MacMost Now 681: Sync Multiple iOS Devices To the Same Mac

You can sync many iOS devices, like iPhones, iPod touches and iPads, to the same Mac. If you own more than one iOS device, you can specify exactly which items ares synced to which device. You do not have to use the same settings for the devices. They can all behave differently.

Comments: 25 Responses to “MacMost Now 681: Sync Multiple iOS Devices To the Same Mac”

    Jo Swanson
    8 years ago

    Background: Because of limited hard drive space on my MacBook Pro, I had to move my huge photos collection to an external drive and delete them from my internal drive. Many of the photos had been synched to my iPad, and I want to retain them there. But here’s my problem:

    Since I did that, I have filed some recent photos on my hard drive. I also have a great many photos on my iPad that I would like to download to my MacBook Pro. But I can’t ‘synch’ them, because when I plug it in, my iPad can’t find the matching file on the MacBook, so it wants to replace its with the current photos file on my MacBook. I can’t let it do that, and I can’t find a way to get my iPad pix copied onto my MacBook Pro. Suggestions?

      8 years ago

      It sounds like you have two different iPhoto libraries now? Is that right?
      You can only sync with one iPhoto library.
      One option would be to take your favorite photos from the external library, export them, and import them as a single event to your new library so you can sync them with your iPad.
      Or, go back to having just one iPhoto library.
      Or maybe that is not your problem at all. From your text, maybe it is that you want to move the photos from your iPad back to your Mac? It doesn’t work like that. You sync from Mac to iPad, not the other way around (exception:photos from your Camera Roll that you take with your iPad).
      If you have the photos on your external drive, then get them from there. Set it up the way you want in iPhoto, and then sync to your iPad to replace your albums with your new setup.

        Rogier
        7 years ago

        I had a similar problem. I started using iPhoto Library Manager and found that very helpful! With that, I can adjust the libraries as required!

          NewApple
          7 years ago

          I m new apple user, now I have family with dedicated apple ID with iPhone now. I have new iMac to share and backup data from 5 iOS devices and total 2 apple ID are same (iMac and iphone´╝ëand total 3 unique apple ID for 2 iPhone and 1 iPad. How can we use iCloud to backup data from IOS device to iMac ? My concern is ios apple ID is different from iMac apple iD

            7 years ago

            So you don’t use iCloud to backup your iPhone to your Mac. It is either you backup to your Mac, or you backup to iCloud. In neither case does Apple ID matter much. You can backup multiple devices to iCloud or to Mac. Apple ID comes into play with iTunes purchases, app purchases, email accounts, etc.
            Now “syncing” to a Mac could be an issue — but not just backing up.

    T.P. HANNON
    8 years ago

    How do you sync two iphones to one (1) iMac?

      8 years ago

      Watch the video. That’s exactly what I show.

    Reginald
    8 years ago

    There are iOS apps that will allow you to transfer photos from iOS device to Mac and vice-versa. I have one called PhotoSync and it works wonderfully, has a free Mac/Windows version and the iOS app was only a couple bucks and syncs over wi-fi. Very useful for only getting photos across and not having to connect via iTunes for everything. Also allows me to transfer files to any Mac or PC by simply installing the software and transferring from my Touch (or any iOS device) to the computer.

    I got the app when my Touch couldn’t sync with my Mac due to changes I made to the Mac and needed to copy photos and video across so I could free up space on the Touch.

    There are other apps for transferring files (songs, photo/video, etc.) as well but I haven’t worked with them very much. Hope this helps.

      8 years ago

      Keep in mind, though, in Jo’s case she will want the real original photos. The ones on her iPad are most likely smaller compressed versions for the iPad’s screen. So get them from that external drive, not the copies from the iPad.

    Marvin
    8 years ago

    Clarification of the term “sync” please. As I understand it iTunes is the depository of all apps, music, video, etc. Sync means to use all or some of the total library in iTunes to transfer to the iOS device. Is that correct–everything is on the computer and “synching” allows the user to pick and choose what to transfer from the available content?

    Henk
    8 years ago

    What about sync’ing iCal? Amendments made on my iPad are recorded on my iMac. However when I sync my iPhone some time later iCal on the iMac records the data from it. As I understand I have to ‘force’ the synchronization from the iMac to the iPhone in iTunes via the Info tab. Is there a better way? Because when I forget the new appointments are erased.

      8 years ago

      You can sync calendar events many ways — it depends on which calendar service you are using: iCloud, Gmail, etc.

        Henk
        8 years ago

        I sync via cables between the iOS devices and the iMac.

          8 years ago

          So you are syncing calendars that just exist on your Mac, not on any online service?
          If that case you can select which calendars sync to which device in the Info tab of iTunes for that device. You can set it up any way you want there.

    Mahdi
    8 years ago

    How do i sync one iOS device on two Macs?

      8 years ago

      You don’t. By definition, that doesn’t happen. It can only sync with one Mac at a time.

    Jeff Tucker
    8 years ago

    Gary, can I sync my Iphone 4s to two different mac desktops? I have a 27″ Imac and a 15 Macbook Pro. It would be nice to have the data on my phone synced across both machines if it’s possible. Thanks for all you do.. It’s really appreciated. Jeff

      8 years ago

      No. Syncing happens between one computer and one iOS device. Doing it with 2 Macs would mean those Macs need to be in sync too.
      So why not just do that? Use iCloud and all three machines can be in sync.

    Gregory Goldsmith
    7 years ago

    Hi Gary, I have an iPhone and iPad. I currently use shift (I’m still on a pc) to choose the library I want in iTunes depending which I want to sync. When I set up the library for each I mistakenly also created a media folder for each. I want both devices to use the media folder that the iPhone uses. Is it possible for me to change the media folder location for the iPad library to point to the iPhone media folder so I just have the one going forward? This would be a big help to me, thanks

      7 years ago

      I would have both use different media folders. If they use the same, then you might as well have just one iTunes library. But that doesn’t mean they can’t share the same files. Set iTunes to not copy the media to the media folder at all. Then create your own folder to store files.

    Jerry Lieberg
    7 years ago

    Two of us work together and we each have an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro. We are syncing our calendars through iCloud. I create multiple alerts for some of my important appointments – it’s just the way I work. These multiple reminders are bothersome to the other person. Is there a way to share the appointments but not share the alerts? Or is there a way to automate sending my appointments to my Reminders and I could use that app to keep myself on task? Or is there a App Store application that might accomplish this? Thanks

      7 years ago

      I would just have one calendar that is NOT shared, and put your alerts on that one. They can set the calendar to “ignore alerts” — at least on a Mac, not sure about iOS. But then if they want some of the alerts, that won’t work.

    Thomas Fajar
    7 years ago

    Hi Gary,

    I have an iphone 4s and new ipad both runing iOS 5.1.1 and I sync them to itunes on my mac under one account. I plan to update to IOS 6 only to my ipad coz I need the iOS 5 map in my iphone. My question is, Is it possible to sync both my device which have different version of IOS?

      7 years ago

      No problem. The devices do not need to be the same version of iOS for most things to sync. Music, movies, apps, books, etc. Some new apps will only work on iOS 6, so those won’t be able to sync to your iOS 5 device, but that’s obvious.
      Also: Don’t buy into the blogger hype that the new Maps app is somehow horrible. I use it and love it. On your iPhone in particular it is very useful because it can give you spoken turn-by-turn directions as you drive. That’s something the old Google app can’t do.

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