How (and Why) to Keep Multiple iPods with One Computer

How (and Why) to Keep Multiple iPods with One Computer

Taryn Williford
Mar 14, 2011

Confession: We're a multiple iPod household. Some might call it superfluous, but we say it works. Rock-out music goes on our iPhone, work-out music on our iPod shuffle and movies get loaded onto an old iPod classic for road trips and plane rides. It's a great system that can be done easily, even with only one computer, using one of these three different methods.

Why You'd Want To
The most common reason to sync up two or more iPods with one computer is probably when two or more people share a machine. But even if you're flying solo, you still might decide to double-fist it with your music players.

One Lifehacker reader offered a tip that keeping audiobooks on a separate player from your music might motivate you to "read" more. You might also want to keep separate iPods, like a Classic and a Shuffle, to separate your work-out playlist from your jam-out playlist or keep music separate from Podcasts.

How To Do It
There are three methods for easily syncing up multiple iPod devices with your Mac or Windows computer:

  1. Create separate user accounts. This is the way to go for multiple people, but it could also work for your audiobooks or another alternative use music player. Create a new user account on the computer and set it up with its own iTunes library (Under "Accounts" in "System Preferences" for Mac, or search "New User" in "Help and Support" for Windows).
  2. Create a separate iTunes library. If you want to keep your music player libraries separate under the same user account, try this: On a Mac, hold down the Option key while you open iTunes, on Windows, hold down the Shift key. You'll be able to create and name a new library file. Just make sure you mess with the Advanced Preferences in your new library and unselect the "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" checkbox to prevent duplicates.
  3. Create separate playlists. Want Ke$ha on one iPod and Joe Cocker on another? Just create a separate playlist for each of your music players. When each iPod is connected, select "Sync selected playlists" and you can specify which list(s) you want to load onto each device.

(Images: Flickr member Chimi licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member el frijole licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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