I have a sinking feeling my syncing won't work
January 25, 2010 12:59 PM   Subscribe

iPhone + New Computer Syncing Help Needed.

I have an iPhone 3GS. It is currently synced w/ my old laptop (still functional), with it set to manually manage music. Just got a new laptop. I know I can't sync it to 2 computers simultaneously w/out some crazy workarounds. I have about 10gb of audio and video on my iPhone, all of which is on the old laptop and backed up on an external hard drive (some purchased via iTunes but mostly DRM-free).

I want any new purchases made on the new laptop to be transferable to the iPhone (I use the new computer exclusively now). I don't need the music/videos on the iPhone to copy to the new computer, but I also don't want them erased.

Is there a way to do this short of copying all of the files from the external hd to the new computer? I really don't want to spend the time doing that and I don't need/want the files there anyway. Jailbreaking is not an option and I don't want to mess w/ any crazy hardware/software configurations. Just looking to see if there's a relatively simple way to do this.
posted by melissasaurus to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
No, there's no easy way to do that.
posted by unixrat at 1:03 PM on January 25, 2010

Best answer: You want to *put* music on the iPhone from the new laptop without disturbing the existing library, right?

Couldn't tell from your post if you are a PC or a Mac, but one fairly easy way to do this is by using an app that turns your iPhone into a sort of "wirelessly mounted hard drive" on your network. I use something called "Air Sharing" (http://avatron.com/apps/air-sharing/) for this purpose... and, in addition to music files, it allows one to upload a wide variety of file formats (MS Word, PDF, etc.).

Is something like this what you were looking for?
posted by Veritrope at 1:15 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Why not unplug the external hard drive from the old laptop, plug it into the new laptop and choose it as the itunes library and have it plugged in when you sync your iphone (I only sync mine once a month or so, if you sync more often it may be a pain to remember to plug in the external HD.) I also have two itunes libraries with different content, on on the main drive, one on one of the external drives.
posted by saucysault at 1:21 PM on January 25, 2010

Response by poster: -I have a PC.

-I want to keep the existing library on the iPhone and have the ability to add files from the new computer (the non-synced one) to my iPhone, preferably without the need to sync+erase, copy the existing library from the old PC to the new PC, and transfer back to iPhone.

- doesn't have to be super-simple, just nothing that has a high chance of rendering the iPhone unusable/unserviceable (e.g. voiding the warranty by jailbreaking).
posted by melissasaurus at 1:22 PM on January 25, 2010

Response by poster: Oh also, I don't use the "syncing" function regularly, I use the "manually manage" function; it just makes you sync on the first use w/ the new pc; future syncing is not an issue. I'll try out Saucysault's recommendation and see if that works.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:28 PM on January 25, 2010

Best answer: I don't fully understand what you are trying to do, but it's possible you might be able to use home sharing to manage your libraries.
posted by chairface at 1:42 PM on January 25, 2010

I had the same problem.. The crazy hardware/software stuff is much easier than it sounds; it took me about 2 minutes.

Basically, you need to make sure that the LibraryPersistentID on both computers is the same. You find this value on the old PC and copy it to the new PC. Instructions are here.

If you find that too complicated, then I'm pretty sure an even easier way is to just find the itunes Library files (.xml, .itl) from your old PC's iTunes installation (usually under My Music -> iTunes) and just copy them to the new computer, overwriting the existing files. This has the side effect of having a bunch of ghost files in your main library on the new PC, but you can just delete them.
posted by helios at 1:52 PM on January 25, 2010

Err, by "ghost files", I mean that the main iTunes library on the new computer (not on the iPhone) will be full of files which are not actually playable (you will see an error and the exclamation point icon), but you can select them all and delete them.
posted by helios at 1:54 PM on January 25, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the suggestions. I ended up copying my library to the new pc using home sharing; transferring purchases from the iphone to the new pc; then doing the erase&snyc. It took a long time for all of the transfers and such, but it's done! (air sharing seemed like it would have been easy, but I'm too cheap to buy the $4.99 app)
posted by melissasaurus at 5:32 PM on January 26, 2010

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