Understanding “Syncing iPhone with this iTunes library will replace media…” [FIX]

In one of the previous articles I gave you five different working methods of downloading music to iPhone. In that article I didn’t mentioned any possible problems which may occur while adding music to iPhone via iTunes. Today we’ll cover the reason why you might get a message “Syncing iPhone with this iTunes library will replace media from another iTunes library on Computer. An iPhone can only sync with one iTunes library at a time.” and what all that means. At the end I will provide 2 alternative ways of adding music to iPhone so the message above doesn’t bother you any more.

In most cases iTunes notifies you about the problem at the very unexpected moment. Just like in this case. You wish to add few music tracks on your iPhone, but iTunes tries to delete something instead. STOP! Let’s get it clear first!

It’s one of those moments when you realize that Apple had made iTunes usability as much painful as it was possible ones again. When Apple banned the ability to sync an iPhone with multiple libraries, they played a dirty trick on all iPhone users.

Syncing iPhone with this iTunes library will replace media

So, here is the first RULE of iTunes: “An iPhone can only sync with one iTunes library at a time”.

What does it mean? Just imagine the following situation. You used a computer at work to download music, ringtones, photos, etc. on your iPhone, but then decided to add some more music or ringtones using a home computer. In this case all the media content on your iPhone (which you previously added at work) will be “erased”… or actually “replaced” with the content from another iTunes library on your home computer.

This is how iTunes works, and this is why I hate SYNCHRONIZATION process in general. If I could occasionally add music files to my iPhone on multiple computers, I would be happy. And there are few ways (solutions) to make me happy, but let me explain the actual meaning of the message above first.

“Sync and Replace” – what exactly is gonna be deleted?

So, what that phrase means and what will be deleted on your iPhone? This is probably the main question you have at the moment. It’s so intimidating when iTunes offers to erase something on your iPhone. Moreover, the window on the picture above doesn’t really have any explanation of the word “media”, which is proposed to be Replaced.

Don’t worry! Nothing major is going to be deleted. Have a look at the chart below for better understanding of the word “media”.

To be Replaced:

  • Music
  • Movies
  • Audiobooks
  • Tones
To stay Untouched:

  • Applications
  • Contacts
  • Photos
  • Mail and iMessages
  • Settings and adjustments

Now you should have a clear understanding of the “media” which will be replaced when you press “Sync and Replace” button. All photos and contacts will stay untouched. The biggest concern for you should be the music, which was added to your iPhone earlier. If it’s a large collection, you’ll probably want to keep it. Then picking the “Sync and Replace” option is not a good idea. There are working solutions that we described below.

On the other hand, if you don’t care about the media on your iPhone, press “Sync and Replace”. You iPhone will be “tight” to iTunes library on that computer and new media downloaded over to the device. It means that next time you try to use iTunes at another computer, you’ll get the same warning message again.

Try to keep that in mind…

If you are still in doubt, not sure or scared to loose some info – just create a backup. Step-by-Step guide can be found here.

Solutions that work

Now let’s have a look at possible solutions, which can help to bypass the restriction applied by Apple. Our goal is to keep the original music files on your iPhone and add more despite the computer or iTunes library.

Solution 1: WALTR

WALTR - add music to iPad and iPhoneThe first and easiest solution to bypass the message “Syncing iPhone with this iTunes library will replace media from another iTunes library…” is to use an app called – WALTR (download link). It’s kind of an alternative to iTunes, which lets to add all sort of media to iPhone, iPad or iPod. Downloading music to iPhone had never been so easy before. All you do is drag and drop music files over WALTR window. Boom! No questions, no additional messages, no problems! It just works…

WALTR - add music to iPad and iPhone

WALTR is available for MAC and Windows users for as much as 40$. I know it’s not cheap, but you’ll have to believe me – it is an amazing app that every iPhone/iPad user MUST have. It allows to add Music, Videos, Ringtones and PDF files on any iOS device. In order to use WALTR you don’t even need to have iTunes installed on your computer.

This is NOT a paid advert. I do care about my readers. I do suggest only decent products.

Solution 2: Copy music from the iPhone to your computer first

In this method we will copy whole music library from iPhone to computer first, then add this music to iTunes (as well as new music tracks) and then Sync the new iTunes library with your iPhone. It might seem a bit more complicated, but this method is FREE and it also works, so you should know about it.

OK. How do you copy music from iPhone to computer? There are few apps that can do such trick. Below I’ll show you a free app called iFunBox (download link).

To transfer music library from iPhone to computer using iFunBox, follow these steps:

STEP 1 Download and install iFunBox. Connect iPhone to computer with a cable. Run iFunBox.

STEP 2 Go to Raw File System > iTunes_Control
Downloading music from iPhone to computer

STEP 3 There you’ll find a folder called Music. Drag and drop it to Desktop.
Sync and Replace music on iPhone

STEP 4 Open iTunes app. Drag and drop Music folder form Desktop to iTunes window. This way you get the “old” music form iPhone to iTunes on other computer.
Syncing iPhone with this iTunes library

STEP 5 Add “new” music by going to Files – Add to Library…
Add music to iTunes library

STEP 6 Highlight all music in the Library, then drag and drop it to your Device.
Transfer music to iPhone and replace media

STEP 7 Now again you’ll get the message “Syncing iPhone with this iTunes library will replace media from another iTunes…“. Just click on “Sync and Replace“.

This is it guys! Does it sound too complicated? I don’t think so. There are haters which like to abuse iPhone users for iOS simplicity. They are NOT right here! The simplicity of iOS is darkened by NOT intuitive interface of iTunes and whatever comes with it (restrictions, etc.). But ones you know how to go around these restrictions, iPhone becomes the best ultimate device.

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