Automatically syncing an iPod with iTunes will add music files to your device and delete files. Normally, you are only allowed to connect your iPod to one computer with a single iTunes library. When you connect your iPod to a new computer, you will be prompted to erase its contents before continuing. You can adjust the settings on your iPod so that this doesn't happen again in the future. You can also use an external program to transfer music without using iTunes.
Part 1 of 2: Manually manage your music
Step 1. Open iTunes before connecting your iPod
If you connect your iPod to your computer while iTunes is open, it will attempt to sync everything automatically. You will need to disable this in iTunes before connecting so that your iPod doesn't get erased.
- Warning – This method will still erase the contents of your iPod, but only if it has been turned on first. After you enable manual management and perform the initial erase, you will be able to connect your iPod to any iTunes library and transfer music files. It is recommended that you follow this method before putting music on your iPod for the first time.
- Read the next section if you absolutely must not lose the music currently on your iPod.
Step 2. Click on the 'iTunes' (Mac) or 'Edit' (Windows) menu
If you don't see this menu bar in Windows, press Alt.
Step 3. Select 'Preferences'
This will open the iTunes Preferences menu.
Step 4. Click on the 'Devices' tab
This will display the settings for the connected devices such as your iPod.
Step 5. Check 'Prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from syncing 'automatically'
As a result, iTunes will not automatically attempt to sync and delete content when you connect your iPod to it.
Step 6. Connect your iPod to your computer via USB
After a moment, you should see the device appear at the top of the iTunes window.
If you connect to a music library that is not the same as the one associated with your iPod, iTunes will force you to delete your iPod library before you can proceed. This is a measure to prevent piracy. If you're trying to add music from another iTunes library, check out the next section
Step 7. Select your iPod from the top row of buttons in iTunes
This will display the Summary page for your iPod in the main iTunes window.
Step 8. Scroll all the way down on the Summary screen and check "Manually manage music and videos"
This feature allows you to manually add and remove music from your iPod instead of relying on the syncing process.
This will still prompt you to erase the contents of your iPod, but only for this initial setting change. Once you have enabled manual management, you will be able to plug your iPod into any computer and then drag and drop music files onto it. If you absolutely must not lose the music currently on your iPod, read the next section instead
Step 9. Uncheck 'Automatically sync when this iPod is connected'
This will prevent your iPod from trying to sync when you connect it to a new computer.
Step 10. In iTunes, click the Music button and highlight the music you want to transfer
If the music you want to add is not in iTunes, you need to drag and drop the music files into the iTunes window to add them to the iTunes library first.
Step 11. Drag and drop the selected music
You will see a sidebar appear on the left side of the iTunes window showing your iPod in the Devices list.
Step 12. Put the music on your iPod in the sidebar that appears
This will transfer your music to your iPod.
Step 13. Wait for the selected music to be copied
You can follow the progress at the top of the window. It may take a while for a large amount of music to be transferred.
Step 14. Eject your iPod and listen to the newly copied music
Right click on your iPod in iTunes and select 'Eject' once you are done transferring music. You can then disconnect the iPod and listen to your new songs.
Now you can connect your iPod to any computer and transfer music to and from it in iTunes without worrying about your iPod being erased
Part 2 of 2: Using a remote administration tool
Step 1. Install iTunes (for Windows only)
iTunes must be installed before PodTrans can connect to your iPod. This is only necessary in Windows, because iTunes is built into OS X.
- You can download iTunes for free at apple.com/itunes/download.
- You just need to install iTunes, you don't need to use the program.
Step 2. Download and install PodTrans
This is one of the easiest ways to transfer music to your iPod without having to sync through iTunes. Uses PodTrans if you need to copy music without deleting anything currently on your iPod.
- You can download the free version of PodTrans at imobie.com/podtrans/. PodTrans is available for both Windows and Mac.
- You will be asked to choose between two versions of PodTrans. If your computer keeps iTunes up-to-date, you must select the version 'V12.1 or newer'. If you are using an older version of iTunes then you should choose the other option.
- PodTrans does not support iPhones or iPads. For these devices you will have to use another program, such as AnyTrans.
Step 3. Connect your iPod to your computer via USB cable
Close iTunes if the program starts automatically.
Step 4. Open PodTrans and wait for the content to load
It may take a while to display all of your iPod's contents in the PodTrans window.
Step 5. In PodTrans, click on the 'Music' button under your device
This will display all the music currently on your iPod.
Step 6. Drag and drop the music files you want to add to the music list
This will automatically transfer them to your iPod. You can drag songs from iTunes or files from different folders on your computer.
You can also press the '+' button and search for music files to add
Step 7. Wait for your music to be copied over
You will be able to follow the transfer progress at the top of the screen. Do not disconnect your iPod while music is being transferred.
Step 8. Disconnect your iPod once your music is copied
You will be able to find the new songs on your iPod just like the other songs.
- To save space on your iPod, you need to select the option 'Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC' in the device section of your iPod. This concentrates music files into a more compact version, leaving more space on your iPod. The ACC file type, to which iTunes converts the higher bit rate songs, is compatible with most programs that use audio files, including MP3 players, music playback programs, and audio editing programs.
- You can add more than 1 music file at a time by holding down 'Ctrl' while selecting the music files you want to add to your iPod. Once you've selected all the music files you want to add, you can simply drag and drop all marked music files into your iPod's music library at the same time.