Syncing With Two Computers ?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Lincx, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. Lincx macrumors member


    Apr 3, 2008
    Central Florida

    Ive got a question that i haven't been able to find an answer for.
    I have a Windows Vista desktop, and plan on buying a Mac Laptop depending on which they upgrade first/better. :rolleyes:
    Just wanted to know how would syncing between the computers.

    All my music is on this Vista Desktop, but is there anyway to sync my contacts and other things to the Mac and just sync my music from this machine ?

    Thanks in advance. :)
  2. AiralynRose macrumors 6502a

    Jun 3, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Do you have an iPod already? If you do, its very similar. Whenever you plug it in and click on it it will have tabs in iTunes. Theres a summary, info, ringtones, music, photos...etc. Each of these have options inside of them where you can pick and choose what to sync. I haven't tried it, but i assume you can have some checked on one computer and others checked on another computer.

    oh and you might want to consider Mobile Me if you plan on using iCal and such. It can keep your calendar, contacts, email, etc in sync between your pc, mac, and iPhone.
  3. djrobsd macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2008
    You can sync podcasts, contacts, etc between multiple computers. However, music and videos are locked down to one computer ONLY. If you plug it into a different computer, the iphone will not allow you to drag music or videos to it, and if you try to sync a playlist it will say "all content will be erased".

    Kinda sucks, but welcome to Apple DRM hell. At least with an iPod you can sync to any computer when you have it set to manual.
  4. bamafever09 macrumors regular


    Aug 6, 2008
    Hoover/Tuscaloosa Alabama
    heres what i did... i just got a imac and had all my music on my dell laptop. go buy a flash drive like a 8gb one. put all ur music on it then transfer it all on to ur new comp. the contacts and stuff stayed for me. simple as that then u have all ur music on the new one and when u sync it will creaate a back up on the new comp.:D
  5. HawaiiMacAddict macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2006
    On one of my Macs of course
    Aloha Lincx,

    I don't think this will work in your situation, as you have a PC and a Mac, but here's what I do. I have my iTunes library on an external drive so that I can use it with either my iMac or my MacBook Pro. As you're talking two different OSs, I'm not sure if what I do will work with you - I'm not sure how Windows does the iTunes library thing. It may work - all you can do is experiment. You'll have to get an external drive and port your iTunes library over to it. Then, hold down the option key (on Mac OS X) or the alt key (on Windows) when clicking on the iTunes app icon and you should get a window asking which library you wish to open. Simply navigate to the external drive and point to the iTunes library and you should be set (there are a couple of other things to do within your iTunes' preferences as well).

  6. Lincx thread starter macrumors member


    Apr 3, 2008
    Central Florida
    Yeah, Ive got an iPod, i didnt even think to check the tabs and see if i can set them up. :rolleyes:
    Good idea.

    Great to know because that's really all that matters, ill probably end up copying my music sooner or later to the Mac I buy but I'm only worried about my contacts, email, & calendar.

    Ill probably get an external HD as HawaiiMacAddict suggested, and do that. :)

    Great advice, ill keep it in mind when i get my Mac.
    I was planning on getting an external HD for Time Machine anyway, think i can use it for the iTunes library too ?
    Or does Time Machine only allow itself access to the external HD when its setup ?

    By the way, thanks for all the great responses, I really appreciate it. :)
  7. jsimpson macrumors regular


    Dec 30, 2006
    You can't sync an iPhone or an iPod to a Windows and Mac without it erasing and re-formatting it everytime. It is two different file systems. Each time you plug it into a different machine it will tell you it is formatted for the other (Mac or PC) and it will need to erased completely and setup for the new machine. Sorry. Now if you have 2 Macs I found a way to make it work and let you sync music,videos,etc if anyone is interested. I can't take credit for it as i found on Google but it works. ;)
  8. pj rage macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2008
    I do a similar thing that is a little easier for me (rather than lugging my external hdd around).

    I have two windows machines and I'm not familiar with macs and/or if they are able to access windows shared drives, but here's what I do:

    -Share my main music folder using windows sharing.
    -Map the shared folder on the same HOST machine (machine which has the files on it's physical hard drive) to like drive M:.
    -On my remote computer (laptop in this case). I map a network drive to the shared folder on my host computer (main computer).
    -Either start a new library on the M: drive or port an existing library (look up tutorials for this) to the M: drive. You can do this from either computer, but I recommend doing it from the HOST computer as it should be faster.
    -Go to the opposite computer, the one that you didn't just start a new library from, hold shift, click itunes, choose library, and point to the library file on the M: drive.
    -Voila! Now you can sync from both computers and access your full library from both computers. This works "so so" for 802.11b, in that it is very slow. I haven't been able to try it with 802.11g or wired yet, though, but I think it will be much much faster and work just fine.

    I don't know how this might apply to the mac / vista question, but assuming they can read each other's file system, the whole idea here is still sound. You need a library file (.itl) that contains file locations that can be found no matter what computer you are on. Hence the M:. From the host computer the library is looking for M:\Music, and from the client computer, it's also looking for M:\Music, and since M:\ is a mapped drive to the same folder, it of course finds the files. You can apply the same principle with external hdds or whatever other method you want.
  9. Roxerroneous macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2008
    Hey jsimpson, from my personal experience I don't think that is necessarily true with the iphone. Previously I was syncing my iphone with two PCs (one for music/videos/pictures and one for contacts/calendars) and switched yesterday to a macbook pro (which I'm loving so far). I thought the file structure would be a problem, but to my surprise I plugged my phone in to the MBP and it synced fine. I also plugged it into my vista machine and it synced my music, videos and pictures fine there as well. I really can't explain it because I was expecting a mandatory restore of my phone, but I'm not going to complain since it seems to be working for me!

