How to Download Music to Your iPod

By Carol Finch

Updated February 10, 2017

ITunes allows you to download music to an iPod automatically or manually. Use an automatic download to transfer an entire music library or to choose selected playlists, artists, albums or genres from your collection. To download selected tracks, albums or artists, use a manual download.


To download music that isn't in iTunes, transfer it from your computer first. In iTunes, open the File tab. Select Add File to Library or Add Folder to Library, navigate to the music you want to add and select Open to add the music to your library.

Download Music Automatically

If you have enough space on the iPod, you can set iTunes to download your entire music library automatically. Alternatively, automatically download selected music by playlist, artist, album or genre.

Transfer Your Music Library

i Image courtesy Apple

Connect the iPod to iTunes and select its icon to open its menu. Select Music in the Settings area.

i Image courtesy Apple

Check the Sync Music button and select Entire Music Library. If available, check the box next to music videos to include videos in the download. If you've made changes to the iPod's settings, select Apply and then Sync to download the library; if you haven't made changes, select Sync.


If your music library is larger than the free space on the iPod, you see an overcapacity message at the bottom of the screen. If you don't have enough space, switch to adding selected music or make a manual transfer.

Transfer Selected Music

i Image courtesy Apple

Select the iPod's icon and open Music in the Settings area. Select the Sync Music button and then check the Selected Playlists, Artists, Albums and Genres button. If you're given the option to include music videos and you want to add them to the download, check the Include Music Videos box.

i Image courtesy Apple

Select the music you want to add from the Playlists, Artists, Genres or Albums areas by checking its boxes. When you've chosen your selection, select Sync. If you've made changes to the iPod's settings, select Apply and then Sync.


  • The capacity bar at the bottom of the screen shows how the music selection affects available space. If you go over capacity, remove music from the list to make the download fit.
  • If you have free space on the iPod after your selection and want to fill it, check the Automatically Fill Free Space With Songs button. ITunes downloads your selection and then fills remaining space with random music from your library.
  • As well as creating your own playlists, you can also set rules in iTunes to make Smart Playlists that update automatically when you add new music. 

Download Music Manually

To download just a few tracks or albums to the iPod, make a manual transfer.

i Image courtesy Apple

Go to the music you want to download in iTunes. You can add a track, album or artist. Drag the music up to the iPod's icon to open the iPod's menu at the side of the screen.

i Image courtesy Apple

Drag the music down to the iPod's name in the Devices area of the side menu. When the iPod highlights blue, release your mouse to drop the music and transfer it to the device.


  • If you can't manually download music to the iPod, select its icon in iTunes and open its Summary menu. Check the Manually Manage Music or Manually Manage Music and Videos box in the Options area, depending on the model of iPod. You can also check this option to override automatic download settings in iTunes and control all downloads manually. 
  • To add music without dragging and dropping, select the track, album or artist and right-click it. Select Add to Playlist, select the iPod in the list that opens and wait for iTunes to download the music. 
  • Unlike other iPods, the iPod Touch has an online connection, allowing you to download music purchases from iTunes from the device. Open the Music app and tap Store. Tap More and then Purchased. Select Music, tap Not On This iPod and go to the music you want to download. Tap the cloud icon to add it to the iPod.