One year ago, I shared a method to transfer your music collection to Apple Music without the hassle of a USB cable or a traditional computer—a particularly relevant solution for people like myself who had a #soloiPad (no PC or Mac) lifestyle. Using a Windows virtual machine and an annual iTunes Music Match subscription, I found a workaround that, while incurring additional, albeit minimal costs, proved effective.
The discontent surrounding the iTunes and USB cable requirement is a common sentiment, often cited as an iPhone drawback. Despite the rise of streaming services like Spotify, there remains a sizable audience preferring to enjoy their existing music library without committing to a monthly subscription.
This issue hit close to home when my dad sought a way to add songs to his iPhone without relying on iTunes. Drawing from my experience with a solution I adopted for my iPhone 14 Pro last year, I recommended steering clear of Apple Music. Instead, advised him to opt for a third-party offline music player that seamlessly imports songs over the Internet, offering playback even without an internet connection. Like many iPhone users, he wasn’t aware that this was even a possibility.
With numerous third-party apps available in the App Store, I personally explored several options and settled on Melodista. Its attractive, Apple Music-inspired user interface, simplicity, and minimal ads in the free version made it my top choice. I decided to support the developer by purchasing the ad-free version for $10, ensuring a lifetime of uninterrupted use.
Recognizing that the process might seem daunting, especially for those unfamiliar with such procedures, I created a step-by-step video guide. This tutorial covers essential tasks like downloading the app for cloud storage (I use Microsoft OneDrive) and connecting it to the Apple Files app, iPhone’s built-in file manager. The process also includes downloading Melodista and importing music from cloud storage.
Watch the video below for a comprehensive walkthrough.
Feel free to leave a comment with any questions or feedback. Here’s to enjoyable music listening without the iTunes hassle!
A Viable Alternative to Melodista
Another noteworthy third-party offline music player to consider is the venerable VLC app. Although I initially attempted to use VLC last year, I couldn’t figure out how to import my music collection. However, I recently discovered that the process is straightforward—simply copy MP3 files into a local folder named VLC, which is generated upon downloading, installing, and launching the app. This can be easily accomplished using the Files app.
VLC offers many advantages over Melodista:
- It has the capability to play songs by genre.
- You can copy folders containing MP3s into the local VLC folder. Melodista will only recognize songs—and not songs in folders—that are copied into its local folder.
- There are additional sorting options, including: alphanumeric, by album, duration, and date of release. (Both Melodista and VLC can play playlist songs in random order.)
- It works with Apple Carplay.
- The app supports left/right and up/down finger-sliding gestures anywhere on the screen to rewind/forward and change the volume, respectively.
- It has an equalizer with 17 different presets.
- The app can also play videos.
- VLC is entirely free, with no need for payments to eliminate ads. (Consider supporting the developers through a donation; you can do this via Preferences within the VLC app.)
On the flip side, VLC lacks a home screen widget. Melodista, on the other hand, displays the album art of the current or last song being played in its widget.
Starting in November 2023, I plan to use this app for a while and assess whether I prefer it over Melodista. So far, it looks promising.
Update November 21, 2023: I can already say I much prefer VLC over Melodista. I’ll probably remake the video above using VLC instead of Melodista.