How to Sync iPhone to Computer in macOS Catalina

The macOS Catalina sync iPhone has become a buzzword lately due to Apple removing the iTunes app from the Catalina update for Macs. This guide shows how to get your iPhone synced in macOS Catalina in absence of iTunes.

Roger Smith Last Updated: Apr. 20, 2020

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iTunes has been everyone’s favorite app to sync their iPhones to their computers. If you are a long-time or even a short-time iPhone user, you have likely synced your iPhone with your computer at least once. With the macOS Catalina update, though, Apple has removed the iTunes app and it no longer is available on Mac machines.

The question now is how do you sync your iPhone with your Mac that runs macOS Catalina?

Well, Apple has taken care of it for you and they have developed a built-in method on your Mac that lets you sync the contents of your iOS-based devices. This does not require opening any apps and gets the job done with extreme ease. Also, in case you do not find the new method of syncing iPhone with Mac to be convenient for you, you can always use an easy to use a third-party app to sync your iPhone.

Sync iPhone with Finder

The iPhone sync feature in macOS Catalina is available in the Finder app. It is the file manager that you use on your Mac to browse around your files. With the introduction of the iPhone sync feature, you can now click on a few options in the Finder to get your iPhone synced with your machine.

The following are the full steps on how to do it.

Step 1. Plug-in your iPhone to your Mac using a USB cable.

Step 2. Your iPhone will appear in the left sidebar of the Finder window. Click on it to open its menu.

Step 3. If this is the first time you are connecting your iPhone to your Mac, a prompt will appear with two options in it on your iPhone. Tap on Trust in the prompt to allow your Mac to communicate with your iPhone.

Allow the prompt on your iPhone

Allow the prompt on your iPhone

Step 4. Select what you would like to sync from your iPhone to your Mac. Ensure the Sync option at the top is enabled. Then click on the Apply button at the bottom to begin syncing your device.

Sync the iPhone in Catalina using Finder

Sync the iPhone in Catalina using Finder

You will soon have all of your iPhone’s contents available on your Mac. That is how you do macOS Catalina iPhone sync with the new method.

Where Did iTunes Go in macOS Catalina

With iTunes going away in Catalina, you might want to know where you are going to find the features that were available in the iTunes app. Apple actually has not removed any of the iTunes’ features but they have placed them in other apps and locations on the Mac.


All iTunes music files now go into the newly launched Music app in macOS Catalina. This is now your go-to app for listening and organizing the music tracks on your Mac.


Podcasts was also a feature in iTunes and it now gets its own standalone app in Catalina. You will find an app named Podcasts in the Catalina that should let you access, subscribe, and manage your podcasts on your Mac.


You now also have a new TV app to let you access the iTunes’ TV feature in macOS Catalina on your Mac. This should provide you with the same features as the TV feature did in iTunes.

Bonus Tip: Backup iPhone to Computer with Third-Party App

Even though the new Finder method should help you sync your iPhone with your Mac, many users may not find it convenient like it was back in the iTunes days. If you are one of those users and you are looking for an easy way to back up your iPhone with your Mac, look no further as we have got an excellent app for you.

Meet AnyTrans for iOS, an app that allows you to sync the full contents of your iPhone with your Macs. It has an iTunes like interface, actually much better than that that lets you sync the files, videos, photos, and anything else you have on your iPhone with your Mac. The app works on Windows machines as well if you want to use it on a PC.

The following is how you use it to sync your iPhone in macOS Catalina:

Step 1. Download and install AnyTrans for iOS on your Mac.

Free Download

Free Download

* 100% Clean & Safe

Free Download * 100% Clean & Safe

AnyTrans for iOS main interface

AnyTrans for iOS main interface

Step 2. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a compatible cable. When the app recognizes your device, click on the option that says Backup Manager in the left sidebar. That is where you manage your iPhone sync options.

Open Backup Manager in AnyTrans for iOS

Open Backup Manager in AnyTrans for iOS

Step 3. On the following screen, you will find several options to sync your iPhone. Find the option that says Full Backup and click on it to create a full backup of your iPhone.

Create a full backup of the iPhone

Create a full backup of the iPhone

Step 4. Optionally, you can add a password to the backup of your iPhone. If you do not want to do it, simply click on Next to proceed.

Add password protection to the iPhone backup

Add password protection to the iPhone backup

Step 5. Wait while the app syncs your iPhone’s content with your Mac. This may take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour depending on the amount of content you have got on your iPhone.

iPhone being synced with your Mac

iPhone is synced with your Mac

Please wait with patience until the backing up process is finished. A full backup containing all of your iPhone’s files is now available on your Mac running macOS Catalina. You can check the data and files you have backed up at any time.

That is how you sync an iPhone in macOS Catalina using a third-party app.

The Bottom Line

If you have just updated your Mac to macOS Catalina and you are not sure how to sync your iPhone with your Mac, the above guide will help you with it. It shows multiple ways to sync iPhone in Catalina on your Mac.

Roger Smith

Work for iMobie team for 5 years as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iOS or Android related issues.