The question of how to sync apps between iTunes and your iPhone has come up numerous times before in the comments section of other articles I have written related to iPhone’s or iPod Touches so I figured it was time to write an article to describe how to accomplish this. You need to first transfer the apps downloaded directly to your iPhone to iTunes before syncing. Below I describe the warning message that will have you asking this question followed by how to transfer the apps from the iPhone to iTunes before actually syncing with iTunes.

Are You Sure You Want To Sync Apps Warning:

Are You Sure You Want To Sync Apps?

Entire Warning Message: Are you sure you want to sync apps? All existing apps and their data on the iPhone “iPhone name” will be replaced with apps from this iTunes library.

To accomplish the above without actually losing all of your apps happens to be fairly simple. Open iTunes with your iPhone or iPod Touch connected to the computer via USB. First I would suggest backing up the iPhone and wait for the synchronization with iTunes to complete. Once that is finished click on File in the top navigation menu of iTunes and select “Transfer Purchases From iPhone” from the drop down menu as shown in the below example image.

Transfer Purchases From iPhone:

Transfer Purchases From iPhone

Once you have selected Transfer Purchases From iPhone the applications you have downloaded directly to your iPhone will begin transferring from the iPhone to the computer via iTunes as shown in the below example image. Notice the top of iTunes where it says “Copying Breeders Cup” which is an application that was on my iPhone but not synchronized with iTunes.

Transferring Purchases From iPhone To Computer Via iTunes:

Transferring Purchases From iPhone To Computer Via iTunes

Once the applications have all been transferred to iTunes click on the iPhone in the left navigation of iTunes followed by clicking on Apps in the navigation bar that will display after clicking on your iPhone. Put a check in the box next to Sync Apps which will again pop up the warning about deleting all existing apps. This time click the Sync Apps button to synchronize the applications with iTunes which will begin syncing all of the apps with iTunes as shown in the example image below.

Sync iPhone Apps With iTunes:

Sync iPhone Apps With iTunes

You can now manage the iPhone desktop organization via the iTunes interface.

Best iPhone Apps (Paperback)

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43 Responses to “How To Sync Apps On iPhone Without Deleting Apps Already On iPhone”
  1. Ned K. says:

    This is EXACTLY the info I needed. Thanks for posting!

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Ned,

    Glad it helped you out. Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback!

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  2. Tracy says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for this step-by-step guide. I was losing my mind trying to figure this out.

    Really saved the day.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Tracy,

    No problem. Thanks for taking the time to post feedback.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  3. David says:

    Exactly what I needed also (and would have never been able to figure that out from iTunes alone)
    Thanks,
    David

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello David,

    Good to hear! Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

    Terry Reply:

    Please read on…. I appreciate any help you can give me…
    I always download my iphone apps directly to my computer via itunes. This is what I need to do:

    I want to transfer my new app purchases FROM iTUNES ON MY COMPUTER to my iPhone Via iTunes:

    WITHOUT ERASING ALL MY APPS that are already on the phone!! It puts fresh copies of my d/l apps on my iphone but then all the configurations and data are lost! How can I transfer these apps from my itunes on my pc to the iphone without having to reconfigure every app on my iphone.

    thaks for any help!
    Terry

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Terry,

    Answered below. In the future one comment will do the trick.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  4. Terry says:

    I always download my iphone apps directly to my computer via itunes. This is what I need to do:

    I want to transfer my new app purchases FROM iTUNES ON MY COMPUTER to my iPhone Via iTunes:

    WITHOUT ERASING ALL MY APPS that are already on the phone!! It puts fresh copies of my d/l apps on my iphone but then all the configurations and data are lost! How can I transfer these apps from my itunes on my pc to the iphone without having to reconfigure every app on my iphone.

    thaks for any help!
    Terry

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Terry,

    One message would suffice. First backup the iPhone to iTunes to make sure you can restore if you run into issues. Try right clicking on the iPhone in iTunes and selecting transfer purchases. After that move forward with syncing the iPhone to iTunes which will sync in both directions. Make sure to first check sync all apps via the iDevice configuration menu in iTunes.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

    Pat Reply:

    Alex,

    I was following this process for my iphone 4 and when I check the sync apps check box, I get the “Are you sure you want to sync apps…” pop up. I click the Sync Apps and then I notice two things:

    1. my iphone “desktops” in itunes changes where it doesnt show any og the groups or apps that I have on my iphone.
    2. the capacity for apps goes from .85GB to .35GB so it wants to remove the apps.

    At that point I select “Revert” from to bring me back. I have run a back up of my phone as well as transfered my purchases (my PC is authorized).

    So I would like to sync my apps w/ itunes on my PC, but I dont want to loose my layout, apps, or info associated with the apps.

    Here is some additional info:.
    I have two iphones, 1 for work and 1 for personal use. So I don’t know if that makes a difference or not.

    Thanks,

    – P

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Pat,

    You have to transfer the apps from the iPhone to iTunes before you sync. If you have already done that then there is an issue with that process or you do not have it set to sync all apps.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  5. Leon says:

    Thanks for this tutorial.

    Can you confirm whether data from my apps will not be erased when syncing to a new library? (After transferring purchases from iPhone to that library). As iTunes says the data will be lost when I click to sync apps. I don’t want iTunes to replace new copies of all my existing apps losing all my settings, game progress etc.

    Thanks

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Leon,

    All of your settings, etc. should not be deleted. Make sure you do a complete backup of the iPhone before you take the steps and worst case you can restore from backup.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  6. Kimsland says:

    I need to ‘Authorize This Computer’ in iTunes first, but since my computer presently doesn’t have Internet access, I suppose I’ll wait.

