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

Home > Articles

iTunes and You

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

This chapter is from the book

Moving Music to the iPod (Shuffle Excluded)

Now that your music is organized, it's time to put it on your 'pod. The conduit for moving music to the iPod is iTunes—which, fortunately, can be fairly flexible in the way it goes about the process.

By default, any tracks in your iTunes Library will be transferred automatically to the iPod when the iPod is plugged into your computer. If there are more tracks in your iTunes Library than will fit on the iPod, iTunes asks to create a subset of your music files and then transfers that subset to your iPod.

There are 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 just the music you want is 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 in iTunes' Source list ( FIGURE 3.6 ).


Figure 3.6 My iPod in the Source list

To open the iPod Preferences dialog box, select the iPod in the Source list and then click the iPod icon that appears next to the EQ icon in the bottom-right corner of the iTunes window. You can also reach this dialog box by opening the iTunes Preferences window (choose iTunes > Preferences on the Mac or Edit > Preferences in Windows) and clicking the iPod pane.

Within the iPod Preferences window, you'll find, at most, five panes: Music, Podcasts, Photos, Contacts, and Calendars. If you don't have a color iPod, you won't see a Photos pane.

The Music Pane

The Music pane contains the options for updating your iPod, as well as for mounting your iPod as a hard disk and displaying album artwork on a color iPod.

Automatically Update All Songs and Playlists

When you choose this option (which is on by default), iTunes updates the iPod to include all the music in the iTunes Library. Any songs currently on the iPod that aren't in the iTunes Library are erased from the iPod.

If you've removed songs from iTunes' Library and want them to remain on your iPod after the update, this option is not for you.

Automatically Update Selected Playlists Only

This option updates only the playlists you've selected. Any songs stored on your iPod that don't belong to the selected playlists are erased when you select this option.

This option is a good one to use when several members of your family share an iPod. It's also a good option for those with large music collections who carry an iPod nano, mini, ROKR phone, or shuffle. This option allows you to chunk up your collection into multiple playlists and then rotate those playlists in and out of your nano, mini, phone, or shuffle by selecting play-lists 1, 2, and 3 one month and 4, 5, and 6 the next.

Again, this option isn't a good idea when you don't want items to be removed from your iPod.

Manually Manage Songs and Playlists

Ah, finally—the option to use when you want to add songs to your iPod without removing any tunes from the device. When you select this option, all the play-lists on your iPod appear below the iPod's icon in the iTunes Source list. To add songs to the iPod, just select them in the Library or one of iTunes' playlists, and drag them to one of the iPod's playlists ( FIGURE 3.7 ). Those songs appear at the top of the playlist. To move a song's position, click the top of the Number column, and drag the song to where you'd like it to appear in the list.


Figure 3.7 Moving music to the iPod manually

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

  1. In iTunes, choose Edit > Show Browser. 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 on the Desktop (or, in the case of OS X, to the Trash in the Dock).

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. Songs on the iPod don't copy to your computer (unless you know the trick detailed in Chapter 7.

Only Update Checked Songs

As its name hints, this option tells iTunes to update those songs that are checked in iTunes' Library. This option can act as a safety measure, ensuring that any songs that are no longer available to iTunes aren't erased from your iPod during an automatic update.

Open iTunes When This iPod Is Attached

With this option enabled, iTunes will launch when you plug the iPod into your computer. Switch it off if you don't want this to happen.

Enable Disk Use

The iPod is, at heart, an elegant storage device that happens to play music. You can mount the iPod 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.

Display Album Artwork on Your iPod

This option appears if you've plugged an iPod with a color display into your computer. As its name implies, this option determines whether album artwork is displayed on your color iPod.


It would be pretty silly to own a music player called the iPod that didn't play podcasts. Yours does, and this pane determines how podcasts are treated by iTunes and the iPod ( FIGURE 3.8 ).


Figure 3.8 The iTunesPodcasts panePodcasts pane of the iPod Preferences window

Automatically Update All Podcasts

When this option is on, iTunes will place new podcasts on your iPod when it synchronizes its music files. The Update pop-up menu at the bottom of the pane determines which podcasts are transferred. You have the choice to update all episodes, checked episodes only, most recent episodes only, and unplayed episodes only. This pop-up menu is a useful way to keep your iPod from getting choked with podcasts you've already listened to or those that are out of date.

Automatically Update Selected Podcasts Only

This works much like the Music pane's Automatically Update Selected Playlists Only option. When this option is switched on, you select just the podcasts that you want transferred to your iPod, and leave the rest in iTunes.

Manually Manage Podcasts

This, too, works like its music counterpart. Enable this option to drag podcasts to your iPod.

Photos (Color iPods and iPod Nano Only)

If you have a color iPod, you can synchronize pictures between your photo library and your iPod. The key to doing so is within the Photos pane of the iPod Preferences window.

Synchronize Photos From Option

When you enable this option, you'll see an alert that asks whether you're really sure you want to enable photo support. iTunes does this to warn you that any photos currently on the iPod will be replaced. You don't have the option to manage photos manually; thus, you have to be more careful about accidentally erasing pictures when you plug your color iPod into another computer.

With this option enabled, you can choose a source for your photos. On a Macintosh, you'll see iPhoto listed in the Synchronize Photos From pop-up menu ( FIGURE 3.9 ); you also have the option to choose images from the Pictures folder in your user folder or to select any other folder. This works pretty much as you'd expect.


Figure 3.9 You'll see these iPod preferences if you plug in a color iPod.

When you choose iPhoto, the option below the pop-up menu reads Copy All Photos and Albums. When you enable this option, all the pictures in your iPhoto library will be converted and copied to the iPod. You also have the choice to Copy Selected Albums Only. This works much like the Automatically Update Selected Playlists Only option in the Music pane. 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.

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

Finally, you can select Choose Folder. 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 Choose. When you do this, the folder you've chosen replaces Pictures in the pop-up menu.

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 there is no version of iPhoto for Windows, that's probably a good thing). Instead, you'll see the option to Copy All or Selected photos 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 Synchronize Photos From pop-up menu also contains entries for these programs, allowing you to import pictures from the albums these programs create ( FIGURE 3.10 ).


Figure 3.10 Windows users can synchronize photos from their Photoshop Album and Photoshop Elements albums.

Include Full-Resolution Photos

Near the bottom of the Photos pane of the iPod Preferences window, you'll see the Include Full-Resolution Photos option, followed by this text:

Copy full-resolution versions of your photos into the Photos folder on your iPod, which you can access after enabling disk use in the Music tab.

This is a useful hunk of text, in that it hints at where your full-resolution images are stored, but were room to allow, it might be even more useful if it continued with these words:

Oh, and don't get your hopes up thinking that just because you've copied these full-resolution images to your iPod, you'll be able to view these exact images on your iPod or project them on a television. No, sir (or madam, as the case may be), this option is provided only as a convenient way to transfer your images to the iPod so that you can later attach it to a different computer and copy your pictures from here to there.


iTunes handles synchronization of contacts and calendars between your computer and iPod. 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 Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express contacts in the same way—either all contacts or selected groups of contacts.


On a Mac, this option lets you synchronize all your iCal calendar events or just those from selected calendars. On a Windows PC, you synchronize your calendars from Outlook.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account