[HOW TO] Sync iPhone with Multiple Macs (the easy way)

TheSpaz

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jun 20, 2005
7,032
1
I've seen some people here asking how to sync with their home and work computers without having to erase the iPhone. This is simple.

Copy your ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library and ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music Library.xml to a flash drive at home and bring it to work.

Then copy those files to the same location on your work computer. Then launch iTunes. You'll notice all the music you have at home show up, but it's ALL missing. This is okay. Just delete it all in iTunes.

Then drag your ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music folder onto the iTunes icon to get all your work music back into iTunes. Now you can sync with both computers because iTunes thinks it's the same computer. Nice.

I hope this helps some people who may not know about this trick. It's working for me.

EDIT: This is important. Make sure you've enabled "Manually Manage Music and Videos" in the iPhone tab in iTunes. If you have it auto-sync I'm pretty sure it will replace the music which would defeat the purpose of this trick.
 

doug0365

macrumors member
Jun 23, 2008
64
0
I've seen some people here asking how to sync with their home and work computers without having to erase the iPhone. This is simple.

Copy your ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library and ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music Library.xml to a flash drive at home and bring it to work.

Then copy those files to the same location on your work computer. Then launch iTunes. You'll notice all the music you have at home show up, but it's ALL missing. This is okay. Just delete it all in iTunes.

Then drag your ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music folder onto the iTunes icon to get all your work music back into iTunes. Now you can sync with both computers because iTunes thinks it's the same computer. Nice.

I hope this helps some people who may not know about this trick. It's working for me.

WOW awesome!!! Been looking for a way to do this
 

lindsayanng

macrumors 68000
May 4, 2008
1,515
1
East Haven, CT
that is REALLY awesome!! we have a desktop and laptop at home and would LOVE to be able to sync to both since we have 2 ipods and 2iphones.. that is REALLY cool.

Now heres a question for you. What if you have different contacts, ect on each computer, or different songs. For instance, you buy a song on one, but dont put it on the other computer. How would that work??? would it just add the newstuff to your iphone and then copy it to the other computer next time you sync up to that one?
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,924
1,234
Washington DC
Ok, but how does this work, exactly?

For a simple example, lets say you have 1,000 songs at home and 100 songs (different from home) at work.

You've convinced the iPhone that it can sync with the second computer, but now what? Does it try and put the 100 songs on and erase the other 1,000? And then at home, the reverse? This seems painful, so I'm guessing not.

Or does it leave the 1,000 alone, and ignore the 100? That seems pointless then, so I guess that's not it.

So perhaps it's combining them and giving you 1,100 songs. This seems like the goal, but how does it do it? Wouldn't it constantly be telling you that it can't find songs that it wants to sync? You could solve that by having the home computer set to sync "home" playlist, but not "work" and the work computer syncs "work" but not "home," perhaps? Wouldn't this lead to my first guess where it erases songs constantly?

And that's just for music. The concept of what happens to the contacts and calendars confuses me too much to even pose a question on it.

Anyway, I'm just trying to figure out what you DO with this cool little trick you've disovered.
 

TheSpaz

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jun 20, 2005
7,032
1
Ok, but how does this work, exactly?

For a simple example, lets say you have 1,000 songs at home and 100 songs (different from home) at work.

You've convinced the iPhone that it can sync with the second computer, but now what? Does it try and put the 100 songs on and erase the other 1,000? And then at home, the reverse? This seems painful, so I'm guessing not.

Or does it leave the 1,000 alone, and ignore the 100? That seems pointless then, so I guess that's not it.

So perhaps it's combining them and giving you 1,100 songs. This seems like the goal, but how does it do it? Wouldn't it constantly be telling you that it can't find songs that it wants to sync? You could solve that by having the home computer set to sync "home" playlist, but not "work" and the work computer syncs "work" but not "home," perhaps? Wouldn't this lead to my first guess where it erases songs constantly?

And that's just for music. The concept of what happens to the contacts and calendars confuses me too much to even pose a question on it.

Anyway, I'm just trying to figure out what you DO with this cool little trick you've disovered.

Oh, I'm sorry I forgot to say this: I have mine set to manually manage music and videos. This way, I can have different songs on each computer and manually add them to the iPhone. Before, I couldn't even MANUALLY add songs... I had to be at the same computer that I set up the iPhone with (at home). Now I can use either computer to change songs and videos. You wouldn't want iTunes to auto sync because it would then replace the 1,000 songs with 100 songs and that would be bad. So set it to manual.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,924
1,234
Washington DC
Oh, I'm sorry I forgot to say this: I have mine set to manually manage music and videos. This way, I can have different songs on each computer and manually add them to the iPhone. Before, I couldn't even MANUALLY add songs... I had to be at the same computer that I set up the iPhone with (at home). Now I can use either computer to change songs and videos. You wouldn't want iTunes to auto sync because it would then replace the 1,000 songs with 100 songs and that would be bad. So set it to manual.

Makes sense. Thanks.
 

djrobsd

macrumors 6502a
May 2, 2008
798
7
Well thanks to Simplify Media now I don't have to worry about all this hassle, but I still hope Apple eventually fixes this.

I have access to my libraries wherever I'm at either on my Iphone or on my laptops and PC's. Simplify rules.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,924
1,234
Washington DC
Well thanks to Simplify Media now I don't have to worry about all this hassle, but I still hope Apple eventually fixes this.

I have access to my libraries wherever I'm at either on my Iphone or on my laptops and PC's. Simplify rules.

I love Simplify too, but did you notice that the compression makes it sound like internet radio?

I mean, it's great to have, and I use it too, but it's by no means a replacement for actually having your music with you.
 

odinsride

macrumors 65816
Apr 11, 2007
1,145
0
Do you really need to copy the XML file as well? I thought that just stored song metadata/locations, and if not found when you launch itunes, it will generate one for you
 

TheSpaz

macrumors 604
Original poster
Jun 20, 2005
7,032
1
Does this tip still work in iTunes 8?

I haven't tried this in iTunes 8 yet, but it should still work because it wasn't a bug in iTunes that was making it work to begin with. The reason this trick works is because iTunes looks a the unique library ID to make sure you're only syncing one library. That's why you just copy your library file.
 
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