Two iPods, One Computer

Q: I have a 40GB fourth generation iPod with approximately 4,000 songs, which are also stored on the hard drive of my computer.  I have purchased an iPod mini for my wife and would like to know the best (and simplest) way to manage the songs on both.  I would like to auto-sync all of the songs from the hard drive to the 40GB iPod and would like my wife to be able to pick and choose the songs she would like on her mini.  Both iPods will be working from the same account in iTunes.

– Chris

A: Since you only want to automatically sync one of the iPods, you can accomplish your goal easily. When you connect your wife’s iPod mini, click the iPod icon at the bottom-right of the iTunes window to display the iPod preferences. Check Manually Manage Songs and Playlists.

When your wife connects her iPod, iTunes will not attempt to synchronize any music. To add music to her mini, just drag items onto the iPod icon in the Source list: you can drag individual songs, playlists, albums, artists, or entire genres. Your wife can make any number of playlists, and all their contents will be copied when dragging them to her iPod. She can set up her own playlists and leave them in iTunes, if it doesn’t bother you to have those additional playlists in iTunes and auto-synchronized with your iPod. (One suggestion is to name her playlists in such a way as to distinguish them easily; you could use the first letter of her first name, for example, at the beginning of each one. If her name is Alice, her playlists could all be named like this: A-My Favorites.)

Depending on how she wants to access music – by playlist, or browsing by artist, album, etcetera – either adding playlists or adding music directly will be good options for her.

Kirk McElhearn is the author of several books including iPod & iTunes Garage. His blog, Kirkville features articles about the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS X and much more.

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