From Mini to Nano : will iTunes be a problem ?
December 26, 2006 4:59 AM   Subscribe

iPodFilter : In 2005, I bought her a Mini. Now, she has a Nano. Not sure how to deal with it the iTunes way.

Knowing vaguely about the iPod limits and such, is there any problems she could encounter while just plugging her Nano is the PC she's been using her Mini with ? What should she do beforehand ?
Second : I inherit the Mini. Never had one before. Can I just install iTunes on my PC and roll with it ? What about the songs on the Mini - will they be deleted, or become mine, or...

Please hope !

Merry thinggies !
posted by XiBe to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you sync an iPod to a computer with a different library than that which is already on the iPod, the songs on the iPod (all of them) will be replaced by the new library. If you wish to keep the songs on the Mini, I suggest you search for and download one of the many iTunes add-ons (or scrpits) that allows for two-way syncing (as opposed to computer-priority syncing).
posted by Brittanie at 5:04 AM on December 26, 2006

Best answer: There are no limits on the number of iPods you can have synced to a single iTunes library, and that includes songs you've purchased from the iTunes Store. So she can just plug the new nano into the same PC that she's been using her mini with, no problem.

If you plug the mini into your PC, and tell it to sync with your new, empty iTunes library, it will delete all of the songs on the mini. Each iPod can only be synced with one iTunes library, so it's either synced to your PC (which has no songs on it), or to her PC (which has her existing library on it). If you want her songs on your PC and the mini, the best thing would be to copy her music files from her PC to your new iTunes library.
posted by chrismear at 5:06 AM on December 26, 2006

Best answer: If you want to copy files from the mini to your computer directly, you can do so on a Windows machine. Plug the mini into your PC, and set Windows explorer to view hidden files and then use it to look at the iPod as if it were a USB drive. The music is all in hidden files - the files will be randomly arranged in dozens of different folders, and the file names will be truncated, but it will all be there (with tags intact), and you can copy to your PC.

Alternatively, if she has all of the music on her PC anyways, use her iTunes to wipe the mini clean, and then use the now blank mini as a USB drive to transport the 4 or 6 GB of files to your machine. I think this will allow you to keep the full file names, but I'm not sure. (I haven't done it, but iPods are suposed to work as USB drives - they just won't play music loaded that way).

(I keep song info in file names, so the truncation thing is annoying, but I still was glad to be able to copy my music from my mini to my new PC after my old one died suddenly.)
posted by jb at 7:33 AM on December 26, 2006

might I suggest YamiPod or EphPod. Neither are as stable as iTunes, but both are essentially benevolent pieces of software... whereas iTunes is an aesthetic designed chunk of code with all the maliciousness and megalomania of a Microsoft program.

iTunes will eat your soul.
posted by trinarian at 7:49 AM on December 26, 2006

[for what it's worth, I've temporarily gone back to iTunes because of the instabilities of both programs I mentioned. YamiPod is the better of the two, but for some reason it's Java GUI stopped displaying correctly on my computer. I think the problem is on my end. EphPod was awesome, but it wiped my iPod when I was learning it and now occasionally delivers duds to my iPod (ghost files with no music)... which is still better than iTunes, which will happily destroy your originals if you're not careful]
posted by trinarian at 7:55 AM on December 26, 2006

Also: Comparison of iPod Managers
posted by trinarian at 8:07 AM on December 26, 2006


I've been using iTunes to manage my now-500 gig music collection for 4 years now. I have had zero trouble with it and absolutely disagree that it is "malicious." All of my music is stored in a transparent library format and anything it can't do out-of-the-box it can be scripted to do. My only rap against it is that I know some people that have used it for years and don't know that it can do X or Y; its interface is not as discoverable as it could be.

amaroK is the only application that comes close to iTunes.
posted by yesno at 8:11 AM on December 26, 2006

yesno: we're perhaps getting into derail territory, but I watched my meticulously self-organized 60gb archive get nuked by your lover. iTunes just couldn't handle that my older files didn't have ID3 tags [because iTunes Store purchases have ID3 tags and how could you have acquired music anywhere else?]. So it rewrote all of my file and folder names based, very often, on non-existent data specs. I'm still recovering from that a year later with the help of Tag & Rename.

One could have made the argument that I should have known it would have done this and pre-emptively disabled this, but one could also make a very compelling case that iTunes should pop out with the occasional,

- "Hey, mind if rewrite every directory name in E:/Audio?"

or the classic,

-"Sure you wanna replace seven weeks of continuous music with Survivor-Eye_of_the _tiger._INCOMPL~.mp3, by sync-ing to this iTunes library?"

And for what it's worth, iPod's aren't flame retardant either. 'effin Apple...
posted by trinarian at 10:11 AM on December 26, 2006

iTunes just couldn't handle that my older files didn't have ID3 tags [because iTunes Store purchases have ID3 tags and how could you have acquired music anywhere else?].

Can we just kill this internet-wide obsession with pointing at iTunes features and stating that they are a direct result of the Music Store? iTunes is fundamentally the same program as it was for several versions before the Music Store ever existed. It relies on tagging music files because that's what smart people do, not because of some Music Store conspiracy.
posted by chrismear at 2:10 PM on December 26, 2006

So, it's iTunes' fault that you didn't tag your MP3s? ID3 tags are older than iTunes.

iTunes copies music when adding it to its library. It doesn't move it. It also never deletes a file without asking you. It looks like you did a "consolidate library" or some such after importing? You could have seen that iTunes couldn't tell your untagged MP3s from Sunday. Too bad it didn't respect your improvised, ad-hoc and inefficient "system" for organizing music without your telling it to.

Musicbrainz is a better bet for auto-tagging your music, by the way.

iTunes is far from perfect, but help people with it a lot and I get tired of people either getting mad about it not having some feature that it does in fact have or blaming it for the fact that they don't know how to properly manage a large media collection.
posted by yesno at 10:27 PM on December 26, 2006

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