MacMost Now 808: Choosing What To Sync

You have full control over what music, videos, photos and apps to sync to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. But you need to use the correct iTunes screens to set up these options or you will simply get the defaults. You can also control what gets automatically put on your iOS device through iTunes or via iCloud. Unless you turn off several options, you will automatically get new purchases when you sync or even via iCloud right after purchasing.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 808: Choosing What To Sync.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's talk about how to select what to sync to your iOS device.

I've been getting a lot of questions recently about people trying to figure out how to sync what they want to their iOS device particularly when they have more than one, say an iPhone and an iPad. They want some music on one and some music on another, some apps on one and some apps on another. Well it is very easy to do as long as you understand the settings in iTunes and also the settings on your device.

Now let's start here in iTunes. I have an old iPhone plugged in here to sync. I want to examine what is one it and how to sync things to it. I can click here on the iPhone and jump right to it. I'd rather go to the sidebar, so I choose View Sidebar, and I select it. I can see clearly what devices I have connected.

Once I do I can see at the top here the different sections of all the syncing preps. It starts with Summary, Info, Apps, etc. It is very important that you have this selected and you've identified these at the top in order to dig down into the settings.

Let's start here on this Summary page, the most important one. Here is where at the bottom you will find all sorts of information about how you are going to sync. One of the things here is whether or not it automatically syncs when you are connected, whether you can allow WiFi syncing. Things like that. You can also choose some other functions but for this example I am going to leave everything here turned off. Let's make it as simple as possible so we can dig down into the individual settings.

So let's start with Music. Music is the easiest because it is pretty straight forward. Now in order to sync music from your iTunes collection to the iPhone you need to turn on Sync Music, so check it up there, and you can choose between the Entire music library which works if you have a small library and you just want everything on your device, or you can check off Selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres. Now you can basically go through here and select exactly what you want. So if you want a certain artist to sync you can check them off here. Specific albums. You can also select Playlists. So you could go in iTunes and make a playlist of the music you want on your device, or several playlists, and just choose to sync those playlists and the songs there will sync.

Now it is important to note that you won't get duplicates. So for instance if I had a playlist of my favorite songs and some of those included some Beatles songs, by checking both Beatles and that playlist I don't get the songs twice. I get the songs once but the playlist will be there and I can play it and I can also go to the Beatles as a group or album and play the songs there. So there song is there once but you have multiple ways to access the song just as you do in iTunes on your Mac.

Now here is the key piece of information. This setting is not a setting on your Mac. It is the setting for each individual device. So if I have an iPad plugged in here as well as an iPhone and I switch to it and go to the music section here, I can have different settings. So I can have two playlists, one for my iPhone and one for my iPad, choose on the iPhone to Sync Music only starts a playlist and check off the playlist for the iPhone and for the iPad do the same except choose the playlist for the iPad, or any combination. I can choose specific groups, specific playlists for each device. So your devices can have different music on them depending upon selections for each device here. It is just important to choose your device here, choose music, and then choose the settings for that device.

Now the same is true for movies and TV shows.

But let's look at Apps. So Apps, the interface looks very different because not only can you choose Apps to go on your device, but you can arrange them here. I'm not going to go into that now but you can see how you can click install and if it says install it means it is not installed on the device. Click install and it will install it the next time you sync. If it says it is already installed then you don't need to do that but you can un-install it and when you sync it will remove it. You can search for apps if you have a long list like I usually do or you can sort them in different ways. You can set these different for your different devices. So I can choose some apps to sync to an iPhone and some to sync to an iPod Touch and it remembers the settings for each device as I plug it in and move between them here in iTunes.

Now here is the really important thing. If you look below this you will see a check box here for Automatically sync new apps. I thing this is what gives people a lot of trouble. That is on by default. So you get a new app on your iPhone and then you find that the next time you sync your iPad the app automatically goes to it. That may not be what you want. So you want to make sure that you turn that off and turn it off for each device. So I turn it off here for this iPhone and then for the iPad it will be on for that iPad so I have to turn it off for that iPad as well. When it is off you can manage your stuff a little bit better because it won't automatically be doing that.

Finally we've got Photos. So Photos are interesting because you have different things you can sync photos from. iTunes doesn't handle photos so it has to take photos from either iPhoto or from Folders. So you choose which one you want to use. Most Mac users would choose iPhoto. Then you can do the same thing here. Choose everything or Select, just like with music, albums, Events, and Faces.

But we are not done quite yet because you will still get content onto your iOS devices even if you did not intend for it to get there because now we all use iCloud, and iCloud will actually put things onto your device after you say purchase an app or get some music.

So let's take a look at settings in our iOS device. I'm going to use my iPhone here and you go all the way down in your settings to the iTunes and App Store setting. Now in here I've got several settings. Let's assume you are not using iTunes Match and that is off. You've still have things down below, Music, Apps, and Books, for Automatic Downloads. So what happens here is you have these on and say you purchase some new music or a book or an app, on another device. It automatically will be added to your phone.

So if you find that happening on your second device or a device you share with somebody that is using the same Apple ID, like a child, that's why. You have to turn those off or you are automatically going to get new content delivered to all you iOS devices. You have to do this for each one. So if you have an iPad and an iPhone and you don't want that to happen you have to go to both of them and turn it off in both places.

So there you go. I hope that gives you a clear understanding about how to select what syncs to your iOS devices from your computer and from the Cloud.

Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 9 Responses to “MacMost Now 808: Choosing What To Sync”

    6 years ago

    It has never been clear to me what’s the purpose of syncing the apps on your iDevices with iTunes on your iMac. The apps work only under iOS, where you get all the updates. In case you want to re-install an old app that was removed from an iDevice, you can always do it through the App Store directly. The only reason that I see is that iTunes warn you that any app not synched will be removed from the iDevice. That’s very annoying and I would like Apple delete this feature in the future.

      6 years ago

      It is helpful if you have multiple IOS devices. In that case you can download the app once to the Mac and sync to the devices locally (not online) saving a little bandwidth. It is certainly not a big deal, but since that is the way I work, I find it useful.

    6 years ago

    This video was most helpful to this tech-challenged geezer. Precisely what I was looking for. Keep up the good work.

    Santo Messina
    6 years ago

    This was great Gary. I would like(at your convenience) to get a further explanation maybe Cloud vs. Computer snyc or backup.

      6 years ago

      I have wondered this as well. I currently have my iphone being backed up to icloud, but it says ‘back up the most important data to icloud’, so I’m not sure what it is not backing up and if that is important to me or not.

    6 years ago

    Really helpful. Good luck on getting iTunes to to feature your good work.

    6 years ago

    I would like to know how to permanently get rid of an app.

      6 years ago

      Delete it from all of your iOS devices and then delete it from your Mac’s iTunes library.

Comments Closed.