Using an iPod on Mac and Windows
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 have been syncing my iPod on my Mac computer. I recently purchased a laptop PC and am wondering if I can now sync my iPod with new tunes I have purchased on my PC. Further, can I go back and forth syncing music from my Mac and/or PC to my iPod without hurting or deleting my iPod and existing playlists/library?
A: While this is possible, it may be a bit complicated to set up. The first problem is that when initially configuring an iPod on a Mac, it is configured with a disk format specific to the Mac operating system, and therefore cannot be read by a Windows computer at all. The result is that if you connect it to your Windows laptop, neither the Windows operating system or iTunes will recognize it as a valid device, and in fact Windows may even offer to format it for you, since it’s an unknown disk format. Obviously you don’t want to let Windows do this.
Although you cannot use a Mac-formatted iPod on a Windows PC, it is possible to use a Windows-formatted iPod on a Mac. You could convert your iPod to Windows format by connecting it to iTunes on your Windows PC and using the “Restore” option. This will, however, erase everything on your iPod, restoring it to its default factory out-of-the-box state. You will need to ensure that you have a backup of your music somewhere so that you can subsequently reload your iPod. If you still have all of your music in your iTunes library and are using automatic synchronization, this should not be too difficult to do.
If you don’t want to go through the time and effort of reformatting your iPod for Windows, and you’re only going to occasionally use it with your laptop, the other option is to purchase a copy of MediaFour’s MacDrive utility, which can be installed on your Windows PC laptop and will enable any Mac-formatted disk (including your iPod) to be accessed from Windows.
Whichever format you do choose to keep your iPod in, be aware that you will only be able to apply software updates to your iPod from the operating system that it is formatted for. In other words, if you have a Mac-formatted iPod, you will need to apply updates to your iPod from your Mac, and if you have a Windows-formatted iPod, you will need to apply these updates from your Windows PC.
Once you have your iPod and/or computers configured so that they can be read by either operating system, the next thing you have to keep in mind is that an iPod can only be automatically synchronized to a single computer. If you want to regularly add content from more than one computer, you will have to give up on automatic synchronization, and configure your iPod for manual management. In this mode, no content is automatically added to the iPod—instead you drag and drop specific content from your iTunes library onto your iPod. However, this mode allows you to do this from any computer you connect your iPod to.
To configure your iPod for manual management, simply select it in the iTunes source list, and choose the option “Manually manage my music and videos” from the “Summary” screen.
Once set, this setting travels with the iPod, so it will remain in manual mode regardless of which computer you connect it to.
- 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 releases iOS 9.3.5 ‘security update’
- Report: Apple developing its own Snapchat-style social video editing iOS app
- Apple announces Apple Music Festival lineup including Alicia Keys, Britney Spears + more
- Universal calls an end to exclusives amid criticisms that Apple Music is hurting the industry
- Apple reveals some of its upcoming AI advancements for the iPhone
- Apple Music’s royalty rates complicate Spotify’s contract negotiations
- iFixit highlights ‘Touch Disease’ affecting many iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models
- Rebranded Nike+ Run Club app adds new tracking abilities
- Apple Music Festival set for Sept. 18-30
- Report: Apple planning three iPhone models for 2017, one with curved OLED display
- Distil Union Stanley Stand
- Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Bluetooth Toothbrush
- Audeze EL-8 Titanium Over-Ear Headphones
- Defined Corp Dome Stand for Apple Watch and iPhone
- Speck StyleFolio Pencil for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Audeze Sine On-Ear Headphone
- First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- Logitech Create 9.7” iPad Pro Keyboard Case
- iDevices Outdoor Switch Power Outlet
- 808 Audio Canz XL Bluetooth Speaker
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- 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