Like in all other areas, managing the music on an iPod shuffle is different. There are different update options, and one of those is a special tool that is not available for other iPod models.
The reason for this is that, unless your music library is very small, it won't fit on a shuffle and likely not that much of it will fit because the largest memory in current shuffle models is 1GB. So, the shuffle does things a bit differently.
Don't disconnect your iPod from your computer unless the OK to disconnect message is displayed on its screen. If you do so, you can damage its data. It is also safe to disconnect your iPod when the large battery charging icon or battery charged icon appears on the iPod's screen.
There are two ways to get music onto an iPod shuffle: You can use the Autofill tool to have iTunes move music onto the shuffle for you. Or, you can manually configure the songs the shuffle contains.
Prior to updating its music, configure your shuffle's preferences.
Configuring an iPod shuffle
The shuffle also has a different set of options you can configure using the following steps:
Plug your shuffle into an available USB 2 port on your computer. iTunes will open if it isn't already open, and the shuffle will appear on the Source list.
Click the iPod Options button, which has an iPod icon and is located to the immediate left of the Equalizer button in the lower-right corner of the iTunes window. The iPod pane of the iTunes Preferences dialog box will appear (see Figure 6.11).
Figure 6.11. The iPod shuffle offers preferences that are much different from other iPod models.
Set the options for the shuffle. These options are explained in the following list:
- Open iTunes when this iPod is attached When this is checked, which it is by default, iTunes will open whenever you plug your shuffle into your computer.
In most cases, you can update an iPod shuffle using an USB 1 port too. But, the process will be a lot slower and might not recharge your iPod. For these reasons, you should use a USB 2 port if your computer has one.
- Keep this iPod in the source list If you check this, the iPod shuffle always appears in the Source list even if it isn't plugged into the computer. You can update it just like it was connected. The next time you plug your shuffle in, it will be updated with the current music configuration.
- Only update checked songs If you check this, only songs with their Song check box checked will be moved onto the shuffle.
- Convert higher bitrate songs to 128 kbps AAC for this iPod This option is useful if you have a lot of music that uses a higher-quality encoder, such as Apple Lossless. With this option checked, when you put music like this on the shuffle, it is converted into the 128Kbps AAC format so that it takes up less memory. You should leave this option checked so you can get the maximum amount of music on your shuffle.
You also open the iPod pane by opening the shuffle's contextual menu and selecting iPod Options. Or, you can open the iTunes Preferences dialog box and click the iPod tab.
- Enable disk use You use this check box and slider to configure a shuffle so you can use it as a flash drive. You'll learn about this in Chapter 11, "Taking the iPod Further."
Click OK. The preferences you set will take effect.
Using Autofill to Put Music on an iPod shuffle
Using the Autofill tool, you provide the parameters for an update and iTunes takes care of moving music to or from the shuffle as needed based on your criteria.
To perform an Autofill update, do the following steps:
Plug your shuffle into an available USB port. iTunes will open (assuming you left this preference on).
Select the shuffle on the Source list. The Autofill tool will appear at the bottom of the Content pane (see Figure 6.12).
Figure 6.12. You can use the Autofill tool to place music onto an iPod shuffle.
Choose the source of music you want to place on the shuffle on the Autofill from pop-up menu. You can choose your Library or any of your playlists. When it autofills your shuffle, iTunes will choose only music from the selected source.
If you don't want all the songs currently on the shuffle to be replaced by the Autofill, uncheck the Replace all songs when Autofilling check box. If this check box is checked, the entire contents of the shuffle are replaced. If it isn't checked, iTunes will try to add the Autofill songs until the shuffle's memory is full.
If you want to Autofill with songs selected at random from the source you selected in step 3, leave the Choose songs randomly check box selected. If you uncheck this check box, Autofill will select songs in the order in which they are listed in the source you selected in step 3 and add them to the shuffle until its memory is full.
If you rate songs and want Autofill to choose higher-rated songs more frequently, leave the Choose higher rated songs more often check box selected. This option is only available when you use the random option described in step 5. If you uncheck this box, Autofill will select songs truly at random and ignore your ratings.
Click Autofill. The Content pane will fill with the songs that Autofill has selected and the update process will start (see Figure 6.13). It will continue until the shuffle's memory is as full as it can get or until all the music you selected has been moved onto the shuffle, whichever comes first. The amount of your shuffle's memory that is being consumed will be shown on the bar just above the Source Information area at the bottom of the iTunes window.
Figure 6.13. This shuffle is getting filled up with the good stuff.
If you have elected the random option, each time you click Autofill, a new set of songs will be placed on your shuffle.
When the update process is complete, click the Eject button next to the shuffle's icon on the Source list or the one located in the bottom-right corner of the iTunes window.
Don't unplug a shuffle if its orange status light is flashing. That means an update is in progress.
Unplug the shuffle from your computer and enjoy some tunes! (Of course, you should leave the shuffle plugged in to charge its battery.)
If you checked the preference to keep your shuffle on the Source list, its icon will remain after you have unplugged it. The only way to tell this is that when the shuffle isn't plugged in, the Eject buttons don't appear (because there isn't anything to eject). You can still use the Autofill tool to manage your shuffle's music. When you plug it in the next time, that music will be moved onto your shuffle.
Manually Adding Songs to an iPod shuffle
You can also add songs to a shuffle manually by performing the following steps:
Plug your shuffle into an available USB port. iTunes will open (assuming you left this preference on), and the shuffle will appear on the Source list.
Select the source containing music that you want to place on the shuffle. You can move music from the Library or any playlist.
You can combine methods. For example, you can use Autofill and then manually add more songs. However, if you have the Replace all songs when Autofilling check box checked, each time you Autofill all the songs currently on the shuffle will be replaced.
Drag the songs you want to place on the shuffle from the Content pane onto the shuffle's icon. When the pointer is over the shuffle, its icon will be highlighted. Release the mouse button and the songs will be copied onto the shuffle (see Figure 6.14).
Figure 6.14. You can drag songs from any source onto the shuffle's icon to add those songs to it.
Continue dragging songs from your sources until you have added all you want or until the shuffle's memory is full.
Removing Songs from an iPod shuffle
You can also manually remove songs from the shuffle whether you put them there manually or they were added by Autofill. Select the shuffle on the Source list and then select the songs you want to delete. Press the Delete key. If you are prompted, click Remove and the songs will be removed from the shuffle. If you have previously checked the Do not ask me again check box, you won't see any prompt that the songs will be immediately removed.
The Absolute Minimum
Managing the music on your iPod is essential if you are to be able to listen to the music you want to when the mood strikes you. Fortunately, maintaining your iPod's music library isn't all that hard. As you build and maintain your iPod's music library, keep the following points in mind:
You use the iTunes application to create the music library on your iPod.
You can determine the amount of used and free space on the iPod's hard disk in a number of ways, including by using the iPod's About command. This is important so you know whether you can fit all your music on your iPod.
There are three ways to synchronize the music in your iTunes Library and on your iPod.
When you use the "fully automatic" option, this is done for you automatically and your iPod will be updated with your current iTunes Library each time you connect the iPod to your computer.
You can also choose to have only specific playlists updated automatically.
You can manage the music on your iPod manually as well.
If you have more than one iPod, such as an iPod and an iPod mini, you can choose different update options for each. For example, you might want to use the Automatically update selected playlists only option for the iPod mini and the fully automatic option for the iPod.
Most of this list doesn't apply to the shuffle. You update its music using the Autofill tool or by manually configuring its music.