid library of sorts. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Before even opening iTunes on your Mac or PC, head into Settings > Music > and toggle off iCloud Music Library on your iOS device.
  2. Now, head over to iTunes on your Mac or PC, tap on your iPhone or iPad’s icon in the top left corner, tap over to Music and pick and choose what songs you want to sync. If you’re like me and collect hi-fi music in your library and stream everything else, it’s safe to sync all songs as iTunes will only sync what’s downloaded on your Mac.
  3. Wait for iTunes to complete your sync, and go ahead and toggle iCloud Music Library back on.
  4. A pop-up dialog box will appear asking if you want to keep your music or delete and replace. You’ll want to choose the keep music option. Since your Mac already keeps a copy of all of your downloaded music, nothing will actually happen, other than your cloud-based music library appearing in the Music app. It may take a couple of minutes for your library to load on your iPhone or iPad depending on how big it is.

This method will work as of iOS 11.3, and we expect it to work in future versions of iOS as this is how iTunes syncs when not attached to an Apple Music subscription. While most users won’t care about the higher quality stuff, there is a small subset of users who want to have their local library synced, wether it be for unreleased songs, or for higher quality versions of already-released music.

For more help getting the most out of your Apple devices, check out our how to guide as well as the following articles:

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