Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Apple > iPod

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Move Music and Video to the iPod (shuffle Excluded)

Now that your media is organized, it’s time to put it on your ’pod. The conduit for moving music, podcasts, audiobooks, videos, and (for some iPods) applications and games to the iPod is iTunes—which, fortunately, can be fairly flexible in the way it goes about the process.

You have several ways to configure iTunes so that your iPod is updated when you want it to be. It’s just as possible to configure iTunes so that only the music and videos you want are copied to your iPod. The key is the iPod Preferences window.

To start, plug your iPod into your computer, and launch iTunes. (By default, iTunes launches when you connect the iPod.) The iPod appears under the Devices heading in iTunes’ Source list (Figure 4.8). To open the iPod Preferences window, select the iPod in the Source list.

Figure 4.8

Figure 4.8 iPods in iTunes’ Source list.

Within the iPod Preferences window, you’ll find eight panes if you have a 5G iPod, 3G or 4G iPod nano, or any iPod classic: Summary, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Photos, Contacts, and Games. Those with an iPod touch will find Summary, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Photos, Info, and Applications. If you have a color iPod that doesn’t offer video (including 1G and 2G iPod nanos), the Movies, TV Shows, and Games tabs will be absent. For monochrome iPods, the Photos tab will also be missing.

Below these tabs, you’ll see the Capacity bar (Figure 4.9), a thermometerlike display that details how much media is on your iPod. With any of today’s display-bearing iPods plugged into your computer, you’ll see entries for Audio, Video, Photos, Other (data such as files you’ve copied to the iPod, notes, contacts, and calendars), and Free.

Figure 4.9

Figure 4.9 The iPod touch’s Capacity bar.

The iPod touch adds an Apps entry. Click the bar, and the display cycles through the amounts of storage used by each kind of media (measured in GB and MB), the numbers of items of each kind of media (7,660 songs, 109 videos, and 6,098 photos, for example), and how long it would take to play all the audio and video files (26.6 days, for example).

Here’s how the panes shake out.


In iTunes 7 and later, the Summary pane provides such details about your iPod as its name, capacity, software version number, serial number, and format (Macintosh or Windows). It also tells you the version of the iPod software it’s running and offers you the option to update that software if newer software is available or to restore your iPod (essentially, erase its contents and give it a new operating system). I cover the ins and outs of restoring your iPod in Chapter 9.

Finally, the Summary tab offers these options.

Open iTunes When This iPod Is Connected

Most likely, you’re going to want to sync or otherwise muck with your iPod when you plug it into your computer. This option saves you the trouble of launching iTunes manually.

Sync Only Checked Songs and Videos

This option provides fine control over which files you sync to the iPod. Checking the box for this option lets you prevent files from loading onto the iPod by unchecking the small check boxes next to their names in playlists and Library lists.

Manually Manage Music and Videos

This small option offers a lot of power. To understand its usefulness, it’s helpful to know that by default, when you sync iTunes and the iPod, iTunes moves only the files you ask it for onto the iPod and erases everything else from the device. This arrangement can be a real bother if you’ve moved your iPod from one computer to another and the contents of the second computer don’t match those of the first.

Managing files manually allows you to add music (and videos, for compatible iPods) to your iPod without erasing any other media. When you select this option, all the playlists on your iPod appear below the iPod’s icon in the iTunes Source list. (For the sake of simplicity, I’ll say that the Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, and Audiobooks entries count as playlists.)

To add media files to the iPod manually, just select them in one of iTunes’ playlists, and drag them to the iPod’s icon in the Source list or to one of the iPod’s standard (not Smart) playlists (Figure 4.10). You can also drag files from your computer’s desktop directly to the iPod, which copies the media to the iPod but not to your iTunes Library.

Figure 4.10

Figure 4.10 Manually dragging files to an iPod.

Optionally, you can add songs by genre, artist, or album by using iTunes’ browser. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. In iTunes, choose View > Show Browser (Command-B in Mac OS X, Ctrl-B in Windows).

