If you’re like most people, you don’t want to waste time getting your spiffy new iPod up and running. You probably don’t want to wade through anything longer than a couple of paragraphs. Oh, and you’d like some color pictures, too.
Sure, Apple thoughtfully tucks a little pamphlet of starter info in with every iPod it sells. It’s nicely designed as far as pamphlets go. But you may find that it doesn’t go far enough. You want more help than a few line drawings and some haiku-like instructions.
This book—especially this chapter—can help you out.
You won’t get bogged down in oceans of print here. You’ll learn a bit about your particular iPod model and how to get it whistling sweet tunes in your ear in a minimal amount of time. If you want more information on in-depth iPodding or getting the most out of iTunes, you can find that stuff in chapters farther down the road.
But for now, it’s time to get rolling with your new iPod. Ready?
In just a few short years, Apple has transformed the iPod from a humble little 5-gigabyte music player with a black-and-white screen into a full color, gorgeous portable media system that can play movies, TV shows, and video games—all while still fitting comfortably in the palm of your hand. And it’s come a long way from those first 5 gigabytes: now you can stuff 160 gigabytes of music, photos, videos, and more onto the biggest iPod.
In those 160 gigabytes, you can fit 40,000 songs or 200 hours of video. And you don’t have to stock up on the Duracells, either, because the iPod’s rechargeable battery can play audio for 40 hours or last for 7 hours if you’re glued to your video library.
But if 160 gigabytes is too much for your needs, you can get the 80 GB model that does everything the big Podzilla does, but with a smaller hard drive. You can still store up to 20,000 songs or 100 hours of video, which is plenty for most people. Battery life lasts up to 30 hours for audio and 5 hours for video.
Both iPod Classic models come in either black or silver. Unlike earlier iPods that sported hard glossy plastic on the front, Apple’s latest version comes outfitted in a full metal jacket—anodized aluminum on the front and shiny stainless steel on the back.
Along with the click wheel—think of it as the iPod’s mouse—the 2.5-inch color screen is the player’s other main element. Capable of displaying more than 65,000 colors at a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels (translation: high-quality), the iPod’s a great place to store and show off your latest vacation photos. In fact, you can have up to 25,000 pictures on your ‘Pod. The screen also makes it a delight to catch up on that episode of The Daily Show you missed, or play a few rounds of solitaire while listening to your favorite music or podcast.
The iPod comes with everything you need to hook it up to your Windows PC or Macintosh: a USB 2.0 cable. You also get those iconic see-what-I’ve-got white earphones. Once you get up and iPodding, you’ll find that everyone and their grandmother wants to sell you other iPod accessories—all you have to do is stroll down to your favorite computer store and browse the fancy cases, cables, battery chargers, and more.
The iPod Nano is Apple’s mid-sized music player, but it doesn’t just look like a regular iPod that got shrunk in the wash. The Nano has its own sleek, stylish design that brings a touch of fashion to your music experience. Like the Classic iPod, the Nano has a color screen and it plays songs, podcasts, and audio books. It can display photos, text notes, contacts, and calendars, too. Unlike previous Nano models, today’s Nano also plays video. You navigate through all these goodies using the smooth, touch-sensitive click wheel.
With its 2-inch color screen and the same sharp 320 by 240-pixel resolution its Classic cousin uses, the Nano can also play movies and many of the same games. But the Nano’s even better for workouts because it uses a flash memory chip to store everything. That means it’s much more tolerant of jumping and flying around than Classic Pod, with its big ol’ hard drive tucked inside.
The Nano comes in two sizes: 4-gigabyte, and 8-gigabyte, all wrapped in sturdy, scratch-resistant anodized aluminum and steel. You’re not just stuck with two choices when buying a Nano, either—you can get the 8 GB model in silver, green, blue, black, or red. Oh, and if you like your music flowing all day long, you’ll be glad to know the Nano’s battery lasts up to 24 hours—you’ll probably conk out before it does.
