A comprehensive guide to getting around iTunes on your Windows 11 PC.
Having a Windows laptop and an Apple device can be a pain in the neck if you don’t know how to smoothly bridge the gap between the two. Fortunately, it isn’t as daunting as you might think it is. The iTunes app makes it notoriously easy to manage your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad’s entire media library on Windows.
Even if you have the latest iteration of Windows 11 installed on your PC, installing and using iTunes is still the easiest task ever. Here’s everything you need to know to get started with iTunes and manage your entire iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad media collection on a Windows 11 PC.
What is iTunes for PC?
The iTunes app for Windows lets you bring your entire iPhone library to your PC. If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, your tunes don’t have to stay on your Apple device only. With iTunes for PC, you get your music on your Windows computer as well. But that’s not all iTunes is good for.
You can also organize your music and download new music straight from your PC. You can also use iTunes to subscribe to Apple Music if you aren’t already a subscriber.
The iTunes app also provides you access to the iTunes store where you can buy or rent movies, music, TV shows, and audiobooks, or download free podcasts all from your Windows PC.
You can also sync your content from your computer to your Apple device using the iTunes app. In short, the iTunes app brings your whole world of entertainment from your iPhone to your computer and vice versa.
Downloading iTunes for Windows 11
For Windows 11, the iTunes app can be downloaded from the official Microsoft Store. Open the Microsoft Store and search for ‘iTunes’. Click the ‘Free’ button to download the iTunes app.
Once the download is complete, all you have to do is open the app. It’s one of the best perks of downloading an app from the Microsoft Store. There’s no separate installation process.
Using iTunes on Windows 11
Now, the first thing you should do is sign in to your Apple account on the iTunes app. Go to the menu bar and click the ‘Account’ menu option if the sign-in option doesn’t come on automatically.
Then, click ‘Sign in’ from the menu.
A ‘Sign in to the iTunes store’ dialog box will open. Then, enter your Apple ID and password and click ‘Sign in’.
You can also create a new Apple ID from the iTunes app itself. You’ll need an Apple ID if you want to buy items from the iTunes store. Click the ‘Create New Apple ID’ button at the bottom of the dialog box. Then, follow the instructions on the screen to create a new account. It includes entering information like an email address, password, and billing information (card and address details).
To start using iTunes, getting familiar with the interface is the foremost task you need to perform. When you open iTunes, it’ll open your Music library by default for the first time. But iTunes remembers your choice in the future and opens up whichever category you had opened last. To switch to other media types, i.e., Movies, Tv shows, etc., go to the toolbar below the menu bar and click the button that says ‘Music’.
A drop-down menu will appear with the options to open ‘Movies’, ‘TV Shows’, ‘Podcasts’, and ‘Audiobooks’. Click the option to navigate to the particular category.
You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + <1-5> where the numbers 1-5 denote the category as it appears in the drop-down menu. So, the shortcut Ctrl + 1 will take you to the Music library, Ctrl + 2 to the Movies, and so on.
For Music, your library consists of tracks that are a part of your Apple Music library and playlists or your iTunes purchases, or the music you’ve added from your computer. The left panel lets you browse your library and playlists.
You can also choose how to display the contents of your library from the upper part of the left panel. You can switch to Album view, Artist view, Songs, Genres, or keep it simple with the ‘Recently Added’ order.
iTunes app also lets you access the iTunes Store, Radio, Browse, and For You categories to add more music to your library. To switch categories, click the particular option from the toolbar.
For Podcasts, you have to first set up Podcasts in the iTunes app for your content from the Podcasts app to be available on your PC. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + 4 or click the ‘Podcasts’ option to switch to podcasts in the iTunes app.
The ‘Welcome to Podcasts’ screen will appear. all options will be selected by default, but you can choose which to keep and which to unselect before continuing. Then, click the ‘Continue’ button.
Your podcasts will appear in the podcast library. Although it might take a few minutes for the content to appear. If it’s still not appearing, try closing and restarting the iTunes app.
You can also download new content from the iTunes store from your PC itself. Go to the ‘Store’ tab.
Click the podcast you want to listen to. To listen to an episode, simply click the Play button.
To add it to your library, click the ‘Get’ button.
Adding Music, Movies to iTunes Library from PC
If you have any tracks or movies on your computer that are not on iTunes or you don’t want to purchase again, or you want music from your old CDs to be available on your Apple devices as well, iTunes has got your back. You can also add music or movies from your computer or even a CD to your iTunes library.
