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iPod & iTunes

how sync works | adding music | syncing different iPods | playlist creation | burn songs to CD | misbehaving iPods | stop autosync | full iPod, empty iTunes | network sharing | special commands | transfering to new computer

Where's the menu bar in iTunes 11?

Apple revamped the iTunes layout starting with iTunes 11. Look at the top-left corner of the iTunes window. There's a small black and grey box with a downward point arrow. Click on it and you'll see Show menu bar. Click on it.

How the iPod synchronization works

iTunes "synchronization" is a bit different than other devices. It's typically a one-way sync. If you have music on your iPod but it's not in your library then it will be wiped out. Only music purchased via iTunes will be copied from the iPod to the iTunes library. In other words, be careful when plugging the iPod into a computer that does not contain your usual library of music.

How do I add music into iTunes?

If you have pre-made MP3s or other music format compatible with iTunes

  1. From within the iTunes program click on the File menu.
  2. Click on either Add File to Library or Add Folder to Library.
  3. Look through your folders and locate the individual files or folders of music you want to add.

If you want to copy music from an audio CD

  1. Make sure iTunes is running.
  2. Insert an audio CD into your computer.
  3. iTunes will automatically recognize you've inserted an audio CD and will ask you if you'd like to import the music.

To sync a playlist with a particular iPod

  1. Plug in the iPod
  2. In iTunes, look in the left window pane beneath Devices. The name of your iPod will appear. Click on the name.
  3. In the main window the Summary will appear. Along the top click on the Music folder tab.
  4. Place a check mark next to the playlist you want to sync your iPod with then click the Apply button at the bottom-right.

To create a new playlist

  1. Click on the File menu at the top-left corner.
  2. Move the mouse on to New.
  3. Click on Playlist.
  4. The new playlist window appears on the right. Type in a name for the new playlist.
  5. Drag and drop songs from the main window pane to the playlist window on the right.

Burn music to CD

  1. Either create a new playlist with the songs to burn or use an existing playlist.
  2. Click on Playlists near the top of the iTunes window.
  3. Right-click on the playlist to burn to CD.
  4. Click Burn playlist to disc.
  5. Choose the type of disc to create. If you want to play on any standard CD player choose Audio CD. This converts the files to the audio CD format used by standalone CD players.
  6. Insert a blank CD and press the Burn button.

If you iPod stops working properly

This will wipe all the songs off the iPod

  1. Plug in your iPod
  2. Under Devices, click on the name of the iPod to see the Summary
  3. Press the Restore button in the main window pane. This will reset the iPod to the factory settings.

If you're unable to perform a restore function you can format the iPod like you would a hard drive.

  1. Plug in the iPod to the computer.
  2. In Windows, click on the START button then click Run....
  3. Type in compmgmt.msc then press OK
  4. On the left side click on Disk Management.
  5. Locate which drive corresponds to your iPod and right-click on it.
  6. Choose Format from the floating menu.
  7. Format in the FAT32 file system.
  8. After formatting is complete, start iTunes.
  9. iTunes will detect the iPod as a new iPod and will need to perform a restore function.

To stop auto-sync from running when connected to iTunes

If you have music on your iPod, but nothing in iTunes, iTunes will wipe out your iPod. For whatever reason iTunes gives the computer priority over the iPod in instances like this.

  1. Start iTunes.
  2. Before connecting the iPod to the computer hold down the CTRL and SHIFT keys on your keyboard.
  3. Plug in your iPod. Don't let go of the two keys until the iPod has mounted fully in iTunes.
  4. When it appears that the mounting has finished and your iPod appears in the sources listing you can let go of the two keys.
  5. Right-click on the iPod in the sources list and select iPod Options.
  6. Place a check next to Manually manage songs and playlists. You should be able to manually manage songs without losing from your iPod.

moving songs from the iPod to an empty iTunes library

If you have all your songs on your iPod, but something happened and you no longer have music in your iTunes library you'll need to avoid plugging the iPod into the computer. If you do plug the iPod into the computer iTunes will not know what library it is associated with and offer to wipe your iPod. Remember the immortal words of Nancy Reagan: "Just say no."

The simplest way to save music from your iPod is to use SharePod.

Here's the long, manual way to repopulate the library without wiping out the iPod.