The smallest member of Team iPod doesn’t have a screen—but it doesn’t need one, because it’s designed for fuss-free music on the go. And you don’t have to worry about losing your Shuffle, because it clips right to your lapel or pocket—it’s like jewelry you can rock out with. You can get the Shuffle in different colors: blue, red, green, purple, and original silver, all with a 1-gigabyte memory chip that holds about 240 songs. And just because it’s called the iPod Shuffle, doesn’t mean you have to shuffle your music; you can play your tracks in order with the nudge of a button (see step 3, below).
This petite Pod is so tiny, it doesn’t even have room for the USB jack that its predecessor used to plug into the computer for music-loading and battery-recharging. The Shuffle, which offers about 12 hours of playing time, includes a tiny dock that connects the player to your computer’s USB port. In addition to the dock, you also get:
❶ Those trademark white Apple headphones, all ready to plug into the headphone jack on the top of the Shuffle.
❷ A handy control ring on the front of the player to adjust your volume and skip over songs you’re not in the mood to hear.
❸ Little silver switches on bottom of the Shuffle to turn it off and on and to flip between shuffling your songs and playing them in order.
If an iPod Nano and Apple’s iPhone ever had a kid, it would surely look something like the newest iPod family member: the iPod Touch. The Touch gets its moniker from its responsive touch screen, the smooth front side surface that lets you navigate through your music, videos, and photos with a tap or drag of your finger.
While it may have inherited its sensitivity from the iPhone, the Touch gets its stability from the same flash memory that’s inside the Nano. No matter how hard you’re running or rocking out, you’ll probably never hear your music skip (something that’s not always true with the spinning hard-drive based Classic). You get about 22 hours of audio playback on a battery charge—or 5 hours of video.
Speaking of video, the iPod Touch also has the iPhone’s eye-catching 3.5-inch widescreen and 480 by 320 pixel resolution. Flip it sideways to see why it makes movies and TV shows look so good. Apple gives you two Touches to choose from: an 8-gigabyte model or one that can store 16 gigs of your favorite stuff. That’s 1,750 songs or 10 hours of iPod-friendly video on the 8 GB Touch, and 3,500 songs or 20 hours of video on the 16 GB model.
But the iPod Touch is much more than just a pretty face. In addition to all its regular iPod capabilities like listening to music or showing off your latest photos, this iPod can reach right out and touch the Internet. Thanks to a built-in wireless chip and a small-but-powerful version of Apple’s Safari Web browser, you can catch up on all the latest news whenever you’re in range of a Wi-Fi network. You use your fingertips to point your way around the Web—or fire up the Touch’s onscreen keyboard for when you have to enter text in a Web address or on a page.
And if you hate leaving your computer for fear of missing something totally cool posted on YouTube, the popular video-sharing site, the Touch is there for you. This wireless iPod comes with its own one-click link right to YouTube so you can keep up with the Web’s funniest videos.
Oh, and one more thing...have you ever been listening to your iPod and wished you could buy even more music right there, no matter where you are? With the Touch (and a wireless network connection), you can. This little Internet iPod can step right up to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store (Chapter 7) and search, sample, and snap up tracks over the airwaves.
They may look an awful lot alike, but the iPod Touch and the iPhone have some very distinct differences. For one thing, the iPod Touch is not actually a mobile phone. While this means Touch owners get to skip the AT&T Experience, it also means that there’s no ubiquitous cellphone network to use in a pinch to browse the Web when your pool of Wi-Fi hotspots runs cold. The iPod Touch also lacks the iPhone’s dedicated email program and the handy info widgets that tell you things like the temperature outside or the temperature on Wall Street. There’s also no integrated 2-megapixel camera.
Before you can have hours of iPod fun, you need to install the iTunes multi-media, multifunction jukebox program on your computer. With iTunes, you also get Apple’s QuickTime software—a video helper for iTunes. iPods once came with a CD packing all these programs, but these days you have to download everything yourself:
❶ Fire up your computer’s Web browser and point it to www.apple.com/ipod/start.
❷ Click the “Download iTunes” button. (Turn off the “Email me...” and “Keep me up to date...” checkboxes to spare yourself future marketing missives.) Wait for the file to download to your computer.
❸ When the file lands on your hard drive, double-click the iTunesSetup.exe file. If you use a Mac, double-click the iTunes.dmg file and then open the iTunes.mpkg file to start the installation. But if your Mac’s younger than five years old, you probably already have iTunes installed. Go to Menu→Software Update and ask your Mac to look for a newer version just in case.
