How to Fearlessly Sync with iTunes

Apples mobile devices have always been the gadgets to have. The iPod lineup, the iPhone, the iPad-everyone wants to have one (if not all). And if you are the proud owner of an’ iDevice’, you would already know that you need iTunes to sync media files between your digital workstation and your device. Once you install iTunes on a computer and ‘sync’ your device with it, that computer becomes the ‘host’ for your device and everything runs smoothly whenever it is plugged in. the problem, however, is that you cannot sync the device with another computer without losing all the data on it.

You could ask, ‘’why would anyone want to sync their Apple device with another computer?’’ Well, there is always the possibility of the host computer dying (in case of a hard drive failure or other such catastrophes), and having to get a new one, or reinstall your new (or good as new) computer won’t accept your existing iDevice (because it has been synced with the older computer). When this happens, it will offer to remove everything on the device and replace it with content present in the new iTunes library. Thankfully, there’s a workaround to make the new computer accept your iDevice as it is, so that you can sync the device with it, without having to format your device.

We have often emphasized on the importance of backing up your data. If you have a backup, you are really lucky. Then it’s just a matter of copying the entire iTunes folder from there, and pasting it over the iTunes folder on the new computer. This will make your media library on the new computer exactly as it was on the previous host computer. For a detailed guideline, check out the link in the Sites section on how to transfer your iTunes library. Remember, if you don’t make a backup, things could get a bit tricky.

Sync your Apple mobile device with a new computer without the risk of losing any data:

The Plan

In a nutshell, iTunes wants to erase the device and sync it with the data in the new computers library. Once erased and synced, the new computer accept the device. So how cool would it be if you could somehow import all the content of your device into the iTunes library, and then let it sync? This way, your device will retain your old data, your new computer will accept the device as it is, and you will be able to sync the device with it. So it’s basically a three-step process-extract content, import and sync content, and verify. Sounds good?

The copy media (music, videos, and photos) from an iDevice to your computer, there are several paid and free utilities. We will look at the free ones, of course. Windows users can use ‘SharePod’ and Mac users can use ‘Senuti’ (links to both are in The Sites section). Both these software are pretty much alike, and serve the same purpose; they extract music, videos, and photos from an iDevice. So follow these steps:

  • Open iTunes, navigate to preferences (Edit>Preferences). Click the ‘devices’ tab, and check ‘Avoid iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically.
  • Close iTunes, attach your iDevice to the computer, and open Sharepod. All your music and video content will be listed in front of you.
  • Press Ctrl+A to select all the items, and then press the ‘Copy to Computer’ button.
  • A new dialog box will open. Select the format in which you want the extracted content to be categorized and Click ‘Ok’ to begin transferring the music from the device to your computer (and also to your iTones library). This will take a few moments.
  • To transfer photos, click the ‘Photos’ button in the Sharepod window. Select the albums you want to copy, and click ‘Copy Photos to Computer’. Browse to an appropriate location, and save the photos there.

By following the steps above, we have extracted music, videos, and photos. Now we can import all the extracted media into iTunes, and overwrite everything with all the content we extracted. Though this makes no difference, it allows you to add more content (music/videos) to your device, and sync it just like you did on the older computer. If your iDevice is an iPod, the process is complete and new computer would now be happily accepting the iPod.

For iOS devices

We need to ensure that you are able to sync apps to your device from a new computer. These might be apps that you downloaded from the App Store, free or paid. For this to be successful, you must to know your ID and the password you used to download the apps. So follow the procedure as explained.

  • Attached your iOS device to the computer, and open iTunes.
  • Navigate to Store>Authorize This Computer.
  • A window will open and prompt you to enter your Apple ID and password. Fill in the required fields, and click the ‘Authorize’ button.
  • Once done, navigate to File>Transfer Purchases. iTunes will now start transferring all the items that you purchased via iTunes store, including apps. If you purchased any other content from the iTunes store, it will be transferred as well.
  • When the transfer is complete, click your iOS device in the iTunes sidebar, and click the Apps tab.
  • As of now, ‘Sync Apps’ will be unchecked. Click the check-box. Upon being checked, it will give you a message, that ‘’syncing apps will cause all apps on the iOS device to be replaced with the iTunes library’’ (actually nothing will happen). Feel free to press ‘Sync Apps’, because the ‘’apps in the iTunes library’’ are no other than the apps that you just transferred from your iOS device.

So, where do we stand now? Ten minutes ago, you had an iDevice with lots of content on it, and a new computer not accepting the iDevice. Now, you have the same iDevice, with the same content on it, only that it can now sync with the new computer.

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