Q: I just bought a 30 gb iPod and when I plugged it into my laptop it automatically downloaded all the music from my iTunes. I wasn’t able to pick just the songs I wanted and now I cannot delete the unwanted songs from my iPod. What can I do?
A: This is the default behavior when connecting a new iPod to your iTunes library and selecting the “automatic” option in the setup wizard.
In automatic synchronization mode, iTunes will by default put as much music on your iPod as it can fit. In this mode, the iPod itself mirrors the content of your iTunes library, and you do not manage content on the iPod directly. If you want to remove a song from your iPod, you either need to remove it completely from your iTunes library, or reduce the “scope” of iTunes’ automatic synchronization for your particular iPod.
Alternatively, you can also configure your iPod for manual management, in which case you would manually add any tracks to your iPod that you want, and specifically remove those tracks from your iPod that you don’t want on it.
To change these settings, select your iPod in the iTunes source list. You will see a summary screen and a number of tabs across the top. To switch to full manual mode, just select the option “Manually manage my music and videos” from the Summary tab itself. This will turn off any automatic synchronization of music or video content to your iPod, and you can then select any items that you wish to remove by going to the iPod subfolders in iTunes (under the “iPod” entry in the source list), and just deleting these items as you normally would from your iTunes library itself.
Note that in manual mode, you will need to manage the content on your iPod essentially as a separate library. Further, any ratings you set on the iPod itself, and information such as last played times and play counts, are not transferred back to your main iTunes library. For these reasons, we generally recommend using automatic synchronization unless you’re in a situation where you’re using more than one computer, or you have a music library that is too large to maintain on your computer.
So if you want to continue to use automatic mode, but just want to limit your selections, you can either choose to “Only sync checked items” from the Summary tab, or visit the the “Music” tab to control what content from your library gets synchronized to your iPod.
By choosing “Selected Playlists” from this screen, you will be able to choose which specific playlists and content get synchronized to your iPod. Only tracks in these playlists will be placed on the iPod, and tracks removed from any of these selected playlists will also be removed from your iPod.
If you instead choose to only sync checked items, you can specifically UNcheck those items that you do not want transferred to your iPod. Any items you uncheck that are already on your iPod will be removed during the next sync. Keep in mind, however, that items that are UNchecked will not play in the iTunes library either in any kind of playlist or shuffle mode unless you specifically select those tracks.