I have a few apps on my iPhone, and would like to sync them with iTunes without erasing them from my phone. Is this possible without downloading them all again?


I just tested this out by alt clicking iTunes, creating a new library, and connecting my iPod. This happens when you try to sync with a library that is not the same as the one your iPod is associated with.

* cancel the sync
* secondary click the iPod on the left
* click "transfer purchases"

Afterwards, you can sync, and everything will be erased and rewritten to the iPod.

I'm not sure why Apple makes this so confusing. The only reason I can come up with is that they want people to have to repurchase stuff but that seems a little over the top even from Apple.

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From an Apple.SO answer:

I had this same issue after I recreated my iTunes library. This may be totally off because it was about a month ago, but I think I did this:

  • canceled the sync
  • clicked on the iPod under devices or whatever (maybe I secondary clicked)
  • I think after I clicked (or secondary clicked) on it, there was an option to copy purchased items
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If the apps were not downloaded from iTunes in your system, while syncing you should be asked if you would like to transfer your purchases to iTunes, say yes at this prompt. Alternatively, there should be an option in iTunes for transferring purchases.

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  • it never asks this if you haven't synced your iPod to the current iTunes library before. – Robert S Ciaccio Sep 14 '10 at 1:02

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