Q: I just got a new computer. I put iTunes on, but when it finished installing, it automatically put all the songs I had on the computer in the library. after I removed them, I’m now afraid to plug in my nano for fear that it will erase all my songs and start over. How can i plug in my nano, and keep all my songs?

iPod synchronization to a new computer

– Liz

A: Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, there are a couple of things to be aware of:

Firstly, iTunes keeps track of which iPods have been synchronized to which libraries, and therefore when you first connect your iPod to a new iTunes library, iTunes recognizes that your iPod is synchronized with a different iTunes library and notifies you of this, asking you what you want to do:

In this case, selecting “Cancel” will leave your iPod connected to your computer, but an automatic synchronization will not occur. You can then either set your iPod to “manual mode” so that you can manage the content on it manually and add new content via drag-and-drop, or you can recover the content from your iPod back to your computer as described in our iPod 201 article, Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer.

On the other hand, if you’ve already synchronized your iPod to the new computer and are concerned about losing the content that was added from this librarybecause you’ve now erased it from iTunes, then you will need to take some extra precautions. In this case, iTunes will diligently remove anything from your iPod that is no longer in the current library because you have already “associated” your iPod with the new computer, and it is now syncing with that computer. The simplest way to prevent an automatic sync from occurring when connecting your iPod to a library that it is already associated with is to disable automatic synchronization globally in iTunes. This is done by going into your iTunes preferences and selecting the “Devices” tab:


iPod synchronization to a new computer

Simply check the box beside “Disable automatic syncing for iPhones and iPods” and then click the OK button. This will prevent iTunes from automatically syncing with any iPod (or iPhone) that you connect to this computer. Once you’ve sorted out your iTunes library, you can return to this screen and UN-check this box to re-enable automatic synchronization.




Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.