Having an MP3 cell phone is great, as long as you figure out how to upload music to the device. In some ways, loading up your music phone with your favorite tunes isn't particularly different from what you'd do to put songs on an iPod or any other MP3 player. However, because of unique characteristics within certain brands and network providers, you may experience some complications along the way.
Four Ways Upload Music to a Mobile Phone
Here are four of the most common ways to upload music on your cell phone:
1. Card Reader
Most cell phones that come with integrated media players make use of some sort of memory card expansion. The most common format in modern devices - both feature phones and smartphones - is microSD or microSDHC. This format was previously known as TransFlash memory and is slightly smaller than a fingernail. Many computers purchased today come with multi-card readers, and if they don't, picking up a 4-in-1, 8-in-1, or even 15-in-1 external memory card reader can be very cheap.
- Check to see if your phone has a memory card slot. This should be mentioned on the box or instructions for your phone. You can also look up your specific model on the website of the cell phone company, checking the features and specifications list. The iPhone, for instance, does not have expandable memory, but the HTC Desire Z does. GSM Arena is a good resource for specifications too.
- Turn off your cell phone.
- Access and remove the microSD card. This may be in a slot on the side or in a slot behind the battery.
- Insert the microSD card into the appropriate slot in the multi-card reader. If there is no microSD slot, use an adapter to make it the same size as a regular full-sized SD card and insert that in an SD card reader.
- Look for the memory card on your computer. It should show up in the same way as a USB flash drive or other external storage device.
- Check the user manual to see if music needs to be formatted a certain way or loaded in a specific folder to work with your phone.
- Drag and drop the music files accordingly.
- Eject the memory card from your computer and from your card reader.
- Re-insert the memory card into your cell phone.
- Turn on your cell phone.
Some phones, like the Samsung A950 from Telus Mobility for example, require you to properly format the card first before you can load the songs into the "music" folder. This will vary from device to device, so check your user manual, as well as the troubleshooting section of the company's website.
2. Data Cable
Using a data cable can be very similar to using a memory card reader. The major difference is that there are propriety connections involved: a Motorola data cable will not work with a Nokia for example. There are even different data cables within a particular manufacturer. Once you have the right cable and have read through the user manual for any specific obstacles, you can proceed.
- Install any necessary software on your computer. This should be mentioned in the user manual for your mobile phone. If you no longer have the paper instructions, they can oftentimes be downloaded from the cell phone company's website in the support section. The iPhone would need iTunes, for instance. Certain Samsung phones can benefit from a program called Kies.
- Connect one end of the data cable to your cell phone.
- Connect the other end to an available USB port on your computer.
- Use the appropriate software on your computer to transfer the files. Depending on your phone, it may also be possible to "drag and drop" the files like how you would with a USB flash drive.
- Exit the software and eject your phone from the USB port
Sometimes your phone will appear as an external drive, other times you will need to make use of some kind of special software to access your mobile phone: Certain Motorola phones use something called "Mobile Phone Tools", or MPT for short. Uploading and downloading music is much the same practice, in essence, as transferring pictures you took on your camera phone.
Most modern mobile phones are equipped with Bluetooth, which allows for a wireless data connection between two nearby devices. Handsfree headsets are common, but transferring data to and from your computer may also be possible. However, not all phones have this capability, as the OBEX (object exchange) profile must be supported and activated.
- Install the Bluetooth transceiver on your computer if you have not already done so. This may involve some specialized software that would have come with the Bluetooth transceiver. If your notebook computer has built-in Bluetooth, it should be pre-loaded with the necessary software. You just need to turn on the Bluetooth radio.
- Pair your computer with your cell phone the same way you would with a Bluetooth headset. This will vary from computer to computer, depending on the transceiver that you are using. Check the instructions specific to that model.
- Transfer the files as you would using a data cable, placing the music files in the appropriate file folder location.
4. Network Download
Several wireless providers offer online stores for mobile music. The V CAST service from Verizon is one such example. The Sprint Music Store from Sprint is another. These allow for music downloads "over the air." Pricing ranges considerably.
- Check to see if your carrier has a music store. This can usually be found via the main page.
- Access the music store application on your cell phone. This can usually be found under Media, Tools, Store, Apps, or a similar category.
- Browse for the songs that you want to buy and buy them.
- The download should happen automatically. Some music stores will also provide a higher quality version for later downloading to your PC.
More Help for Music Downloads
Each cell phone is a little bit different, so the exact instructions will vary accordingly. To get some more help with uploading music to your mobile phone, it is a good idea to look for a forum specific to your brand of cell phone and ask the experts for assistance. It can also be helpful to go back to the store where you bought the phone and see if the associate can guide you through the process. The troubleshooting and support features on the websites of cell phone companies can be useful as well.