How to Download Music to Your MP3 Player, So You Can Free Yourself From Streaming Services (and Your Smartphone)

woman listening to music through wired earbuds on her mp3 player
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Once you've switched from using streaming services to downloading music to your MP3 player, you may wonder why you hadn't made the change sooner. Downloading music onto your own device lets you enjoy your music library without being bombarded by an algorithm's suggestions. It also means that your favorite songs won't disappear at the whim of outside forces (which is usually due to conflicts between artists and streaming services).

For those who've decided to get an MP3 player to untether their listening experience from their smartphone, just know that, depending on the type of player you have, it's not an entirely wireless process. You'll want to make sure you have a cable to connect the MP3 player to your computer. While this method is a bit more manual than streaming songs, once the media is on your device, it'll stay there until you decide to remove it.

Here's how to download music to your MP3 player, whether you're using a Mac or PC.

How to Download Music to Your MP3 Player From a Mac

  1. Open the Music app on your Mac.

  2. Connect your MP3 player to your via cable. Once connected, the name of the MP3 player will appear in the Music app's left-hand column under the label "Devices," and you'll see a gray ↓ icon appear next to all the songs in your library that are already downloaded.

  3. From here, you can navigate to the "Songs," "Artists," or "Albums" sections and individually select the media you'd like to download by hovering over each song, artist, or album and clicking the red ↓ icon that appears next to it. You can also right-click and select "Download."

  4. Once the media has been downloaded, you can check that it's on your device by selecting the name of your MP3 player and categorizing your media alphabetically by song, artist, or album name.

  5. Select "Eject" to disconnect your device. Then, you can unplug your device from the computer.

How to Download Music to Your MP3 Player From a PC

  1. Open a File Explorer window by pressing Win+E on your keyboard. From here, select the "Music" folder and navigate to the media you'd like to download.

  2. Connect your MP3 player to your PC via cable. Once connected, open another File Explorer window and navigate to your MP3 player under the "Devices" folder. Then, select the "Music" folder where the media on your device is stored.

  3. Hold down the CTRL key and select the files on your computer you'd like to download to your MP3 player. Then, right-click and copy these files.

  4. Click into the MP3 player window and paste these files. (You may also be able to drag and drop them from one window to another.)

  5. Wait until the songs have finished transferring to your MP3 player, then right-click on the MP3 player in your File Explorer window and select "Eject" or "Disconnect." Then, you can unplug your device from the computer.

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