Manage your iPhone on a Mac with AnyTrans, an alternative to iTunes

If iTunes is not to your liking, there are alternative apps such as AnyTrans

Not everyone likes iTunes and while it is very simple, some people say it tries to do too much and has become bloated. AnyTrans is an alternative that gives you more control and features.

AnyTrans is available for the Apple Mac and Windows PCs., and it is able to manage both iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, and Android devices. There are four versions of the app - Mac/iOS, Mac/Android, PC/iOS and PC/Android.

I am mainly using the the Mac/iOS version, but I did take a quick look at the Mac/Android version. That has fewer features, but it is useful for people that have a Mac and an Android phone and want to move files between them. There isn’t any native support for Android phones in macOS, so AnyTrans is useful.

The Mac/iOS version has features that overlap iTunes, but it also has a lot of features that iTunes does not have. Even if you use iTunes to manage your iPhone and iPad, AnyTrans could still be very useful.

AnyTrans app for the Apple Mac

Browse iTunes media

AnyTrans lets you browse the media in your iTunes library and there are filters to list the music, playlists, films, TV programmes, podcasts, books and audiobooks. Items can be sorted by name, artist, album and so on by clicking the column headers.

It does not play media files, but items can be sent to the Mac, which lets you save the file to disk, or sent to the iPhone or iPad, if it is not already on the device.

AnyTrans app for the Apple Mac is an iTunes alternative

The media browser and manager isn’t that useful if you have iTunes and have synced everything anyway.

AnyTrans lets you browse the contents of the iPhone at a file level and you can browse the System or Storage.

Create and browse backups

AnyTrans shows the backups of iOS devices stored on the Mac and it can also back up the iPhone and iPad itself, either wired or wirelessly. Scheduled backups that occur wirelessly between the Mac and iPhone are useful. It is even possible to create a Wi-Fi hotspot so both the Mac and iPhone/iPad are on the same network and can be backed up.

Browse backups and retrieve files with AnyTrans for the Apple Mac

iTunes does that, but AnyTrans goes further and it enables you to open backups and browse the contents. If you had a note stored in the Notes app and it was accidentally deleted, you could open a backup, select the Notes app and view the note. It can even transfer items, notes and other things, to the Mac and they can be saved to disk.

Download and transfer media

The app can download audio and video from the web and it supports a lot of popular sites, like YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe and many more. All you need to do is to visit the page containing the media, such as a YouTube video, and copy the URL. Switch to AnyTrans and the URL is automatically grabbed from the clipboard. It can then be downloaded and saved to disk.

Downloaded media files can then be transferred to the iPhone or iPad very easily. I downloaded a YouTube video, sent it to the iPhone and it was ready to play in the new TV app. It took just a few easy mouse clicks. Similarly, I sent a music track to the iPhone and it appeared in Music app ready to play.

iPhone vs Android phone

iOS Mover is an interesting feature and it enables you to connect both an iPhone and an Android phone to the Mac. You can then transfer music, movies, calendars, messages and more from the Android phone to the iPhone.

AnyTrans app for the Apple Mac is an iTunes alternative

I plugged in a Samsung Galaxy S6 and an iPhone 6 and transferred the music from one to the other. It worked fine and it appeared in the music library in the Music app on the iPhone.

Final thoughts

AnyTrans is free for 7 days and to transfer 50 items, whichever comes first. This gives you the opportunity to try it and see if it suits you better than iTunes. (iMobie supplied a license code so I could test it.)

The app has some very useful features, but it is a manager and not a player, so you still need iTunes to play your music, videos and podcasts. It is great for browsing backups and recovering files from them, such as items you may have deleted. It is also handy for transferring items from an Android phone tyo an iPhone, or from an iPhone to the Mac.

There were a few glitches and it can manage iCloud, but it will not do this if 2FA (two factor authentication) is enabled. I didn’t want to disable this security feature, so I didn’t try that part of the app. I also saw a few glitches in the interface and a message box in a foreign language.

Overall, it is a useful tool if you don’t like iTunes or need more control and features.

App: AnyTrans 
Price: $39.99 (money back guarantee if you don’t like it)
By: iMobie
Size: 151MB installed
Verdict: A few rough edges, but a good alternative to iTunes



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