Syncing one iPad to multiple libraries
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 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.
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.
- 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?
- 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
- Beta testing for Pokémon GO begins in the U.S.
- Apple’s plan to open stores in India hits a snag (Update: India’s finance minister ratifies ruling)
- Apple looking into charging stations for electric cars
- Apple hires hint at improvements in encryption, health monitoring
- Hyundai adds CarPlay support to more vehicles
- Plaintiffs file new motion to keep ‘Error 53’ Touch ID lawsuit alive
- Report: Apple developing Siri home speaker to rival Amazon’s Echo; will release Siri SDK at WWDC
- iOS Spotlight search now offers relevant results for some emoji
- 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
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- 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)