iTunes & Big Sur

Another question about upgrading to Big Sur. Will iTunes Version, which is the latest that allows me to work with iPhone/iPad directly on a desktop Mac, run in Big Sur?

If not, how can I manage my i devices from my desktop running Big Sur?


As you know, iTunes was end-of-lifed many years ago and the Music app does not sync devices.

Instead, it’s done from the Finder. Plug your iPhone/iPad into the computer with its USB cable and unlock it (to enable USB communication). Then open a Finder window. You should see it appear as a “location” in the sidebar:

If you then click on it, you’ll see the device sync tabs that you used to see in iTunes:

This is from Catalina, but I would assume that Big Sur does it the same way.


I was looking into upgrading to Big Sur but one hurdle I found out is that due to the small space on internal hard drives (SSD) in newer iMacs, I was using TuneSpan to move off movies and music to an external drive. The TuneSpan people recommended Unspanning all your files before upgrading, but that is not even physically possible. I worry more about messing up curated playlists than with my movies. I assume music and movies that I bought from iTunes can be deleted and redownloaded, but I definitely will have backups of backups to make sure.

Still not sure how to do this and wanted to test things out on an external drive before the real thing.

That’s a good idea for movie purchases at least, because I’ve had a purchased movie leave the iTunes Store in the past and therefore I had no way to re-download (until the movie came back to the store later on.)

You must first make sure that the following is set in Finder->Preferences->Sidebar



I also am using Catalina but I do not move music to my iPhone in the Finder. I last did this about three weeks ago, all within the Music app. If it’s not supposed to happen this way, then my computer doesn’t know about it! My iPhone even shows up in the Music app sidebar.

In any case, I was very hesitant to sync it at all because it usually gives me duplicate tracks or messes up in some other annoying way. This time, everything went perfectly with no mess-ups! Miracle.

On my computer, my devices show up in the “Devices” section of the Music app’s sidebar, but when I select a device, I only see the list of tracks present on the device.

I assume you can use this interface to manually manage your music, by dragging tracked to and from the device.

But if you want anything more robust, you must click the “Sync Settings…” button in Music, which causes the corresponding Finder window to open.

The TV app is similar. You can see what’s on your device (and I think, manually manage video content), but sync’ing is primarily done via the Finder window.

Podcasts, Books and Photos have even less. Podcasts and Books have no way to see anything on your device. And Photos only lets you see the device’s camera roll (so you can import the images). In order to transfer anything from your Mac to the device must be through the Finder’s sync window.

Sorry, but I know what I did and I did not drag anything manually to my iPhone in Catalina. I am in the Music app and had the full “Sync Settings” window available to me, where I chose what music playlists I wanted to go over. I have never had the “Sync Settings” window open in Finder and have always used it within the Music app. YMMV.

Is Image Capture gone in Catalina and Big Sur?

It’s still there. Why do you ask? It doesn’t let you sync photos to an iOS device either. Like Photos, it can only read from a device’s camera roll.

Ah, good, I was worried it was gone from the way the comment was phrased. I’m pretty sure I’ve used it to transfer photos to my phone from my Mac before, but you’re right that it doesn’t sync.

My experience with Image Capture over many macOS and OS X versions is that it can read and erase photos on an iPhone, read from lots of other devices, but can not write photos, scans, and the like to anything but local files.

That is my experience as well. ImageCapture pulls FROM cameras and iOS devices INTO the Mac. If you want to go FROM Mac TO iOS device, you have to use Waltr or something similar. Waltr Pro is just about to be released, so you might want to wait for that, unless you need version 2’s compatibility with older OSes.

After working and searching for about a month I still have been unable to get permission to change anything in any version of 11, now up to 11.2.3, such Books app. Any suggestions?
Bill A

Nifty app —

Can you clarify what you mean by “change anything”? And is this related to iTunes (or its replacements, since it went away several versions of macOS ago?

I.e., l wanted to edit the Books spreadsheet but could not enter it so I went to the app Info and found no one had permission to read and write. I opened the small panel to make a change and was told I did not have permission to do that. Hm…

Opening Word, Excel and other apps I get a panel that says I don’t have permission to open it but on the second try it opens. ?

Making a bootable HD’s with Chronosync worked but is quite an exercise. I have used for years so had no real problems.

PS Disk Utility is sloooow, and it took Chronosync nine hours to
Mirror the Data to the new bootable hd.


My first Mac was a Mac Plus in 1986. Now using maxed out, top of the line Mini which cost me $1K after $800 trade in of modest Mini.

Lightroom never sees a Beachball! Very fast and well worth the $$$.

When you say “edit the Books spreadsheet,” do you mean editing the metadata on books that appear in the Books apps in list view? I don’t think you can do that within the app, and doing it outside the app would require Calibre.

That’s troubling indeed. Have you tried running Disk Utility’s First Aid to see if it finds any problems?