❹ Follow the screens until the software installer says it’s done.
You may need to restart your computer after the software’s been installed. Once iTunes is loaded, you’re ready to connect your new iPod to the computer.
❷ A USB cable to connect the iPod to your computer. The iPod Classic, Nano, and Touch use the same white USB cable with the flat dock-connector port, while the iPod Shuffle has its own little USB dock.
❸ A little pamphlet of basic quick-start information that’s not nearly as fun or as colorful as this book.
What you want right now is the USB cable. Connect the small end to your computer’s USB port and the large, flat end (or the dock, if you have a Shuffle) to the iPod. The first time you connect your iPod to a computer, the Setup Assistant walks you through a few steps to get your iPod ready to go.
The next step, if you want to hear some music, is to get some music on your iPod.
Once iTunes is installed on your computer, you can start filling it with music. Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 have info on digital audio formats and technical settings you can tweak, but if you’ve got a brand new iPod, odds are you don’t care about that right now. No, you’d probably just like to get some music on your iPod. Here are three simple ways:
If you’ve had a computer for longer than a few years, odds are you already have some songs in the popular MP3 format already on your hard drive. When you start iTunes for the first time, the program asks if you’d like it to search your PC or Mac for music and add it to iTunes. Click “Yes” and iTunes will go fetch.
Now, many Windows fans, if they do have existing music, may have songs in the Windows Media Audio (WMA) format. The bad news here is that iTunes can’t play WMA files. The good news is that iTunes, when it finds WMA files, can automatically convert them to an iPod-friendly format.
You can also use iTunes to convert tracks from your audio CDs into iPod-ready digital music files. Just stick a CD in your computer’s disc drive after you start up iTunes. The program asks if you want to import the CD into iTunes. (If it doesn’t, just click the “Import CD” button at the bottom of the iTunes window.)
Once you tell it to import the music, iTunes gets to work. If you’re connected to the Internet, the program automatically downloads song titles and artist information for the CD and begins to add the songs to the iTunes library. You can import all the tracks from a CD, but if you don’t want every song, then turn off the checkbox next to those titles and iTunes skips them. Chapter 4 has more about using iTunes to convert CDs.
Another way to get music for iPod and iTunes is to buy it from the iTunes Store. Click the iTunes Store icon in the list on the left side of iTunes. Once you land on the Store’s main page and set up your iTunes account, you can buy and download songs, audio books, and videos. The content goes straight into your iTunes library and then onto your iPod. Chapter 7 is all about using the iTunes Store.
You don’t have to do much to keep your music and video collection up to date between your computer and your iPod. That’s because the iPod has a nifty autosync feature, which automatically makes sure that whatever’s in your iTunes library also appears on your iPod once you connect it to the computer.
The first time you plug in your new iPod (after you’ve installed iTunes, of course), the iPod Setup Assistant leaps into action, asks you to name your iPod, and asks if you’d like to “Automatically sync songs and videos to my iPod” right there. If your answer’s “yes,” just click the Finish button. iTunes loads a copy of everything in its library onto your iPod. That’s it. Your iPod’s ready to go.
If you like autosync but want more control over what goes onto the iPod, read on to find out how to make that happen.
If you have an iPod Shuffle, you may already have more music than can fit on the small player. If that’s the case, your automatic option is the Autofill button at the bottom of the iTunes window. Skip ahead to page 14 to learn more about Autofill, which lets iTunes decide what to put on your Shuffle. If you want to be the boss of your Shuffle’s music, page 15 has instructions.
Like the iPhone, the iPod Touch has its own special way of loading music from your computer. Hop over to page 16 to get all the info you need to fill up your Touchpod with tunes.
If you don’t have enough room on your Classic or Nano for your whole iTunes collection, or plan to load music onto your iPod from more than one computer (say your work and home PCs), you’ll want to manually manage your songs and other stuff. To put your iPod on manual right from the get-go turn off the checkbox on the iPod Setup Assistant screen next to “Automatically sync songs...” (If you’ve already done the Setup Thing, see page 106 for how to come back to Manual Land.) iTunes now refrains from automatically dumping everything onto your iPod. “But,” you ask, "How do I get the music on there by myself?” It’s easy. You just drag it:
❶ In iTunes, click the Music icon under Library. All your song titles appear in the main window. Click the eyeball-shaped icon (down at the bottom) to reveal your collection grouped by Artist or Album.