  1. Make sure your iPod is set up for disk use. Version 7 of iTunes makes this option available when you click on your iPod name in iTunes. Place a check mark in the box labeled enable disk use.
  2. Start Windows Explorer. To do this click on the START button and click on Run.... Type in explorer and press the OK button.
  3. You'll need to create a temporary folder. Click on the File menu, move down to New, then select Folder. You'll be expected to type in a name for the new folder. Type in temp and hit the ENTER key on the keyboard. You should now have a folder named temp in your My Documents folder.
  4. To make sure you can see some of the hidden folders on the iPod you'll need to turn off some Windows Explorer settings. Click on the Tools menu then Folder Options.
  5. Click on the folder tab labeled View.
  6. Down below you'll see various checkmark fields. There will be a radio button (round checkmark field) marked Show hidden files and folders. Click it then hit the OK button to finish.
  7. Browse into the iPod. Start by clicking on the + to the left of My Computer. The iPod should be listed by the name you originally gave it (e.g. Jim's iPod).
  8. Hit the + to the left of the iPod's name. You should be able to see a folder named iPod_control. Click on that folder.
  9. In the right window pane you should be able to see a folder named music. Right-click on it and left-click on Copy in the menu that appears.
  10. In the left window pane look for the temp folder you created earlier. It should be beneath the My Documents folder. Right-click on the temp folder and in the menu that appears left-click on Paste. The copying process will start. This may take several minutes depending upon the amount of songs on the iPod and the connection between the computer and iPod.
  11. When done copying go back into iTunes. Click on the File menu then select Add folder to library. Browse into the My Documents folder. Look for the folder named temp. Single-click on temp and click the OK button at the bottom-right. You music will be added into the library.
  12. After the music is added click on the Advanced menu then Consolidate library. This will copy music files from temp dir to standard directory My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes music\. You'll be warned this is irreversable. Just say OK.
  13. The next time you plug in the iPod you may be told that the iPod is associated with another library and if you want to erase the iPod and associate with the new library. Answer yes. The iPod will be wiped then repopulated with the music you saved to the hard drive from the iPod during the past several steps. You're back to normal. Carry on.

sharing songs on your home network

If you've got multiple computers in your house and they're networked together then you can share your iTunes library between computers. The only requirement is that the iTunes program is actively running on the computer that is sharing the music. Once the program is stopped then the share disappears from other computers.

  1. From within iTunes click on the Edit menu.
  2. Click Preferences
  3. Along the top, click on the Sharing tab.
  4. Place a check next to Share my library on my local network.
  5. Share entire library is set by default. You can also share specific playlists by clicking the radio button for Share selected playlists.

You can also set a password to access the shared music. Just place a check next to Require password then set the password by typing it into the box.

When you start iTunes on one of the client computers then you'll see a shared section appear in the left column. Click on the share to view the shared music files.

special iPod commands

Command-tab.com has a visual for hidden iPod commands.

transfer your iTunes library to a new hard drive

iLounge: Transferring your iTunes Library

On the old computer

  1. Start iTunes.
  2. Click on File.
  3. Move to Library and select Organize Library...
  4. Choose Consolidate files.
  5. Copy the iTunes folder to the new computer. Don't place it within the new computer's iTunes folder.

On the new computer

  1. Start iTunes while holding down the shift key on the keyboard.
  2. Click Choose Library...
  3. Browse to where you saved the iTunes folder from the old computer.
  4. Choose iTunes Library from the file list and press the Open button.

In order to keep things organized in the future

  1. Click on Edit then on Preferences.
  2. Click on the Advanced tab.
  3. Press the Change button.
  4. Choose the premade iTunes media folder on your computer. In Windows XP this would be My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media. In Vista or 7 the location is Music\iTunes\iTunes Media.
  5. Click on File.
  6. Move to Library and select Organize Library.
  7. Choose Consolidate files.

If you're consolidating from the old computer to the new by using an external hard drive as a middleman then the steps are slightly different.

  1. On the external hard drive create a folder labeled iTunes with a subfolder labeled iTunes Media
  2. Click on Edit then on Preferences.
  3. Click on the Advanced tab.
  4. Press the Change button.
  5. Change the location to the iTunes Media you created folder on the external hard drive.
  6. Click on File.
  7. Move to Library and select Organize Library.
  8. Choose Consolidate files.
  9. After consolidation is complete copy the iTunes Library.itl file to the external hard drive. Drop it in the iTunes folder.
  10. On the new computer start iTunes while holding down the shift key on the keyboard.
  11. Click Choose Library...
  12. Choose the iTunes Library.itl file that's on the external hard drive located in the iTunes folder and press the Open button.
  13. You should see the music library populate. Play a song to make sure iTunes knows the location. If iTunes is unable to locate the file then check the Music folder on the external hard drive. Music should be a subfolder of the iTunes Media folder. If not then create a folder named iTunes Media and move the Music folder into it.
  14. Click on File.
  15. Move to Library and select Organize Library.
  16. Choose Consolidate files.
  17. After consolidation completes you'll need to close iTunes.
  18. Copy the iTunes Library.itl file from the external hard drive to the iTunes folder on the new computer.
  19. Start iTunes by holding down the shift key on the keyboard.
  20. Click Choose Library...
  21. Choose the iTunes Library file located on the new computer that you just copied a few steps back.

To test that the procedure was done properly.

  1. Close iTunes.
  2. Eject and unplug the external hard drive.
  3. Start iTunes normally.
  4. Examine the music library for songs you know were there on the old computer and play one.

If you start iTunes and it cannot find a library then you need to copy the iTunes Library.itl file from the external hard drive again.