How to sync your iPod

Table of contents:

How to sync your iPod
How to sync your iPod
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Apple's worldwide classic iPod portable media player offers high-quality listening and browsing on the fly. Unfortunately, iTunes, the computer software needed to put music and other multimedia files on the iPod, can be difficult to use, especially for users without advanced computer skills. Fortunately, with a few easy-to-follow instructions, it's easy to navigate iTunes and sync your device for quick and easy file sharing.

Steps

Method 1 of 3: Synchronizing for the first time

Sync an iPod Step 1
Sync an iPod Step 1

Step 1. Connect your iPod to your computer

Every iPod should come with a standard USB cable that allows it to communicate with your computer. Connect your iPod to your computer with a USB cable by plugging the square plug into a USB port on your computer and plug the other end into the iPod itself. If you already have iTunes installed, it should open automatically. If this is your first time using your iPod, iTunes may prompt you for basic setup information.

  • If you don't already have iTunes, you need to download and install it before you can sync your iPod. Luckily, it's completely free and easy to install.
  • If you are using Windows: When you connect your iPod, you may get a pop-up window asking which program to use to open the device. Since we will be using iTunes, you can select it from the list, or simply close the request window and open iTunes manually.
Sync an iPod Step 2
Sync an iPod Step 2

Step 2. If necessary, import any files you want to add

In order to be able to put songs, videos or other media files on the iPod, you must first import the media into iTunes. You can do this for audio and video files either by dragging the file from where it is located on your computer into the iTunes window, or by selecting the command sequence File ==> Add File to Library …, then placing the file (s) you want to import.

To be clear, you can also add files to your iPod using other software, including Windows Media Player and Winamp. However, in order to use the iTunes sync feature, the files you want to add need to be imported into your iTunes library

Sync an iPod Step 3
Sync an iPod Step 3

Step 3. Open your iPod in iTunes

Select your iPod from the list of devices - depending on the version of iTunes you have, it will be either in the top corner of the screen or on the side, but always visible. You should now see a window indicating the amount of storage and data settings in the iPod.

Sync an iPod Step 4
Sync an iPod Step 4

Step 4. Click "Music" to access the music sync options you want

Look for the "Music" tab at the top of the window. Click it to open the iPod sync settings for music. By default, all music in your iTunes library will sync - that is, when you sync, all information from your iTunes library will go to your iPod.

The "Sync only checked songs and videos" option is a good feature if you only want to sync some of the files you have on iTunes to your iPod, rather than all of your files. For more information on this subject, read the section below

Sync an iPod Step 5
Sync an iPod Step 5

Step 5. Click "Movies" to access the video sync options

Change the tab at the top of the window to "Movies". Here, as with music, you'll see that the default setting is to transfer all of your videos to the iPod when syncing. Here you can only sync selected movies and playlists if you like. This is detailed in the section below.

Note that you can also just turn off video sync entirely by unchecking the box next to "Sync movies". If you do this, your videos will remain on iTunes - nothing will be transferred to your iPod

Sync an iPod Step 6
Sync an iPod Step 6

Step 6. Repeat this process for Apps, Photos and TV shows

If you would like to add any of these other file types to your iPod, go to the appropriate tabbed menu at the top of the window and follow the same basic steps as described above. While the individual menus will be different for each file type, the general idea is the same for each one - you'll want to use the options on each page to decide whether to have the files synced automatically or not, then (if you don't want to) specify which files or playlists you want to have synced.

Photos is an exception here because it allows you to sync directly from a file on your computer, rather than through your iTunes library. To sync your photo collection to your iPod, create a folder on your computer with all the photos you want to sync (you can also use the Pictures folder, which is usually the default storage location for image files). Click the "Sync photos from:" button in the "Photos" menu, then click the drop-down arrow and locate the folder containing the image files you want to sync

Sync an iPod Step 7
Sync an iPod Step 7

Step 7. Synchronize your iPod

You are now ready to sync. Return to the "Summary" tab of your iPod in the iTunes window. Click the "Sync" button (usually at the bottom of the window next to the bar, showing how much memory your iPod is using, but this may vary depending on the version of iTunes you have). The iPod should display the message “Sync in progress, do not disconnect”. The exact content of the message may differ depending on the iPod model, but will always be the same.

  • The iTunes window should also show you that this is sync at the top of the window, where it usually displays what you're listening to.
  • For some versions of iTunes: The "Sync" button may instead appear as "Apply" in the Music, Apps, Movies, and more windows if you have changed your sync settings.
Sync an iPod Step 8
Sync an iPod Step 8

Step 8. Wait for the end of synchronization before disconnecting

When iTunes says “iPod sync is complete, okay to disconnect”, you can safely disconnect iPod. The iPod window should change from showing a "Do not disconnect" warning to a battery icon, indicating that the iPod is charging and will no longer sync.

To be clear, you don't need to disconnect your iPod immediately after syncing. You can also leave it online to charge or change the sync settings and sync again

Method 2 of 3: Synchronizing Selected Files and Playlists

Sync an iPod Step 9
Sync an iPod Step 9

Step 1. Connect your iPod as usual

Instead of syncing your entire collection of Music, Apps, Movies (music, apps, movies, and so on), you can sync only a portion of that collection to your iPod. This could be for several reasons: for example, if you have too many songs to put all on your iPod at once, you will be prompted to either deal with iTunes syncing random songs from the list every time you sync data, or select songs to include. To sync selected files and playlists, start as you normally would: by connecting your iPod to your computer using its USB cable.

