Do You Sync?
Alternatives to a Tethered iPhone

By Steven J. Campbell

A funny thing occured to me over the Christmas and New Years Holiday.
I realized that although I have been using the same iPhone for months, I have not synced the phone with iTunes a single time.

But what if you are unable to get to a computer? More specifically YOUR computer which is required to sync the phone?

In this post, we look at your alternatives to syncing.


Lets be honest here, I may not be the typical iPhone user. But even the first time user can get by without a sync with these tools and alternative methods.

When you sync you are transferring data to and from your phone and computer.
This data is:

-Contact information
-Calendar events and appointments
-Any music added to your computers iTunes library or purchased on your iPhone from the iTunes music store
-Any apps downloaded on your pc through iTunes or purchased on the iPhones own AppStore.

The aim is to SYNC(hronize) your iPhone and iTunes on your computer, to make them look the same.


Here are some ways to avoid syncing your device.


I listen to music on my iPhone. I listen to plenty of music.
I have no music stored on my iPhone, but I manage to listen to music all the time.

Pandora iTunes link

Pandora should be the first app that any user installs on thier iPhone. For those unfamiliar with the app, Pandora is a free open sourced music project which aims to deliver music to the masses.
Simply tell Pandora a song or artist you like and it will do it's best to play that song/artist and others like it.It is 100% free up to 40 hours a month and then only $1.00 for the rest of the month afterwards.

Honorable mentions: (iTunes link) is a good app that functions much like Pandora.
Aol radio (iTunes link) allows streaming radio from the hundreds if stations owned by CBS across the United States.

Another option for jailbroken iPhone users is imuzik, which allows you to download tracks directly to your iPhone. The app is not legal at all. Not only does it work only on jailbroken iPhones but it downloads completely illegal mp3 files to your device.
A full review of iMuzik can be found here.


Google provides an alternative to the iPhone calendar app.  You can read about how to use Microsoft Exchange with Google to sync all of your contacts to the Internet.
For step by step instructions, click here


The only solution I can think of is not free. It is to use Apple's own MobileMe service to backup your contacts. This will also back up your calendar and mail. It creates a mirrored image of your phone online. If you ever lose your phone either to theft or damage, your data is always safe.

MobileMe is not free. Apple will give you a two month trial with a $99 regular annual fee.
In many ways it is worth every dollar.


Apps and podcasts are restricted on thr iPhone. If on the cellular network (edge or 3G) you may not download anything larger than 10mb in size. This limits large amounts of bandwidth being used over the cellular network.

If you need to download large files, you have two options however one requires a jailbroken device

A) connect to a wifi network. This is simple and allows you full access to any app or download, regardless of size

B) If you are jailbroken you can use an app called "3G Unrestrictor" which is available for a one time fee of $2.00 from the cydia store. It allows you to fool your phone into downloading any size file from the app store or podcast from the iTunes store.

Apps do not need to be synced. They may simply stay on your device. Most podcasts are listened to on your iPhone and can also be deleted on the iPhone without connecting to a pc or mac.


I manage to survive without syncing my iPhone and so can you if you are willing to experiment a little and live the Apple slogan from 1997-2002


  1. Rommel Ryan Ablas // January 5, 2010 at 3:30 AM  

    hi steven! great guide! I want to be a subscriber to ur blog but i dont use those rss feeds or sumthing, can you put a Follower option in this blog?