Managing multiple iPods on one computer
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I recently created an account in iTunes for myself, and now my wife has an iPod as well. However, when I created an account for her in iTunes on the same computer and same iTunes Store page, all my music that I had was downloaded over to her account. This is fine, but it seems we have a shared account. All the music I originally have in iTunes all came from my years of collecting CD’s. I was told that if I did not buy my music from iTunes Store that all our media regardless would be shared. However, we just want seperate acounts with our own media content without having to filter and change everything back and forth. Thanks in advance for help.
A: It sounds like you’re referring to an iTunes Store account, which actually has nothing to do with how content is organized within the iTunes library on your computer or synchronized to either of your iPods.
An iTunes Store account is used only to purchase content from the iTunes Store and access certain other Store-related features such as automatically retrieving album covers and the new iTunes 8 “Genius” feature. Setting up an iTunes Store account on your computer merely allows you to use these features, and authorizes your computer and any associated iPods to play music and other media content purchased with that particular account. iTunes Store accounts are not user or iPod specific, and in fact if you have set up two iTunes Store accounts in a single iTunes library, then all of the iPod devices that you synchronize with that library will be authorized for both accounts.
If you want to control which content is synchronized with each iPod, you will need to either set up a series of independent playlists for each iPod in the same iTunes library, or create different iTunes libraries entirely.
Generally, if you and your wife share the same general musical tastes but don’t necessarily want all of the same music, your best option is to create separate playlists for the music that you each want on your iPods, and then set each iPod to synchronize only those playlists. You can find the setting to synchronize selected playlists by connecting your iPod to your computer, selecting it from the iTunes “Devices” list on the left-hand side of the screen, and then choosing the “Music” tab:
Simply choose “Selected playlists” and then place a checkmark beside each playlist that you want on your iPod. Only music contained in those specific playlists will be synchronized to that particular iPod. These synchronization settings are configured independently for each iPod, so you can then perform the same process for your wife’s iPod to select her playlists for synchronization to her iPod.
You can also use Smart Playlists for this purpose to easily collect larger quantities of music, favourite tracks, or recently-added tracks. Simply create the Smart Playlists with the criteria you would like, and then select them for synchronization in the same manner as any other playlist.
Note that in this scenario, since you are still sharing a single iTunes library, information such as ratings and play counts will be shared between both iPods. If this is a problem, or your music tastes vary more widely, you can create completely separate iTunes libraries instead, and then just sync your iPod to your own personal iTunes library, and have your wife sync her iPod to her library.
The easiest way to do this is to create separate user accounts in your Windows or Mac operating system. By default, each user gets their own distinct iTunes library and preferences, although you can share the same media files to save disk space by setting the iTunes Music folder for each account to a common shared location on your computer.
This latter configuration can be more cumbersome to manage if you want to share most of the same music, however, as you will need to import it into each library separately; even if the iTunes Music folder itself is in a shared location, new tracks must still be added to the iTunes library database manually. However, if you want complete separation of your music libraries, using two computer accounts and two completely separate iTunes libraries is generally the better solution.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Apple TV App Store now removes installed apps from Top Charts
- Apple to push ‘new’ iPhone cycle from two to three years?
- Apple sued by Caltech over Wi-Fi patents
- Report: Developers losing interest in making watchOS apps
- Source: New AI set to give Siri a massive improvement
- India officially rejects Apple’s bid to sell used iPhones
- Apple’s new ‘Echo rival’ may feature a camera
- Apple ‘working rapidly’ to extend Apple Pay to more countries
- Report: Apple’s Siri-based Amazon Echo competitor will be a new Apple TV
- Report: Apple SVP Eddy Cue proposed bid to buy Time Warner
- Spigen Rugged Armor, Style Armor + Wallet S for iPhone SE
- OtterBox Symmetry Series Hybrid Case for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Logitech Logi BASE Charging Stand for iPad Pro
- Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)