In this section, we will create a playlist that includes the songs that we want to sync to our iPod, and then sync this playlist (and only this playlist) to the iPod

Sync an iPod Step 10
Sync an iPod Step 10

Step 2. Create a new playlist

Launch iTunes and then open your music library. To create a playlist, click File ==> New ==> New Playlist in the toolbar at the top of the window. Give your playlist any name when prompted - a catchy name like "iPod Sync" or something similar always works, but you can use whatever name you want.

Sync an iPod Step 11
Sync an iPod Step 11

Step 3. Add songs to the playlist

Then drag the songs you want to sync onto your iPod into the newly created playlist. To do this, go to your main music library and drag the files you want to the new playlist. For some versions of iTunes: You may need to right-click on the desired file, then select the "Add to Playlist" option from the menu and select the playlist you just created from the second menu.

You can also select more than one file at a time by selecting a file and then press the Shift key and another file above or below it to select both files and all files in between. If you don't want to select all the files between them, use the Control (Ctrl) key to select the ones you want

Sync an iPod Step 12
Sync an iPod Step 12

Step 4. Set your iPod to sync only the playlists you want

Open your iPod and go to the "Music" tab. You should see several options: "Sync Music", "Entire music library" and "Selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres". that “Sync Music” is enabled, then enable “Selected Playlists, Artists, Albums and Genres.” Now find the playlist you created in the above list and check the box next to it.

Make sure that all other playlists in the list are unchecked (unless, of course, you want to sync those playlists as well)

Sync an iPod Step 13
Sync an iPod Step 13

Step 5. Synchronize

Return to the "Summary" tab and click on the "Sync" button (as noted above, depending on your version of iTunes, this button may be called "Apply"). Your iPod should start syncing as usual. When everything is done, browse your iPod's music library - it should only contain the songs from the playlist that you have selected. If you would like to add more music, add new songs to the playlist of your choice to sync in iTunes, and then sync again (or sync new playlists in general).

We've synced the music playlist in this tutorial, but the same basic approach applies to movie and video playlists as well. To sync playlists of other types of media, create playlists including the files you want, open your iPod, and use the tabs at the top of the window to navigate through apps, movies, and more. For each media type, remember to select the "Add only selected playlists …" option or an equivalent option

Method 3 of 3: Sync over Wi-Fi

Sync an iPod Step 14
Sync an iPod Step 14

Step 1. To set up Wi-Fi sync, first connect with a USB cable

For iTunes version 10.5 and above: You can sync your device remotely using a wireless Internet connection (or Wi-Fi connection). However, in order to do this, you will first need to properly connect with a USB cable. Do this as you normally would, then open iTunes to get started.

Sync an iPod Step 15
Sync an iPod Step 15

Step 2. Turn on Wi-Fi sync in the "Summary" menu

Open your iPod in iTunes, then on the "Summary" page, scroll down and find the "Sync this iPod over Wi-Fi" option. Check the box next to this option. Then click the "Apply" button. (Apply) at the bottom of the window (next to the bar showing how much iPod memory is in use) to make changes.

Sync an iPod Step 16
Sync an iPod Step 16

Step 3. Restart iTunes, iPod and Wi-Fi router

Next, exit iTunes and reopen it. Then turn off your iPod and turn it on again. Finally, turn off your wireless router (or any other Wi-Fi source) for about 30 seconds and turn it back on. As you know, it is difficult for changes in the Wi-Fi settings of the device (including the iPod) to take effect, especially when the devices are in the same state. In practical terms, resetting devices gives them a chance to "react" to saving your settings.

The actual explanation of the router and iPod recovery process is a little more complicated, mainly because there are several reasons why Wi-Fi devices "have a hard time" registering new connections without resetting

Sync an iPod Step 17
Sync an iPod Step 17

Step 4. Connect your iPod to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer

To connect your iPod to a Wi-Fi network, open the Settings menu, then select the Wi-Fi option. Make sure the iPod Wi-Fi network is set to "On" at the top of the menu, then select a network from the list of options. Enter the network security key if required to gain wireless access. Once connected, test your connection by trying to open the Safari browser on the iPod and browse the Internet.

  • If you are having problems connecting to Wi-Fi, there can be many reasons for this. For example, devices such as microwave ovens, cell phones, and satellite dishes for TVs can interfere with the Wi-Fi signal on the iPod. If this happens, try unplugging or removing any sources of interference, then move your iPod very close to your router and try again.
  • Connection problems can also be caused by the router firewall. In this case, you may need to configure your firewall to allow the iPod to connect. If you are using a Mac, you can consult Apple Official Support for specific system instructions for connecting your iPod to Wi-Fi.
Sync an iPod Step 18
Sync an iPod Step 18

Step 5. Wait for the iPod to sync automatically

If you've turned on Wi-Fi syncing and the iPod can connect to a Wi-Fi network, the computer and iPod should be able to recognize each other shortly. Your iPod should start syncing automatically, displaying its typical “Sync in progress” message as it does so. When you're done, the iPod should update with the files from your iTunes library that you intended to sync (see the sections above for information on choosing which items you want to sync from the library).

Note that moving away from the Wi-Fi source while syncing is in progress may not complete the process, possibly leaving you with a partially synced iPod

Advice

  • If you've synced your iPod to someone else's computer and want your music to stay there, you must first back up your files or sync will overwrite your data.
  • If you have any data or music on your iPod from a previous sync process, be sure to back it up or iTunes will overwrite it during the new sync.

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