How Often Do You Sync Your iPods?

I am aware that many users don’t sync for days or weeks. I recommend to these users that they sync more frequently. Personally, due to the daily changes to my iTunes library (mostly new podcasts), I sync daily, or to be precise, twice daily.

I run three iPods each day. My “road” iPod is a 3rd-Gen Nano, which is my main podcast iPod, so it has every unplayed podcast and the rest is filled by the last-added music and unplayed audiobooks. I have all my music on a 160Gb Classic that I use to store absolutely everything music-wise (no podcasts and the only video is music video) and I play anything I want from this at work. Finally, I have a 16Gb Touch that I use for the video and sometimes internet activity.

First sync occurs when I get home from work. I run all three through the process, then force a sync on the Apple TV to remove any played podcasts from it. I then play content on the Apple TV during the evening. I don’t use my iPods at home. At the end of the evening, all three iPods are synced again to pick up any changes that occurred during the night (new podcasts, removal of played podcasts, music with altered tags and artwork, new music and video, etc.). In this way all the iPods are always ready with the right content, charged and ready to go.

Too many times have I seen iPodders run out of juice during the day, have content that they’ve played over and over until they’re sick of it and with out-of-date iPods. Frequent syncing is the answer!


5 Responses to How Often Do You Sync Your iPods?

  1. […] of gold arrives and is added to my Nano and iPhone, which are both set to sync the latest podcasts (I sync daily). I actually put it on my Shuffle and use that on Saturday […]

  2. tunegardener says:

    @Taras: Good point there. I replace my iPods yearly, so I don’t worry too much about battery conditioning. I find after a year that the battery life seems pretty much the same as it was when I bought the iPod. I use a dock and power supply at work, so any iPod I use there is always on the juice.

    Actually, another reason I sync daily is a behaviour that I’ve been trying to get Apple to change for about 2 years. I have a smart playlist that gives all unplayed music (play count = 0). Back when I had a 3rd-Gen iPod, once a track from this playlist was played, if I backed out of the Now Playing screen, then the playlist, then went back into the playlist, the track would have disappeared. This is fantastic. However, ever since sometime in the 4th-Gen, the behaviour changed so that the playlist was not automatically updated in this manner. Syncing has been the only way to clear out the tracks that no longer meet the criteria. I’ll try your playlist suggestion though, as I’m interested to see if I can replicate it.

  3. tunegardener says:

    @Thibault H.: No, not inane, but I realise I wasn’t explaining myself fully.

    My experience in this has mostly been in a large office with many users, and most of them were only moderately familiar with the procedure. I saw a number of iPods whose firmware was not updated. More than one Shuffle or Nano user asked me how to change the music as they didn’t know how to do it. Also, users came to me with dead iPods because they forgot to charge and I had a power adapter. I became an iPod doctor and trainer because I was an enthusiast and happy to help out.

    I personally sync daily, but that’s because my library changes constantly. When I see a user who syncs only occasionally, I recommend more frequent syncing, not necessarily daily, but more often than they are. Greater frequency resolves the issues listed above.

    As far as variety goes, that would depend on how much capacity the iPod has, but if you’ve got a smart playlist that selects music for syncing, especially if it contains a time-based clause (e.g. “not played in the last x weeks”), syncing would vary the content without further effort.

    And yes, you don’t need to sync in order to charge. I was thinking more of my own routine here, because with my syncing habits, the iPods are always fully juiced when I’m ready to go. My reasoning is that if you need to juice your iPod, you might as well sync it at the same time, at least if you’re juicing in the vicinity of your computer.

    I hope that makes more sense. The point of the post was to encourage more frequent syncing and to learn about people’s syncing habits.

  4. Taras says:

    Syncing more often I would suspect would have a more detrimental effect on battery life. I manually sync play count/date data via an AppleScript when I plug in my iPod classic after it runs low on battery and I didn’t recharge during the day with my USB brick. My current listening habits have my iPod last about two weeks on a charge. Most of the podcasts that I listen to are either time independant, or I am behind enough on catching up to them that I can go for a week or two without updating. Not everyone listens to podcasts that are updated multiple times per day. Also, some people love listening to the same song(s) over and over. Good thing they have their own headphones/ear buds…

    Tip: with podcasts, I create a smart playlist that contains all my unlistened podcasts in release order. Once I listen to them, they disappear from the smart playlist.

  5. Thibault H. says:

    Hmm….you recommend syncing because iPod users have run their iPods out of juice and have content on their players that they play over and over until they’re sick of it. Those are rather poor reasons to recommend syncing everyday. To solve the first problem, you can recommend plugging in your iPod to the USB port (or dock if you have one) frequently, but synching it is not necessary in order to recharge. The second problem doesn’t need to be solved because people will actually sync their iPods with new content when they get bored of what’s on their iPods.

    Excuse me to say but the reasoning in your blog post is a tad inane.

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