    A pane divided into Genre, Artist, and Album columns appears at the top of iTunes’ main window.

  2. Click an entry in one of the columns.

    If you want to copy all the Kate Bush songs in your iTunes Library to the iPod, for example, click Ms. Bush’s name in the Artist column. To copy all the reggae tunes to the iPod, select Reggae in the Genre column.

  3. Drag the selected item to the iPod’s icon in the Source list or to a playlist you’ve created on the iPod.

To remove songs from the iPod, select the songs you want to remove within the iPod entry in the Source list; then press your keyboard’s Delete key (or Control-click on the Mac or right-click for Windows, and choose Clear from the contextual menu). Mac users can also drag the songs to the Trash.

You can even copy entire playlists to other playlists by dragging one playlist icon on top of another. This method works for both iTunes and iPod playlists, though you can’t drag a playlist on the iPod to an iTunes playlist and expect the songs to copy over. Under most circumstances, tracks on the iPod don’t copy to your computer (unless you know the tricks detailed in Chapter 9).

But wait—there’s more. iTunes 8 includes two additional views: Grid and Cover Flow. Click the second button in the View palette at the top of the window to see Grid view; Cover Flow view appears when you click the third button. When you click the Grid button, you can view your music in Albums, Artists, Genres, or Composers view. These views work this way.

Albums. Each album cover in the selected entry (music or a playlist) is displayed (Figure 4.11). Mouse over the cover, and a Play Album entry appears. Click the Play symbol in this icon, and the album begins playing from the first track. Double-click an album cover, and a page opens that displays the album cover and the tracks on the album. To return to the previous Grid view, click the All Albums entry in the top-left corner of the window.

Figure 4.11

Figure 4.11 Albums in Grid view.

Artists. When you click Artists you’ll still see album covers, but those covers will be grouped by artist. If you have tracks from more than one track by an artist, select an artist and roll your mouse horizontally over the cover; the album covers will change to reflect all the artist’s album entries. A Play All Artist entry also appears. Click the Play symbol in it, and iTunes begins playing the first track from the first album title, sorted alphabetically. Click All Artists to return to Grid view.

Genres. Seeking a quick way to find all the World music in your iTunes Library? Click the Genres entry, and you’ll see the selected playlist’s music categorized by genre. (Those songs must have their Genre tag filled in to appear in this view, however. See the sidebar “Tag You’re It” at the end of this chapter for more information on tags.) For common genres, you’ll see custom icons provided by Apple—Rock, Soundtrack, and World, for example. If tracks have a less-common genre type assigned to them—Ska, Metal, or Fusion, for example—you’ll see the album cover for a track tagged with that genre or iTunes’ generic eighth-notes icon.

As in Artists and Albums views, select an icon and move your mouse over it horizontally, and album covers appear. Click the Play symbol within the Play Genre entry that appears over selected icons to play all the music within that genre. Music is organized alphabetically by the artist’s first name.

Composers. You know the drill by now. Tracks are organized by composers when those tracks contain a Composer tag. If not, you’ll find the remaining tracks files listed under Unknown Composer. Click the Play symbol in the Play Composer entry to play. Tracks are organized first by artist and then by album title. If you choose the leader of The Who, Pete Townshend, for example, his solo albums come first in alphabetical order; then come The Who’s albums in alphabetical order.

Cover Flow view is kind of a lazy-Susan affair that represents your library as a series of covers (Figure 4.12). You can move music from these views to your iPod simply by dragging the cover art from the view to the iPod’s icon. The contents of that album, video, or podcast will be transferred to the iPod.

Figure 4.12

Figure 4.12 Cover Flow view.

Enable Disk Use (all iPods except iPod touch)

The iPod is, at heart, an elegant storage device that happens to play music (and in some cases, slideshows and videos too). You can mount all iPods except the iPod touch as a hard drive on your computer by enabling this option. When the iPod is mounted, you can use it just like a hard drive; copy files to it as you desire.


