Syncing one iPad to multiple libraries | iLounge Article

Article

Syncing one iPad to multiple libraries

Author's pic

By Jesse Hollington

Social Media & Software Editor, iLounge
Published: Friday, April 9, 2010
Articles Categories: Ask iLounge, iPad, Mac

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.

View the complete Ask iLounge archives...

Q: My family really loves the iPad we just purchased. It has a ton of pros, but the biggest con is that I can’t sync photo’s from both my wife’s iPhoto library and my iPhoto library. We have one iMac and we use different profiles. To me it’s not really a multi-user device that the entire family is supposed to share if you can’t get the family pictures and other content on it. The same goes for music or videos that either she or I have purchased from a separate iTunes account. Do you have any thoughts on this? Am I the only one who thinks this is odd? I haven’t read much news on this in the tech press. Thanks and best wishes.

- Marc

A: To be fair, the iPad isn’t really designed to be a multi-user device any more than a laptop computer is, and in fact the iPad syncs with iTunes in much the same manner as an iPod touch does. You’ll therefore find that you have most of the same options and issues with syncing.

For your media content, you can set the iPad to manual mode by going into the “Summary” screen and selecting Manually manage music and videos. This works for the iPad in the same as it does for an iPod, and will allow you to manually add content to your iPad from more than one iTunes library simply by dragging and dropping the content to the iPad icon in iTunes. Note that you will lose the ability to automatically update ratings and play counts in manual mode, and will also need to ensure that you manually re-transfer tracks to your iPad whenever you make changes to the tags in iTunes.

Applications and photos are a different matter, unfortunately, as these always sync automatically regardless of the “Manual” setting in iTunes. Note that it doesn’t matter if content has been purchased with different accounts, as you can easily store content from up to five separate iTunes Store accounts on a single device, but rather that the content is stored in two separate libraries.

In this case, you will need to basically choose an iTunes library to be your “primary” library and transfer all of the applications that you want on your iPad into that library. Since you’re on the same iMac, this is really just a matter of physically copying the applications from the “Mobile Applications” folder in the secondary library folder and importing them into the primary iTunes library via drag-and-drop or using the Add to Library option on the File menu. You can then set up the iPad to sync applications from the “primary” iTunes library.

The same applies to photos—all of the photos you want on your iPad have to come from a single source: Either a single iPhoto or Aperture library or a single folder of photos on your computer. You basically need to pick a “primary” iPhoto library and ensure that all of the photos you want on your iPad are in that library.

Ultimately, however, unless you have a need to keep your photo and music content separately, consolidating your iTunes and iPhoto libraries may be the simplest solution in the long run. You can easily relocate your iTunes library to a shared folder such as /Users/Shared that can be accessed by both profiles on your iMac by following the instructions in our tutorial on Transferring your iTunes Library. You would basically do this for your “primary” iTunes library, and then import any of the content from the secondary library

A similar process can be used to relocate your iPhoto library, and third-party tools such as iPhoto Library Manager can be used to consolidate the two separate iPhoto libraries into a single one.

The only major disadvantage to consolidating your iTunes libraries is that you will end up sharing ratings, last played dates and play counts for all of your tracks, which may be a problem if you both listen to the same music but want to use that information for the sake of Smart Playlists. In this case, you may want to retain two separate iTunes libraries and simply use manual mode for the media content on the iPad, as described above.

The most asked question at iLounge.com:

How do I copy content from my iPod/iPhone onto my computer?

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, Apple TV and iPhone Video Formats

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Mac)

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Win)

Best Speakers?

Best Headphones?

Best Case?

Best In-Car Solution?

Best Battery Extender?

Find more answers in the latest publications in our Library. Free downloads developed by the editors of iLounge!

Ask iLounge Archives:

1-24-14: Viewing only downloaded iTunes Match tracks

1-22-14: Splitting purchased content between two iPads

12-13-13: Non-Bluetooth Lightning dock speakers

12-11-13: Shared Apple ID and switching away from iPhone

12-6-13: Syncing multiple iCloud data with a family Mac

Read more recent Ask iLounge articles...

View the complete Ask iLounge archives...

« Setting up an iPad as a gift

Using iPad without Wi-Fi access »

Related Stories

Comments

If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods/iPhones/iPad or accessories, or if you sell or market iPod/iPhone/iPad products or services, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators.

Commenting is not available in this section entry.

Email:

Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Shop for Accessories: Cases, speakers, chargers, etc.