Sharing iPods on the same 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: My mother has an iPod shuffle and my sister just received an iPod for her birthday. Can they both use the same computer to house their music? If so, should they download a second itunes library to it or is there a way to share the same application and just register both to the one library?
A: You definitely can share more than one iPod on the same computer. Some of us here at iLounge in fact use as many as four or five iPods on a single computer.
Basically, iTunes identifies each iPod as a distinct device, and you can set your synchronization preferences for each one separately. You could, for example, have one iPod that syncs all music content from your library automatically, another that synchronizes only selected playlists, and a third on which you manage the music manually.
This method can work best if you find that your tastes in music are appropriate enough to share the same iTunes library, and you don’t mind sharing information like ratings, playlists, and last played times and counts. Although you can choose which playlists to sync to each iPod, information like ratings, last played times, and play counts for each song will be shared across all iPods, which can affect your smart playlists if different people regularly listen to the same music. Of course, if your musical tastes are completely different, then there’s still no reason you can’t share the same library, since it’s unlikely that you would be listening to the same tracks; in this case simply sync different sets of playlists to each iPod to maintain separate collections.
If you do want to maintain completely separate libraries for each iPod there are two ways that you can do this.
Firstly, you can set up multiple user accounts on your computer through your operating system. Each user account or “profile” has its own iTunes library database and content folder. So when you log in as a different user and start iTunes, you will effectively be starting a brand new library as if you had just installed iTunes for the first time. Note that you don’t actually need to reinstall iTunes to accomplish this, but simply log on as a new user and run iTunes as you normally would.
The second method, if you’re using iTunes 7, is to use the new multiple library feature. This is accessed by shutting down iTunes and then restarting it while holding down the SHIFT key (Windows) or OPT key (Mac). You will be presented with a dialog box similar to the following:
To create a new library, simply choose the appropriate option and then tell iTunes where you want it to be stored. A new, blank library will be created separately from your existing one. To switch back to your previous library, simply restart iTunes, again holding down SHIFT or OPT, select the “Choose Library” button and browse to the location of your other library.
Note that when using multiple libraries, each library also has its own folder for your music content. This means that you may have multiple copies of the same track if you import it into multiple libraries.
- 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?
- iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se expected to be available March 18
- Apple filming original ‘dark drama’ television series featuring Dr. Dre
- Apple under fire for patent infringement from haptic feedback company Immersion
- CBS CEO Moonves notes Apple talks have stopped
- Apple will source iPhone 7 ‘A10’ CPU solely from TSMC
- Federal bill aims to take regulatory power for phone encryption out of state hands
- Job post shows Apple emphasizing new complications, faces for Apple Watch
- New comments hint at forthcoming streaming TV service from Apple
- Apple Music available on Sonos starting today
- Screen protector installation now available at Apple Stores
- VRS Design Crystal Bumper, High Pro Shield + Verge Active for iPhone 6/6s
- Vicks SmartTemp Wireless Smartphone Thermometer
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case for iPad Pro
- Edifier MP700 Rave Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Just Mobile HoverDock for Apple Watch + HoverDock for iPhone
- VRS Design Dandy Layered Case for iPad Pro
- Just Mobile TENC for iPad Pro
- Native Union DOCK Lightning
- Native Union DOCK for Apple Watch
- Hitcase Pro+ Action Pack and Snap for iPhone 6/6s
- 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)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!