The Music pane (Figure 4.13) contains options for syncing music and music videos to your iPod, as well as for displaying album artwork on all color iPods save for the iPod touch. (The iPod touch always syncs album artwork, so you won’t find this option in the Music pane when you connect a touch.)

Figure 4.13

Figure 4.13 The Music pane.

Enabling the Sync Music option tells iTunes that you’d like it to sync its music collection to the iPod automatically. If you’ve enabled the Manually Manage Music and Videos option in the Summary pane, enabling the Sync Music option overrides the Manual option (iTunes will ask you if you’re sure you want to do this). When you’ve chosen Sync Music, you then have the choice to sync all songs and playlists or just selected playlists.

Any songs currently on the iPod that aren’t in the iTunes Library or in the selected playlists are erased from the iPod.

Why choose selected playlists rather than your entire music library? For one thing, your iPod may not have the capacity to hold your entire music collection. This option is also a good one to use when several members of your family share an iPod. It allows you to chunk up a music collection into multiple playlists and then rotate those playlists in and out of the iPod.

If you’ve removed songs from the iTunes Library and want them to remain on your iPod after the update, you’ll want to avoid this option and manage your music manually.

You’ll also see an option at the bottom of the window to sync music videos. Enable it, and any music videos in selected playlists will also be synced to your iPod. Turn the option off, and music videos will steer clear, even if they’re part of a playlist.


The Movies pane is similar to the Music pane. Here, you’ll find the option to Sync Movies and then choices to sync All Movies; All Unwatched Movies; 1, 3, 5, or 10 Most Recent Unwatched Movies; Selected Movies; or Selected Playlists. iTunes provides this greater level of sync control because movies take up a lot of space, and a large movie collection and even the highest-capacity iPod may not mix.

Again, if you enable the Sync Movies option, you undo the Manually Manage Movies and Videos setting if you’ve switched it on.

TV Shows

In the TV Shows tab, you see a list of all the videos marked as TV Shows in your iTunes Library (Figure 4.14). You can sync all or the 1, 3, 5, or 10 most recent TV shows among all TV shows, or just selected shows or playlists from the list of shows below. Or you can sync all unwatched episodes; the 1, 3, 5, or 10 most recent or least recent unwatched episodes of all TV shows; or selected TV shows or playlists.

Figure 4.14

Figure 4.14 The TV Shows pane.


What puts the pod in podcast is the iPod. Because people tend to listen to lots of podcasts, some of which tend to be long (their files therefore taking up significant amounts of room), iTunes lets you manage which ones are synced to your iPod.

As in each one of these tabs, you have the option to not sync this content. But if you choose to, you have plenty of options. You can choose all podcasts, all unplayed podcasts, or all new podcasts. Or you have the option to play 1, 3, 5, or 10 of the following: the most recent podcasts, the most recent unplayed podcasts, the least recent unplayed podcasts, the most recent new podcasts, or the least recent new podcasts. These settings apply to either all your podcasts or just those you’ve selected.

Note that video as well as audio podcasts are included here. Because video can consume a lot of storage space, be careful how you choose your video podcasts.

Photos (color iPods only)

If you use a Mac, an iPod with a color display can sync photos with Apple’s iPhoto and Aperture, as well as with your Photos folder or a different folder of your choosing. On that Mac, you also have the option to sync just specific iPhoto events. On a Windows PC, you can sync with your My Pictures folder, a different folder of your choosing, or photo albums created with Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 or later or Adobe Photoshop Album 2 or later. To do this, enable the Sync Photos From option, and, from the pop-up menu that follows it, choose the source for your photos.

When you choose iPhoto or Aperture, the option below the pop-up menu reads All Photos and Albums, and eventually tells you how many photos are involved (9,548 photos, for example). When you enable this option and sync the iPod, all the pictures in your iPhoto or Aperture library will be converted and copied to the iPod. You also have the Selected Albums option, which works much like the Selected Playlists option in the Music pane (Figure 4.15). Regardless of which option you choose, whenever you add new images to a selected album, the iPod automatically updates its photo library when it next synchronizes.