    To the OP, it sounds like you want to run a similar setup to what I have. The advice others have given is exactly what I did - with your phone plugged in, click the respective tabs and check boxes for what you want to sync on that computer.
  10. jsgreen macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2007
    I sync to 2 computers, one an iMac and the other a Windows laptop.

    In my setup, the content each computer syncs is mutually exclusive. The iMac is syncs music, videos, podcasts and applications and the Windows machine set to sync contacts and calendar (to Outlook).

    This setup has been trouble free as far as managing content - but a minor inconvenience as I have to switch back and forth occasionally (but livable). I bought a $4 USB-charge cable on ebay and that has worked well.
  11. jsimpson macrumors regular


    Dec 30, 2006
    Cool, well maybe the changed something, :) It used to be a different setup completley....(I thought??) :eek:
  12. Lincx thread starter macrumors member


    Apr 3, 2008
    Central Florida
    Sounds like a plan to me ! :D
    But I wonder, using this method it sounds like I could possibly mirror the libraries.
    Like if i was to put some music into "M:/Music" for example, could it show up on the Vista iTunes and OS X iTunes ?
    Sort of how the iPhone would mirror your library if it's set to be that way.
    Catch my drift ?

    Thats good because I went to hell and back with my iPod when i had a temp. Mac for a month or two.
    I was stuck with no new music for that time because i didn't want to format the iPod lol.
    It was good they didn't use the same concept on the iPhone, or having to restore it every time you switched OSes would be such a pain. :p

    Haha, mine's going to be the opposite. Music and Videos are on this Vista desktop, and my Contacts and Calendar are going to be on the Laptop I'm getting.
    I cant stand Outlook, I miss :apple:Mail. :rolleyes:
  13. pj rage macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2008
    I'm not sure I totally catch your drift, but I think I know what you mean. In my setup, I can add files and edit my library from either machine and the other machine will "get the updates" because, from either machine I'm using the exact same music files and library file. One thing that I haven't tried (and won't try) that I'm sure would mess it up, is trying to access the library from both machines simultaneously. The reason this works at all is because both copies of itunes are looking at the exact same library file which is pointing to the exact file locations for the music. And when I add music, I add it to the shared drive, which both computer's libraries are pointed to.

    Now, obviously both of my machines have local drives that each other cannot see, ie, C:\. If I were on my laptop (the client) and I added music to the library file it uses (M:\iTunes\iTunesLibrary.itl), it WILL add it to the library, and it will work, but ONLY from the laptop. If, after I added the music files from C:\, I went to my desktop (host), and looked for those new files, it would list them, but with an exclamation point because they can't be found. It lists them because it is using the same library file from M:, but it can't find the files because they are pointing to C:\ which, on the desktop, the files are not there! Now, if I copied the files from the laptop's C:\ to the desktop's C:\, it WOULD find them and everything would be just fine, except that any changes to those files (ie tag info) would not carry over from one machine to the other without copying the actual files back and forth. This is why it's nice to keep all the files in a shared drive and point itunes to the shared drive, so that every computer has access to the exact same files.

    I hope I didn't talk you in circles too much :p

    Once it's all set up, it's actually not a bad setup. But again I'm not sure if this exact theory can be applied to mac and pc interaction. If the above posters are right, you won't even need to do this ;)

    One thing you MIGHT be able to try if all else fails, is to use a sharing medium that both computers can access - a common ground for sharing, like ftp maybe. Maybe you could run an ftp server on one of the machines (the one with your music) that hosts all of your music on either the mac or pc, and then start a library that points to the files on the ftp server. If both computer's itunes libraries point to a library file on the ftp server, and that library file points to music on the ftp server also, then you should have access to your library from either machine similar to the way I do.
  14. Lincx thread starter macrumors member


    Apr 3, 2008
    Central Florida
    You hit the nail right on the head, I think you've got a great method with the shared folder.
    Especially being that if i add something, both libraries will reflect the update as you said which is what i was just asking, in a more complicated way i see now lol.
  15. cs9314 macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2008
    Sync to 2 PC's (one w/Outlook & one w/iTunes)

    Roxerroneous; Your situation sounds like mine, but wanting to make sure before I leap into something here. I use Outlook on my work PC (where the IT guys refuse to grant Active Sync due to security reasons) for my contacts and calendar; and then have my music library (iTunes) on my personal laptop (where I have already sync'd my iPhone 3G model). Do it need to install iTunes on my work PC and import the MS Outlook into that and then go thru the steps outlined?:confused:
  16. Dakotafan macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2007
    this might be a bit off topic and I tried to search. I just bought a macbook and would like to sync it with my iphone and I tried isync last night and it didn't work. Do you need mobileme to do this or is there another source that can do this?

    Thanks in advance.
  17. Roxerroneous macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2008

    What you said about right to me - I sync my contacts/calendar with my mac and my media with my PC and I haven't had any problems so I can't imagine it being any different in your situation. All you need to do is install iTunes on your PC and select Outlook as the program from which you'd like to sync your contacts and calendar. As long as you keep your media (anything that could have DRM) to only one computer you should be fine. Hope it helps and feel free to PM me if you have any problems.
  18. someguy7014 macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2008
    There is an app for jailbroken phone that allows you to do exactly this with the toggle of a button.

    I dont know what its called but i do know it exists.
  19. Dakotafan macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2007
    what about syncing feeds, etc?

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