Transfer a Playlist from iPhone, iPod, or iPad to iTunes

Jul 2, 2012 - 24 Comments

Transfer playlist from iOS to iTunes

Do you have a music playlist on an iPod, iPhone, or iPad that you want to move to iTunes on your computer? It’s fairly easy:

  1. Connect the iPod, iPhone to the computer and launch iTunes
  2. Under the “Devices” menu locate the playlist you want to copy to the computer and right-click on the playlist name, then select “Export”
  3. Export a playlist from an iPod or iPhone to copy to iTunes

  4. Name the playlist and select “XML” as the filetype format and save the file to somewhere easy to find, like the desktop
  5. Save a playlist from iPod

  6. Pull down the “File” menu, go to “Library” and now select “Import Playlist”, choosing the XML playlist file you exported in the previous step

The playlist from the iOS device is now in iTunes on the computer, find it under the Playlists menu. You will obviously need to have the music featured in the playlist within iTunes in order for the playlist to work, if you don’t have the music because you switched computers you will need to transfer the music from the iOS device to the computer first.

This is a great solution if you’ve lost playlists from iTunes and the standard recovery process didn’t work, or if you’ve just spent a lot of time customizing playlists directly on an iOS device and you now want to enjoy them on the computer.

This works the same in Mac OS X and Windows.

Thanks to Jennifer for the tip idea

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, iTunes, Tips & Tricks

24 Comments

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  1. Ronzo says:

    Thanks Jennifer this saved a bunch of time for me. I used a duplicate remover tool for iTunes and lost my playlist. The play list were still in the side colum but the info was gone. This worked grate for me I can’t thank you enough!

  2. mario says:

    Jennifer, you’re simply the best. thank u for ur help.

  3. Joel says:

    Yes, indeed, great idea. The problem is that i got a lot of playlists. Is there a way for taking all of them altogether, not one by one?

    Thanks.

  4. Lawrence says:

    This did not work for me, if i right click on my device, there is no “Export” option. I am using iTunes 10

    • Dee says:

      You do not right-click on the ‘device’…. Right-click on the playlist that you want.

      If the playlists on your device are not showing, click the tiny blue sideways point arrow and it will drop downwards and show you the entire list of playlists on your device. Then do as in above para.

      Hope that helped.

  5. omar says:

    thank you very much.the only issue i had that my playlist was to long and it took me hours. the good thing was that i recovered all my playlist. again thank !

  6. Jessica says:

    What if the playlist doesn’t show up under device? I created it on my phone, and it is still there and working, but doesn’t show up under with the other playlists under device when my iphone is connected to itunes.

    • Lindsey says:

      Did you ever figure this out? I’m having the same issue – I created a playlist on my iPad and don’t see it when plugged into iTunes on the home computer. Getting an update on the iPad now.

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    This saved so much time and was so easy….
    And didn’t try to sell me software like the first four search results (software I did NOT buy…as you can tell from my website name “cynical musings”, I am fairly cynical…ha-ha).

  8. larry says:

    THanks alot this was the fastest and most sensible answer! And it didn’t require downloading some garbage software like all the other sights kept telling me i needed to do! again thanks.

  9. darin says:

    Thank you so much. I called Apple and they told me once I transferred my iTunes library if I didn’t see all my playlists I was pretty much out of luck and had to MANUALLY add them all back. I didn’t believe them and found your help page. Thanks again!

  10. melanie says:

    Jennifer, your explanation seems simple, except I do not se the “Devices” label or menu on my itunes? I have my nano plugged in… any help is appreciated. I’ll check other surces as well

  11. melanie says:

    Jennifer, I found the answer. it was a “Control S and Control B solution. Now I can view the sidebars….;

  12. Shawn says:

    I used this for a Win 7 PC and it worked great! Thanks a ton! Saved me a lot of time having to manually recreating these lists. :D

  13. Roy says:

    Thank you!!!…saved me hours,much appreciated

  14. Mark says:

    Worked flawlessly. Placed all of the playlists into a folder i created called itunes playlist. Tried to import them all at the same time but ended up doing it individually. May have cost me 1 minute to import 10 playlists. Quite simple indeed!

  15. Randy says:

    Outstanding! Worked perfectly and effortlessly. Thanks Jennifer!

  16. Rick says:

    My computer crashed, but I had my iTunes library on a secondary disk. I’ve got iTunes installed on my new computer and moved my whole library over, but my playlists aren’t there. My next thought is to plug in my iPod, get iTunes to see it – but not to sync yet (don’t want to delete my playlists on my iPod!), then follow your directions above to get them back in iTunes.

    Can you think of a better way?

  17. Wayne says:

    I accidentally deleted one of my favorite playlist this morning from iTunes. Performed several searches on the web for way too recover the playlist. The first procedure I found wanted me to move a file from the iTunes directory to the desktop. Then delete another file from the same directory and then import the moved file back to iTunes. This procedure did not work. I wondered if it was possible to restore the playlist from my iPhone back into iTunes. I located Jennifer’s write up on the procedure, followed her instructions and restored my playlist. My thanks to Jennifer.

  18. Wayne says:

    wow thank you so muchhhhhhhhhhhh!

  19. Tammy says:

    Awesome. Thanks!

  20. paolo says:

    my god you’re a life saver, who could have imagines that lol! thanks! :)

  21. Drew E says:

    Thank you! This worked perfectly — still works great with iTunes 11. Huge timesaver here…. big thanks.

  22. Tom says:

    Wow, that saved me a lot of work! Thank you very much.

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