How to sync your iPhone and iPad to your Mac running macOS Catalina without iTunes

With macOS Catalina, syncing with the Finder is similar to syncing with iTunes.

Before you use the Finder to sync content to your iOS or iPadOS device, consider using iCloud, Apple Music, or similar services to keep content from your Mac or PC in the cloud. This way, you can access your music, photos, and more on your devices when you aren’t near your computer. If you use iCloud or other services like Apple Music to keep your content up to date across all of your devices, some syncing features through the Finder might be turned off.

What can you sync with the macOS Catalina’s Finder:

• Albums, songs, playlists, movies, TV shows, podcasts, books, and audiobooks
• Photos and videos
• Contacts and calendars

To sync or remove content using the Finder:

  1. Open a Finder window and connect your device to your computer using a USB cable.
  2. Your device appears in the sidebar of the Finder window. Click the device to select it.
  3. If prompted, trust your device.
  4. Select the type of content that you want to sync or remove. To turn syncing on for a content type, select the checkbox next to Sync.
  5. Select the checkbox next to each item that you want to sync.
  6. Click the Apply button in the lower-right corner of the window. If syncing doesn’t start automatically, click the Sync button.

To sync your content using Wi-Fi:
1. After you set up syncing with the Finder using USB, you can set up the Finder to sync to your device with Wi-Fi instead of USB.
2. Connect your device to your computer with a USB cable, then open a Finder window and select your device.
3. Select “Show this [device] when on Wi-Fi.”
4. Click Apply.

When the computer and the device are on the same Wi-Fi network, the device appears in the Finder. The device syncs automatically whenever it’s plugged in to power.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve used Finder syncing with multiple iPhones and iPads via USB cable and Wi-Fi. It’s easy and it works well!


  1. It’s not working for me. iPhone does not show up in the Finder and I have also lost use of my Harmon Kardon SoundSticks. Multiple restarts, unplugging and replugging have had no effect. Bugger!

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