❸ Drag your selection onto the iPod icon. The number of songs you’re dragging appears inside a red circle.
You can manually place any items in your iTunes library—audio books, movies, whatever—onto your iPod this way.
Most folks can’t stuff their entire music library onto the Shuffle, but you can Autofill it with a Shuffle-sized serving of tunes. If this is the first time you’re plugging your player into the computer, the iPod Setup Assistant appears. Leave the “Automatically choose songs...” checkbox turned on, click Done, and presto: iTunes grabs a collection of songs from your library and copies them onto your Shuffle. After that, each time you connect your tiny Pod, a small panel appears at the bottom of iTunes, inviting you to fill your iPod up with the click of the Autofill button.
You can snag songs from your entire library or just a particular playlist (see Chapter 6); you can also opt to have iTunes select highly rated songs more often.
The Autofill box also has a setting called “Choose items randomly.” Turning this checkbox on means iTunes moves over songs in whatever order it feels like, instead of transferring them in the same order they appear in the iTunes Library or a selected playlist.
Once you’ve Autofilled for the first time and then return for another batch of songs, you can turn on the checkbox next to “Replace all items when Autofilling” to have iTunes wipe the first batch of songs off the Shuffle and substitute new tracks.
Once iTunes has filled up the Shuffle, you’ll see the “iPod sync is complete” message at the top of iTunes. Click the Eject button next to your Shuffle’s icon, and then unplug the player from the computer.
If you want to decide what goes on your Shuffle, you can opt for manual updating instead of letting iTunes choose. As with any other iPod on manual control, you can drag songs and playlists from your iTunes library and drop them on the Shuffle’s icon in the Source list.
When you’ve clicked the Shuffle’s icon, feel free to arrange individual songs into the order you want to hear them—just drag them up or down. The info down at the bottom of the iTunes window tells you how much space you’ve got left on your Shuffle if you’re looking to fill it to the rim. To delete songs from the Shuffle, just select one or more tracks and then press the Delete key on your keyboard.
You can also mix and match your song-loading methods. Start by dragging a few favorite playlists over to the Shuffle, and then click Autofill to finish the job. Just make sure the “Replace all items when Autofilling” checkbox isn’t turned on or iTunes wipes off all those tracks you personally added.
While regular hard drive iPods set to manual update can collect songs from multiple computers—say, your work and home PCs—the stubborn Shuffle is monogamous and demands to be associated with only one computer.
As with every iPod model that’s come before it, the iPod Touch offers the simple and effective autosync feature. Autosyncing automatically puts a copy of every song, podcast, and video in your iTunes library right onto your player. In fact, the first time you connect your iPod Touch to your computer, the iPod Setup Assistant offers to copy all the music in your iTunes library over to your new player. If you opted to do that, your iPod is already set for autosync.
If you’ve added more music since that first encounter, the steps for loading the new goods onto your Touch couldn’t be easier:
❶ Plug the USB cable into your Windows PC or Macintosh.
❷ Plug the flat end of that same USB cable into the bottom of the iPod Touch.
❸ Sit back and let iTunes leap into action, syncing away and doing all that heavy lifting for you.
You can tell the sync magic is working because iTunes gives you a progress report at the top of its window that says “Syncing iPod Touch...” (or whatever you’ve named your player. When iTunes tells you the iPod’s update is complete, you’re free to unplug your Touch and take off.
Autosync is a beautiful thing, but it’s not for everyone—especially if you have more than 8- or 16-gigabytes worth of stuff in your iTunes library. (That may sound like a lot of room for music, but once you start adding hefty video files, that space disappears fast)
If autosync isn’t for you, jump over to the next page to read about more selective ways to load up your Touch.
If you opt out of autosyncing your iPod Touch, you now need to go ahead and choose some songs for it. Until you do, the Touch just sits there empty and forlorn in your iTunes window, waiting for you to give it something to play with.
