How to Copy Playlist From iPhone, iPad, or iPod to iTunes on Computer

I went through the trouble of making a killer playlist on my Apple iPod. This playlist took quite a bit of time to create and contained hundreds of songs I currently love listening to. After jamming out to this playlist, I thought “Wow, these songs I selected would make a great playlist for when I listen to music on my computer!”

I attached my iPod to my computer, fired up iTunes and created a new playlist called “Morgan”. I then selected the playlist on my iPod and tried to drag and drop them to the playlist on the computer. It didn’t work though. iTunes doesn’t let you copy a playlist from your iPod to your local computer. Nor will it allow you to drag individual songs to from an iPod to a computer playlist.

What a bummer! I just had to find a workaround for this. Fortunately, I was able to find one rather quickly. You can do the following.

Note: This tutorial has been revised to reflect iTunes version 12.

  1. Be sure you have enabled the Menu Bar.
  2. Connect your iPhone, iPod, or iPad to your computer.
  3. From iTunes on your computer, select the icon for your device at the upper-left portion of the window.
  4. Select the playlist you want to export under the “On My Device” section.
    Select Playlist
  5. Select “File” > “Library” > “Export…” to export the playlist to a text file. Give the export a name, then select “Save“.
    iTunes Export Playlist
  6. Select the Music icon located at the upper-left portion of the screen to switch back to the computer’s library view.
  7. Select “File” > “Library” > “Import Playlist…“, then select the text file created in step 5.
    iTunes Import Playlist

There you have it. You have successfully added a playlist from your Apple iOS device to iTunes on your computer.

FAQ

Why do I get an error that says “Some of the songs in the file were not imported because they could not be found”.

This tutorial assumes that the actual music files exist on your PC as well as the device. If they don’t, you will need to transfer the music files to the PC you’re working with. If they only exist on your device, you will need to research how to extract music files from your device.

Comments

  1. pv says

    A big thank you. You saved me a ton of work. I lost all 12 of my playlists on iTunes….some of them with 500-600 songs on each list. Took the computer to the Genius bar guy who said he couldn’t locate them and that he didn’t know of any method for playlist recovery. I’m thinking about sending him this link so he can educate others in the store.

    Great work.

  2. Mike Palin says

    Brilliant piece, worked for me and saved me so much time as I really expected to have to transfer each individual song to respective playlist(s).
    Thank you, highly recommend this.

  3. sil newton says

    Been looking for this advice for ages. Thanks for this clear explaination. You need to check – prevent from syncing with itunes before you start – but this worked easily.

  4. Mark says

    Thanks for this info. I found a similar solution but it must have been for an older version of iTunes because it said to right-click the playlist then select export. But there is no export playlist option when you right-click. I wouldn’t have thought to find it under File/Library.

  5. says

    I haven’t done it in a while, so I’m no expert on that. But there are applications that allow you to. Do a Google search on “extract music from iphone”.

  6. Ilu says

    Hello. I have a problem. When i select my Playlist from My Device, i Export it, i go to Music section, then i import it, i choose my Playlist i saved, and it shows this: “Some of the songs in the file “Songs.txt” were not imported because they could not be found.” It writes “some” but the playlist is totally empty. HELP! :/

  7. Leigh Anne says

    What happens when the “Export Playlist” tab is not enabled? I can see it, but it’s greyed out and won’t allow me to click on it.

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