Adding Music from your Computer
When adding music from your computer, you can add individual music tracks or complete folders. When importing the folder, all music tracks in the folder and even in sub-folders will be added to your music library on iTunes. iTunes supports .mp3, .aiff, .wav, .aac, and .m4a file types for music files.
While you’re in the Music library, go to the ‘File’ option from the menu bar and click ‘Add File to Library’ or ‘Add Folder to Library’ from the menu.
The Open dialog box will open. Select the songs or folder you want to add to your music library and click ‘Open’. The music will be added to your library and you can sync it to your Apple device.
Adding Movies or Videos from your Computer
iTunes supports .mov, .m4v, and .mp4 file formats for video files. Switch to the ‘Movie’ category and go to the ‘File’ menu option.
Then, select the ‘Add File from Library’ or ‘Add Folder from Library’ option from the menu.
The ‘Open’ dialog box will open. Select the video file or folder you want to add to your library.
The file will be available in the ‘Home Videos’ section of the Movies library in the iTunes app.
But you can change its media type to move it to movies or even TV shows depending on the type of video it is. Go to the video title and hover over it. A three-dot menu will appear; click it.
Then, select ‘Video Info’ from the three-dot menu that expands.
A dialog box for Video Info will open. You can also change the name of the video and other information like year, genre, director, etc., from here that gives you more control over sorting your library. Go to the ‘Options’ tab.
Then, click the drop-down menu next to ‘media kind’ and select one of the available categories and click ‘OK’.
Adding Music from a CD
iTunes also lets you import content from CDs. So, if you’re looking to digitize your CD collection, look no further. You can add all the tracks to your iTunes library and listen to them at any time without having to enter the disc. You can even get them on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
Insert the CD into your computer’s disc drive. The CD content should open automatically. But if it doesn’t, click the CD icon at the top.
By default, a dialog box asking if you want to import the CD into your iTunes library will appear. Click ‘Yes’ to proceed.
But you can change what happens when you enter the CD from your preferences. Click the ‘Edit’ option from the menu bar and go to ‘Preferences’.
Go to the ‘General’ tab. Then, click the textbox next to ‘When you insert a CD’ to open the drop-down menu. The options include: ‘Show CD’, ‘Play CD’, ‘Ask to Import CD’, ‘Import CD’, and ‘Import CD and Eject’. Select the option and click ‘OK’. And your choice will be applicable next time you insert a CD.
To manually import, click the ‘Import CD’ option towards the top-right corner of the screen.
The Import Settings dialog box will open. Click ‘OK’ to import.
This will import all the tracks on the CD to your iTunes library. Click ‘Stop Importing’ to stop at any time.
To import selected songs, uncheck the songs you don’t want to import. If there is no uncheck option, go to the menu bar and click the ‘Edit’ option. Then, go to ‘Preferences’.
From the ‘General’ tab, select the option ‘List View checkboxes’ and click OK.
Checkboxes will appear next to tracks. Click the checkbox next to the songs you want to unselect. Then, click the ‘Import CD’ option.
You can also use iTunes as a media player and play the songs on the CD without importing them to your iTunes library. Simply double-click the song to play it.
Syncing Content to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod
You can sync or transfer the content you’ve added to your iTunes library to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. There are two ways to sync your device: using a USB cable, or over Wi-Fi.
Syncing iTunes with your Apple Device is also the only way to officially transfer content from your computer to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod. You can sync the content automatically or manually.
Syncing Content Using a USB Cable
Connect your Apple device to your computer via the USB cable. Make sure your device is unlocked.
A dialog box will appear on your computer asking you to access the information on the iPhone or iPad. Click ‘Continue’.
Then, a prompt will appear on your Apple device. Tap ‘Trust’ on the prompt.
All these prompts only appear the first time you connect your device to the computer. If you’re not connecting for the first time, you’d skip through these
For first-time users, iTunes might also ask you to set up your device. This won’t affect any data on your device. It’s only for the sake of setting up the device on iTunes so iTunes would remember it in the future.
Click your device icon near the top-left of the iTunes window.
Now, your device might start auto-syncing as these are the default settings.
Go to the left panel and select the type of content you want to sync.
Click the ‘Sync <ContentType>’ tickbox to sync the content.
For all types of content, you also get to choose further options like what content you want to sync. For example, for music, you can select whether you want to sync your entire music library or selected playlists.
