Problems syncing devices in Catalina


macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 24, 2009
I'm having a real fit trying to sync my iPods and iPads in Catalina. How Apple completely bungled something so simple really baffles me. I'd use the Feedback assistant to report the problems I'm having, but the Feedback Assistant causes my Mac to force reboot, so it seems they aren't having any of that.

In no particular order:
- The storage bar now shows the current amount of storage available, not how much *will* be available when selecting media; this is useless because I have no idea whether the device will be over full or not.
- There is no progress bar besides a tiny pie wheel on the sidebar. No idea if it's backing up, syncing songs, downloading firmware. There is absolutely no visual guide to what is happening.
- Podcast album artwork doesn't show up on any device, wether my old iPods or my new iPad. It seems that Podcasts the app no longer keeps the album artwork tied as meta data to the podcasts themselves, so it doesn't get synced over. This is truly bizarre.
- My iPod nano (7th gen) had to be reset in order to sync it the first time with Catalina. It assumed that it was being synced to a new library. That's fine: transitional pains, and I can live with it. But the kicker is that it's doing it again. Every so often I sync my iPod and it requires that I remove all of my synced music and I have to pick all the songs I had on it from scratch, requiring hours of work.
- Syncing unreliably. Trying to sync music and podcasts is iffy at best. I've told my iPod to sync all of selected podcasts, and yet it only did some of them, and actually removed the other from the iPod that were already there. Sometimes when syncing, one of the podcasts will simply disappear from the list: For instance. Say I've selected "Evan and Katlyn" to be synced. It will begin the syncing process, and suddenly "Evan and Katlyn" will disappear from the Finder syncing window as an option as if it's no longer a podcast on my computer. Only killing and restarting Finder seems to fix this, but it just happens again right away. It does actually get synced to the iPod though, so that's a partial success, but still. A huge bug.
- Cannot apply changes half of the time. I find the "Apply" or "Sync" buttons are greyed out half the time for no good reason; I can make changes but have no way of applying them if the device is mid-sync. This is also particularly frustrating.

This might all sound like user error, but I've been using iPods and syncing them since Mac OS X Tiger. This is a horrifically implemented user experience, and I've seen no improvements so far. How can Apple mess something up so badly when it should've been a relatively easy job of porting over features and functions from the old iTunes? I love syncing devices in Finder - it makes way more sense to me there, but this whole thing makes me want to go back to Mojave.

And for what it's worth, my mother is having the same exact problems on her 2018 Mac mini running Catalina and using her iPad mini. It's frustrating the heck out of us both!