One of iTunes’ biggest failings is that it’s not as intuitive or as flexible to use as it could be. KiwiG PhonTunes is one of a number of tools that aim to fill in the gaps in its functionality, but what sets PhonTunes apart from the competition is that it’s completely free to use – no hidden spyware, and no missing functionality unless you purchase a license.
As its name implies, PhonTunes is optimised for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, but it’s also compatible – to a degree – with Android devices too. We say to a degree because although it worked fine with some, it was decidedly flaky with others. That could be down to the device, but it’s worth bearing in mind. At least the app is free, though, so there’s nothing to lose by trying.
What PhonTunes offers is a drag-and-drop way of transferring songs between iTunes, computer, iOS device and Android. It takes but a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the interface: on the left you’ll see folders representing your PC’s iTunes library and other local music. The middle pane contains a list of the music in the currently selected folder, sorted in a rather strange way. Sadly, despite the presence of sort fields like artist and album, you can’t currently elect to sort your music using any of these. Thankfully the search box makes it easy to filter the tracks shown.
On the right is a collapsible pane allowing you to browse one of your currently connected devices, with tabs on the right letting you switch between them. How you browse depends on your device: Android users can choose browse the contents of the Music folder on both internal and external storage cards; iOS users can browse their iTunes library only.
You can select individual tracks or entire selections in the usual way, then use the To PC or To Device buttons to move music between the currently selected PC library and device. Look out for the Transfer to Other Device button next to the Search button under the currently selected device – this makes it easy to transfer music directly between phones and tablets, Android or iOS.
Other features include listening to tracks using a new built-in player, the ability to delete individual or selected tracks, plus an option for editing the properties of individual songs – right-click a song or selection to access most of these options.
Version 2.5 has been released with the following changes:
+ Local music management added, for access to music outside iTunes.
+ Music player
+ Redesigned user interface
+ More iPod modes supported
+ iTunes no longer required for Android devices.
At last, a free and – largely – effective way to shunt music quickly around all the devices you own.