Apple’s iTunes software offers a great way to manage the media content you’d like to get on and off of your iPhone, most of the time. But there are times when you may not want to use iTunes to transfer files to and from your iPhone–like when you’re using a computer other than the one with which you typically sync your phone, for example. It’s times like these when Xilisoft’s iPhone Transfer app ($20, free demo with limitations) can come in very handy.
Once installed, iPhone Transfer will detect when an iPhone is connected to your Windows PC. It automatically finds all of the iPhone-compatible music, video, and photo files on the phone, and presents them to you in neatly arranged lists. Note that iPhone Transfer will not display any audio or video files that cannot be played on your iPhone in their current format. If you’d like to transfer these kinds of files (such as videos downloaded from a torrent site or ripped from a DVD), you should opt for Xilisoft’s $50 iPhone Magic app.
You can check which files you’d like to sync to your computer, and then point iPhone Transfer to a destination folder. You also have the option to export the files directly to your iTunes library, which can be handy if you want to use Apple’s software to manage them or to transfer them to another mobile device. The syncing process can be a bit slow if you’re transferring multiple video files, but I was able to transfer a single 22-minute episode of a TV show in just under 2 minutes. The syncing process worked seamlessly in all of my tests.
iPhone Transfer lets you create and edit music playlists and photo albums on your iPhone, and also allows you to search through files. The app’s menus are easy to browse, making this functionality simple to use.
If you’d like to transfer files that are on your computer to your iPhone, Xilisoft’s app works in that direction, too. iPhone Transfer opens a Windows Explorer-like window that lets you navigate to the files you want on your phone; you then click “Open” and the files are sent over.
The app also allows you to treat your iPhone as a portable hard disk, browsing through all of its files using the Windows Explorer interface. This can be a handy way to see what is actually stored on your iPhone–and what might be eating up an unexpected amount of storage space.
The $20 app allows unlimited transfer, but Xilisoft’s free demo allows you to transfer up to 100 files. After that, the free version limits you to one file transfer at a time. Xilisoft iPhone Transfer works with all models of the iPhone, from the first generation device through the iPhone 4, as well as the iPod Touch.