❶ Click the iPod Touch icon on the left side of the iTunes window. This opens up a world of syncing preferences for getting stuff on your iPod.
❷ Click the Music tab, then turn on the “Sync Music” checkbox.
❸ Click the button next to “Selected playlists” and check off the names of the iTunes playlists you want to copy to your iPod. (Don’t have any playlists yet? See Chapter 6.)
❹ Click the Apply button at the bottom of the iTunes window.
❶ Every item in your iTunes library has a checkmark next to its name when you first import it. Clear the checkbox next to whatever you don’t want on the Touch. (If you have a big library, hold down the Control key on the PC or the -key on the Mac while clicking a title that performs the nifty trick of removing all checkmarks. Then go check the stuff you do want.)
❷ Click the iPod Touch icon under Devices on the left side of the iTunes window, and then click the Summary tab.
❸ At the bottom of the Summary screen, turn on the checkbox next to “Sync only checked songs and videos” and then click the Sync button.
❶ This one’s for those into fine-grained picking and choosing: just select the songs (or playlists) you want and drag them onto the Touch icon in the iTunes source pane. See page 13 for details.
Got music in the iTunes library? Check.
Got the iPod connected and the music you want copied onto it? Check.
Next up: disconnect the iPod from your computer so you can enjoy your tunes. Resist the impulse to yank the USB cable out of the iPod without checking the iPod’s screen first. If you see an “Eject before disconnecting” sign on the screen, don’t unplug just yet. (If the iPod’s showing its menus or the battery icon, then you can safely unplug it.)
If you see the Connected screen, you need to manually eject the iPod from your computer. iTunes gives you two easy ways to do this:
❶ Click the little Eject icon next to the name of your iPod in the iTunes Source list.
❷ If your iPod’s already selected in the Source list, click the Eject iPod button down on the bottom-right corner of iTunes.
With either method, once the “Connected” screen goes away, you can safely liberate your iPod.
Right out of the box, your iPod’s battery probably has enough juice to run for a little while without having to charge it up. When it comes time to charge the battery, all you need to do is plug the iPod back into your computer with the USB cable (the iPod charges itself by drawing from your Mac or PC’s power). Just make sure the computer is turned on and isn’t asleep.
It takes only a few hours to fully charge your iPod’s battery, and even less time to do what Apple calls a fast charge, which fills up 80 percent of the battery’s capacity. That should be plenty of gas in your iPod’s tank for a quick spin.
Here’s how much time each type of iPod needs for both a fast charge and a full charge:
If you’re traveling and don’t want to drag your laptop with you just to charge your iPod, you can buy an AC adapter for it. Chapter 2 has more information on that.
Smack in the iPod’s belly is the click wheel, your way around the iPod’s contents. It’s called a click wheel because you can actually click down on the four buttons evenly arranged around the ring. The menus onscreen spin by as your thumb moves around the circle. There’s also a big button in the wheel’s center, which you’ll be pushing a lot as you use your iPod. Here’s what each button does, going clockwise from the top.
❶ Menu. Tap this button to return to any screen you’ve just viewed. For example, if you’ve visited Music→Playlists→My Top Rated, then press Menu twice to return to the Music menu. If you keep tapping Menu, you eventually wind up on the main iPod menu.
❷ Fast-forward/Next. Press this button to jump to the next song in a play-list (Chapter 6), or hold it down to advance quickly within a song.
❸ Play/Pause. Like on a CD player, this button starts a song; push it again to pause the music.
❹ Rewind/Previous. Press this button to play the song directly before the current track (or hold it down to “rewind” within a song).
❺ Select. Like clicking a mouse button, press Select to choose a highlighted menu item. When a song title’s highlighted, the Select button also begins playback.
❶ Hold Switch. At the top of the iPod, over on the left side, is a little sliding switch marked Hold. This is a control that deactivates all the iPod’s front buttons. Turning on the Hold switch can stop your iPod from popping on if the buttons accidentally get bumped. The Nano’s tiny Hold button is on its bottom and the Touch doesn’t have a Hold button, since it locks its screen when you press its Sleep/Wake button on top.