    By the way, obviously transfer ‘Purchases’, means all those free Apps I’ve downloaded directly to my iPhone? (actually I’m sure it does).

    Thanks for the info, I’ll get it done soon. Basically I prefer to use Windows to do all this moving of Apps icons around, sliding on a tiny screen is irritating at times ;)

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Kimsland,

    No problem. Thanks for taking the time to post feedback.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  7. Venkat says:

    Thank you very much for the tip. It saved my life.. Thanks.

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Venkat,

    No problem at all. Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  8. daxMD says:

    Why is it when i click”transfer purchases” a pop up say that not all of my iphone apps were copied to itunes? it says 100 of my apps were’nt transferred.

    So i did not proceed with the sync…

    pleas help…

    CHEERS

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello daxMD,

    Is your iPhone jailbroken? If so do you have AppSync installed?

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  9. DaxMD says:

    Hi Alex,

    Yes, my phone is jailbroken. And i dont have appsync(i think) :).
    I have apps in my phone that are not from itunes. I would really like to sync them also. Is there a way?

    Thanks and CHEERS!

    [Reply]

    DaxMD Reply:

    Hi Alex,

    Ive just check that i have AppSync installed. What now should i be doin to sync my Iphone Apps to Itunes?

    CHEERS!

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello DaxMD,

    It should be working with AppSync. I would verify if you have the correct version of AppSync installed. Unfortunately I was able to sync signed and unsigned apps without issue using AppSync so not sure I am going to be much help. Let us know when you find a resolution.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  10. DaxMD says:

    Hi Alex, i have OS4 running on my iphone and ver 4 Appsync installed. I guess im ONE of the unlucky once huh… :(

    Than you for replying my friend.
    Cheers!

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello DaxMD,

    I have never heard of this not working so I would assume there is another issue though I am not sure what it is. Once you find a resolution please let us know what it is so others looking for the same answer will find it here. Good luck man and I am sure you will get it worked out.

    Sorry I am not much help on this one…

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  11. obamaIII says:

    so if I backup my ipod will all the data on the apps be saved as well?

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello obamaIII,

    Yes everything should be saved unless you have other issues going on. I always suggest to make a manual backup as well before performing any work or maintenance on the backups on Windows or iPhone backup process.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  12. obamaIII says:

    never mind I just tried it… hopefully it works one way or another

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello obamaIII,

    There is a reply button so comments can stay underneath the same initial post and don’t clutter up the entire button so if you ever happen to leave a comment on one of are articles in the future it would be great if you could keep that in mind. Regardless of that though we are glad to know from your post below that you got your issues resolved.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  13. obamaIII says:

    yes!!!! thank u so much….. I wasnt going to sync apps cause I was afraid I would lose all information but up above you said that it wouldnt…. I did it and it worked… thanks again!!!!

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello obamaIII,

    No problem. Thanks for following up so we know you got the issue resolved.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  14. mimi says:

    PLEASE HELP ME!! I tried to “transfer purchased my apps from iphone” but it didnt work. What should i do? If i not mistaken the apps from the iphone should be transffered in itunes library when you click the ‘transfer purchased”??

    Am i right???? Thanks!! please reply! im new to it! THANKSSSS!!

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello mimi,

    Yes when you select transfer purchases it should transfer the apps from your iPhone to iTunes so they are not lost. You should also backup the iPhone so you have a valid backup to return to if necessary. We would need as many details as possible such as error messages and any other data that can be provided to assist in providing any useful assistance.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  15. macmac says:

    Hello. I’m afraid I need help…
    I wanted to put songs in my phone but I have apps that is not in my iTunes, so when I sync, it always says that the problem is that “my computer is not authorized”, but I’m signed in and I authorized it already, so what’s the problem? I don’t want my apps to get deleted, but I also want the songs! :(

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello macmac,

    Unfortunately I have not seen that problem unless there are already 5 other computers authorized and then you could run into this issue. If that is the case you have to clear all 5 authorized computers and begin authorizing computers again. Be careful doing this though as I believe you can only do it once a year or something like that. If that is not the cause then I am not sure what could be causing the problem. Once you find resolution let us know what it was so we can share with others.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  16. Manjot says:

    Hello,

    I downloaded some apps from apptrackr.cd and now Its in my Itunes. Now I want to transfer those apps to my Iphone but I did that ”transfer purchases…” but I dont know where they were transferede.. I have 4 Pages off apps and It transfered in 1 sec.. So I still get that messgage..

    Regards,

    Manjot

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello Manjot,

    A bit off subject and never used that site so don’t have an answer. Once you have the solution feel free to post it here so others looking for an answer will find it.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  17. ramzi says:

    Hi alex,

    I am on a business trip, but want to sync my apps… if I follow your instructions, will my music and photos be deleted… or only the apps will be affected… ???

    [Reply]

    ramzi Reply:

    sorry forgot to mention that it is a new computer

    [Reply]

    alex Reply:

    Hello ramzi,

    You should be able to not sync those items if you don’t want to sync them. As always though I recommend making sure you backup iTunes and the iPhone before changing any settings and that way if something doesn’t turn out the way you want it you can roll back without issue.

    Thanks.
    alex

    [Reply]

  18. ramzi says:

    Thank you alex,

    I will be sure to do that :)

    [Reply]

  19. Shashi says:

    Thanks Alex for this.

    Really lovely post…..It helps……Can you please let me know how to take songs from iTunes to PC as i cant do this.

    Help me on this one too.

    Look forward to hear from you.

    Shashi

    [Reply]

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