Q: I currently have an 80GB iPod classic which is nearly full (18,702 songs). I am considering purchasing a 160 GB iPod classic to augment my 80 GB. I still have about 4,000 CDs to import to iTunes. Is there a way to operate two iPods with completely different iTunes libraries? Essentially I want to make one iPod totally independent from the other and its associated library, ie. one iPod for rock, country and blues and the other for jazz, classical and world music.
A: Yes, there are a few different ways that you can do this. If you really want to maintain two completely separate iTunes libraries, you can do this by holding down the SHIFT key (Windows) or OPT key (Mac) when starting iTunes, and you will be prompted to either create a new library or choose an existing one.
You can switch between iTunes libraries as often as necessary by using this technique. Note, however, that your iTunes preferences are stored separately, and will apply to both of your iTunes libraries, so you may want to be careful about settings such as your “iTunes Music” folder path.
If you’re a Mac user, you may also want to check our iTunes Library Manager which is an AppleScript that automates this process for you, optionally providing the ability to use different preference settings for each library. An iTunes 8 compatible library manager for Windows is not available, unfortunately.
Note that you do not necessarily need to create two separate libraries simply to separate your iPod content. Alternatively, you could set each of your iPods to sync only selected playlists and store all of your music in a single iTunes library. If you’re basing the separation on genres as you describe this is even easier, as you can create Smart Playlists for your genre groupings and then choose those as the playlists to sync to each of your iPods.
Each iPod that you connect to iTunes is treated as its own distinct device, and you can therefore have different synchronization settings for each one, so you could set one iPod to sync your Smart Playlists for rock, country and blues and your other iPod to synchronize your Smart Playlists for jazz, classical and world music.
Note that you can either use one Smart Playlists for each genre, or you can combine genres into a single smart playlist simply by specifying additional criteria and using the match “ANY” option.