❷ Headphone Jack. Your new iPod comes with its own bright white headphones, and they plug in right here. If you don’t like Apple’s headphones, you can use another style or brand, as long as the other headphones use the standard 3.5-millimeter stereo miniplug.
❸ Dock Connector. The flat port on the iPod’s bottom is called the Dock Connector. This is where you plug in the USB cable so you can connect iPod to a computer for battery-charging and music-and video-fill ups.
Until the iPhone and the iPod Touch arrived on the scene, iPods were controlled by a wheel or control ring on the front of the player. The Classic, the Nano, and the Shuffle still work that way, but if you have an iPod Touch, you don’t need a steering wheel to get around the iPod—you just tap the icons and menus directly on the screen to navigate around the device.
There are four moves you’ll use most often when navigating the Touch screen:
Tap. Just take the tip of your finger and directly touch the icon, song title, or control you see on the screen. The iPod Touch is not a crusty old calculator, so you don’t have to push very hard. A gentle press will do.
Drag. Keep your fingertip pressed down on the screen and slide it around to scroll around to different parts of the screen. You can do things like move volume sliders on music tracks or scoot over to different parts of a photo by dragging.
Flick. Lightly and quickly whip your finger up or down a vertical list of songs on the iPod Touch screen, and watch them whiz by in the direction you flicked. The faster you flick that finger, the faster the text on screen scrolls by. You can also flick side-to-side in Cover Flow view (Chapter 3) or in a photo album to see images parade triumphantly across your screen.
Slide. A slide is sort of like a drag, but you mainly do it when you’re presented with a special button on screen, like unlocking the iPod Touch’s main screen when you first turn it on.
The iPod Touch relies on the human touch—skin-on-glass contact to work. If you have really long fingernails, a Band-Aid on the tip of your finger, or happen to be wearing gloves, you’re going to have problems working the iPod Touch. You also can’t use a stylus, pencil eraser, or pen tip, either.
The iPod Touch has the same headphone port on top and dock-connector jack on the bottom like other iPods do. But because most of its controls are behind its sensitive screen, the iPod Touch only has a couple of physical buttons on the outside.
Home button. Forget clicking your heels together three times—just push this indented button on the bottom of the Touch and you’ll always return home. The iPod’s Home screen is where all your tappable icons for Music, Photos, Safari, and more all hang out. If you ever wander deep into the iPod and don’t know how to get out, push the Home button to escape. You can also push it to wake up the iPod Touch from sleep.
Sleep/Wake button. Press that thin black button on top of the Touch to put it to sleep and save some battery power. If you’ve got a song playing, no problem: a sleeping Touch still plays—it’s just the display that goes dark.
After you pick a language, the first menu you see says iPod at the top of the screen. Here’s how to start playing your tunes:
❶ On the iPod menu, highlight the Music menu. Run your thumb over the scroll wheel to move the blue highlight bar up and down.
❷ Press the round center button to select Music.
❸ On the Music menu, scroll to whichever category you want to use to find your song. Your choices include Artist, Album, Song, Genre, and so on. Scroll to the one you want and press the center button to see your songs sorted by your chosen method.
❹ Scroll through the list on the iPod’s screen. Say you decided to look for music by Artist. You now see a list of all the singers and bands stored on your iPod. Scroll down to the one you want and press the center button. A list of all the albums you have from that artist appears on screen.
❺ Scroll to the one you want to hear. Press the Play/Pause button to start playing the album.
You can find anything on your iPod by scrolling around and pressing the center button to select the item you want to hear, watch, read or play. If you end up on a screen where you don’t want to be, then press the Menu button to retrace your steps. In fact, you can keep pressing the Menu button to reverse course and go all the way back to the iPod’s main menu.
Press the Play/Pause button to pause a song that’s playing. If a song’s not playing and you don’t touch the iPod’s buttons for a few minutes, it puts itself to sleep automatically to save battery power.
❶ Tap the Music button on the Home screen.
❷ At the bottom of the Music screen are five tappable buttons. These let you see your music sorted by Playlists, Artists, Songs, or Albums. (There’s also a More button at the end that lets you sort by Genre, Compilation, and other categories.)
❸ Tap the Songs button and then scroll (by flicking your finger) down to the song you want to play. Tap the song’s title to hear it play.