Figure 4.15

Figure 4.15 The Photos pane.

You can also select Choose Folder from the Sync Photos From pop-up menu. When you do, up pops a Change Photos Folder Location navigation window. Just traipse to the folder you want to pull pictures from, and click Open. When you do this, the folder you’ve chosen appears in the pop-up menu.

If you choose Pictures from this pop-up menu, the options below it change to All Photos and Albums and Selected Folders. The principles of iPhoto/Aperture import apply here as well. If you choose All Photos, iTunes rummages around in this folder and looks for compatible graphics files. If you choose Selected Folders, you can direct iTunes to look in only those folders that you select.

This process is no more complicated for Windows users. The main difference is that the Windows version of iTunes offers no iPhoto option (and because no version of iPhoto is available for Windows, that’s probably a good thing). Instead, you’ll see the option to sync All or Selected Folders from your My Pictures folder or another folder of your choosing.

If you’ve installed Adobe Photoshop Elements (version 3 or later) or Adobe Photoshop Album on your PC, the Sync Photos From pop-up menu also contains entries for these programs, allowing you to import pictures from the albums that these programs create.

At the bottom of the Photos window you’ll see an Include Full-Resolution Photos option when you’ve plugged in any color iPod except the iPod touch. It says what it means. When you enable it, iTunes creates a Photos folder at the root level of the iPod, and it hurls into that folder full-resolution versions of your photos rather than the slimmed-down photos that the iPhoto displays. This option is primarily for transporting your photos; the iPod can’t display them.

To access them, enable disk use on the iPod, locate the iPod on your computer’s desktop, open the Photos folder, and then open the Full Resolution folder within. This folder is organized in a logical way. When you open the Full Resolution folder, you’ll see a folder that bears the year the pictures were created. Within this folder are folders marked with the month of creation. Within one of these folders is a folder denoting the day of conception. So the folder hierarchy might look like this: Photos/Full Resolution/2008/2/28/yourphotos.

Contacts (all display-bearing iPods except iPod touch)

iTunes handles synchronization of contacts and calendars between your computer and iPod. The Contacts pane offers synchronization options for your computer’s main contacts and calendars applications. From the Contacts pane on a Macintosh, you can choose to synchronize all your Apple Address Book contacts or just those contacts from selected groups. On a Windows PC, iTunes synchronizes Windows’ Address Book (called Windows Contacts in Vista) or Microsoft Outlook contacts in the same way—either all contacts or selected groups of contacts. Only in the Macintosh version of iTunes do you also have the option to include the photo associated with your contact.

Below the Contacts section of the pane, you’ll spy the Calendars section, which works similarly to Contacts. On a Mac, you can sync all your iCal calendars or just selected calendars. On a Windows PC, you have these same options for Microsoft Outlook calendars.

Games (5G iPod, 3G and 4G iPod nano, and iPod classics only)

The iTunes Store sells not only applications for the iPhone and iPod touch through the App Store, but also games made specifically for click-wheel iPods. Currently, The Store sells a small collection of games that are compatible with the 3G and 4G iPod nanos, iPod classics, and 5G iPod. Buy one of these games, and you can play it on any (or all) of these iPod models.

The Games pane is where you choose which games to sync to your iPod. Your choices are all games or selected games (chosen from a list of purchased games below).

Info (iPod touch only)

The Info tab is where you choose which data—contacts, calendars, mail accounts, and browser bookmarks—you’d like to sync to your iPod touch. This tab is also where you configure iTunes to push email, calendars, contacts, and bookmarks from Apple’s MobileMe service to the iPhone. I discuss these settings at length in Chapter 8.

Applications (iPod touch only)

Just as you can with the iPhone, you can install applications you’ve obtained from Apple’s App Store on your iPod touch. I look at the ins and outs of these applications in Chapter 6. For now, all you need to know is that in this tab, you can choose to sync all or just selected applications to your iPod touch.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account