Repeat these steps for all content types on the left panel. When you select the content, the bar at the bottom changes to reflect the space your Apple device will have left after the sync is complete. Click ‘Apply’ to sync the content you have selected.
The content you have selected will auto-sync the next time you connect your Apple device. You can also manually sync content even when auto-sync is on.
Syncing Content over Wi-Fi
iTunes also lets you sync content between your Windows PC and Apple device over Wi-Fi. When you choose to sync content over Wi-Fi, the content will be synced whenever both your Windows PC and the Apple device are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
To enable Wi-Fi syncing, first, connect your Apple device to your computer using the USB cable.
Click the device icon that appears towards the top-left corner of the iTunes window. Go to the ‘Summary’ tab from the left panel.
Scroll down to ‘Options’ and select the tickbox for ‘Sync with this [device] over Wi-Fi’. Then, click the ‘Apply’ button.
When Wi-Fi sync is on, you’ll notice that the icon for the device remains on the iTunes window even when you have disconnected the USB cable. The icon will remain until you click the ‘Eject’ button.
Even when you click the ‘Eject’ button, Wi-Fi syncing remains on, only the icon disappears. The icon for your device will appear again when you open iTunes next time and if the PC and the Apple device are on the same network.
Now, once you’ve enabled Wi-Fi syncing, how does it actually sync? There are several ways you can sync over Wi-Fi when your computer is on.
If you have automatic syncing on, iTunes would use the same sync settings for different content categories as you selected for the USB cable. To turn on Wi-Fi syncing, you can either connect your Apple device to a charger and turn on the plug point. When the computer is on, and both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, this will trigger syncing over Wi-Fi.
Another way to begin syncing over Wi-Fi is to click the ‘device’ icon from the iTunes app. Go to the ‘Summary’ tab from the left panel. Then, click the ‘Sync’ button towards the bottom right corner of the window.
You can also manually sync content over Wi-Fi.
Manually Syncing the Content
If you don’t want to auto-sync, you can disable it and sync manually instead. Even when auto-syncing is on, you can always manually sync content. Manual syncing gives you more control but it’s slower than automatic syncing. It works with both USB syncing or syncing over a Wi-Fi connection.
But you can only manually add music, movies, TV shows, and podcasts to your device. Manual syncing doesn’t let you add photos, contacts, or any other info.
To disable auto-sync, go to ‘Summary’ from the left panel. Then, scroll down to ‘Options’ and uncheck the option for ‘Automatically sync when this [device] is connected’. Then, click the ‘Apply’ button.
For manual syncing, you can drag and drop the items to your device individually. From the iTunes window, select the category – music, movie, TV show, etc. – from the drop-down menu.
Then, select and drag the item and drop it to the device on the left panel.
Or, go to the item and hover on it. Then, click the ‘three-dot’ menu that appears. Go to ‘Add to Device’ from the menu and select the device from the sub-menu.
You can also manually delete the items. Just go to your device and select the item. Then, click the ‘Delete’ button.
Use iTunes to Back Up your iPhone or iPad on your Windows 11 PC
iTunes also lets you back up your Apple device to your PC. If your iCloud doesn’t have enough space for your backups, you can keep a backup of your Apple device on your PC and restore the device from the backup in case you ever lose access to your data. Or, when you’re changing devices, you can use iTunes backups to transfer data from the old device to the new device.
Connect the device you want to back to your PC and on iTunes.
Then, click the device icon towards the top left corner of the iTunes window.
Go to ‘Summary’ from the navigation panel on the left. Under ‘Automatically Backup’, select ‘This Computer’.
You can also encrypt your backup. Your account passwords, Health, and HomeKit data are only backed up when you encrypt the backup. Select the tickbox for ‘Encrypt local backup’.
A ‘Set Password’ dialog box will appear. Create a password for the backup. This password will be required when you try to restore your backup. If you forget the password, the backup will be lost to you.
Then, click the ‘Back Up Now’ button to manually back up the device. But when automatic backup is on, your device backs up when you connect it to the computer.
Instead of backing up locally on the computer, you can also use iTunes to backup to iCloud. Select the option for ‘iCloud’ under Backups and click the ‘Back Up Now’ button.
To restore the device to a previous backup, click the ‘Restore Backup’ option.
There you go. There’s a lot of stuff you can do with iTunes on your Windows 11 PC. From getting your entire device library on your PC to adding stuff from your PC to your Apple device, iTunes can do it all. And hopefully, this guide will help you through it.