The North Pacific Ocean (NPO) has received abundant aeolian dust transported by westerlies from the Asian inland. The aeolian components preserved in NPO sediments record information on palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental changes in Asian source areas at different timescales. Previous studies have systematically investigated the source–sink effect of aeolian dust using the sedimentology, geochemistry, isotope and magnetic methods. In this study, we focus more on recent developments of aeolian signals in NPO sediments obtained by magnetic approaches. Generally, aeolian components contain a mixture of magnetite, maghemite, hematite and goethite of different origins. Magnetic properties (mineral category, concentration and particle size) of these minerals are modulated primarily by climatic/environmental conditions in source areas and sorting effects during the transportation process. Compared with the other methods, magnetic measurements have the advantages of non-sample destruction, high sensitivity and high efficiency. Finally, future studies are also discussed to address the importance of magnetism for tracing the dynamic transportation processes of the aeolian dust.