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Using Multiple iPods on One Computer: Playlists

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sync multiple ipods with one computer

It's increasingly common to find a household with multiple iPods – you may already live in one, or are thinking about it. But what if you all share just one computer? How do you handle multiple iPods on one computer?

The answer? Easily! ITunes has no trouble managing multiple iPods regularly synced to the same computer.

This article covers managing multiple iPods on one computer using playlists. Other options include:

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Depends on how many iPods you have; 5-10 minutes each

Here's How:

  1. When you set up each iPod, be sure to give each one a unique name so they're easy to tell apart. You’ll probably do this anyway.

  2. When you set up the each iPod, you'll have the option to "automatically sync songs to my iPod" during the initial configuration process. Leave that box unchecked. It's OK to check the photo or apps boxes (if they apply to your iPod) unless you have specific plans for those, too.

    Leaving the "automatically sync songs" box unchecked will prevent iTunes from adding all songs to each iPod.

  3. Next, create a playlist for each person’s iPod. Give the playlist that person's name or something else clear and distinct that will make it obvious whose playlist it is.

    Create a playlist by clicking the plus sign at the bottom left of the iTunes window.

    You can also create all the playlists as the first step in the process, if you want.

  4. Drag the songs each person wants on their iPod to add to their playlist. This makes it easy to ensure that everyone gets only get the music they want on their iPod.

    One thing to remember: Since the iPods aren't automatically adding music, whenever you add new music to the iTunes library and want to sync it to an individual iPod, the new music must be added to the correct playlist.

  5. Sync each iPod individually. When the iPod management screen appears, go to the "Music" tab at the top. In that tab, check the "Sync Music" button at the top. Then check "Selected playlists, artists, and genres" below that. Uncheck the "automatically fill free space with songs" button.

    In the left-hand box below, you'll see all the playlists available in this iTunes library. Check the boxes next to the playlist or playlists you want to sync to the iPod. For instance, if you’ve created a playlist for your son, Jimmy, select the playlist called "Jimmy" to sync only that music to his iPod when he connects it.

  6. If you want to make sure that nothing other than the playlist syncs to the iPod, make sure no other box in any of the windows (playlists, artists, genres, albums) is checked. It's OK to check things in those windows - just understand that will add music besides what's on the playlist you've selected.

  7. Click "Apply" at the bottom right of the iTunes window. Repeat this for everyone in the house with an iPod and you’ll be all set to use multiple iPods on one computer!

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