Thursday, 1 December 2011

Syncing iphone or ipad to multiple computers (iTunes 10.6)

For a long while I've been using an ipod and only ever connected it to itunes which was installed on my work laptop. At home I would use Media Monkey to manage my music and copy it to the ipod. This had been working really well until recently when I was gifted a iphone 4S.

The problem I had is that media monkey (or most other 3rd party software) does not synchronise the music correctly on IOS5. Getting music onto my new idevice was a hit and miss affair and left me reaching for my 2nd generation ipod to carry around my music. Having two idevices in my pocket wasn't appealing and frankly looked very silly.

The alternative of installing itunes at home and synchronising the music meant that my work calendar and contacts never made it to the iphone. If I installed itunes in both locations an in-built "feature" tried to wipe my device clean if it had been synced elsewhere. However I've discovered a way to get around this issue.

1) Firstly update your itunes to the latest version on the machine that you regularly sync your iphone too. In my case this turned out be (end of Nov 2011) on my work laptop. Now plug your phone in right click on the device (in itunes) to get this menu:

sync it, transfer all purchases and back it up.

2) Next go the second (or even third / fourth etc) PC and update/install the same version of iTunes

3) on the first PC get copies of the following files "iTunes Library.itl" and "iTunes Music Library.xml" from here
Mac OS X:
/Users/username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library.itl
/Users/username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library.xml

Windows XP
\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl
\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.xml
Windows Vista
\Users\username\Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl
\Users\username\Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.xml
Windows 7
\Users\username\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl
\Users\username\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.xml

4) Copy it to the same location on the second PC. Restart iTunes on the second PC and enjoy!

UPDATE (19/2/2012):

I've kept both instances of itunes at the same version and so far have not had any issues. I'm currently running V10.5.3.3

UPDATE (10/6/2012)
Most of my family is now using the same two library files that I generated. These same files are now running on the iTunes on the following OSs: Win 7, Win XP, Mac OSX Lion. Between us we have two iphone 4s, ipod 2nd Genration, iPad which are all running the latest IOS software.

We call this our communal itunes library. It allows us to plug our devices in any configured PC without any worry.

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