User cries because the iPhone won't accept media from more than 1 computer.

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by fishmonger, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. fishmonger macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2010
    Bug Report

    Problem Report Title: User cries because the iPhone won't accept media from more than 1 computer.

    Product: iPhone

    Version/Build Number: 3.1.2 + later

    Classification: Enhancement

    Is It Reproducable? Always

    Problem Details:

    Please use the description format required by Apple Engineering.


    Loyal Apple customer and computer literate user reduced to tears because iTunes refuses to let her copy non-DRM content from multiple source computers onto her iPhone. "I hate Apple!" she cries as she storms out of the house, her $500 telephone flung to the ground in a fit of rage.

    Steps to Reproduce:

    Buy two Apple computers, padding Apple's accounts. Keep non-DRM music and videos on these computers.

    Buy one Apple iPhone, further padding Apple's accounts. Expect to use it as an iPod.

    Sync the iPhone with the computer #1. Copy some non-DRM music onto the iPhone using iTunes-supported methods. Additionally copy some authorized DRM content onto the phone, in order to ensure we are compensating content holders.

    Plug the iPhone into computer #2. Now attempt to sync non-DRM music from the computer #2. For good measure, attempt to copy some authorized DRM content as well. This ensures that the loyal user has paid money for the transaction, raising the stakes.

    Expected Results:

    User finds that it is possible to use the 16 GB disk on her phone to store her personal music collection, no matter where it came from. User praises iTunes' ease of use as she buys more DRM content from the iTunes Store. User buys more Apple hardware, and tells her friends to do the same.

    Actual Results:

    iTunes refuses to copy files from both computers. It offers he the option of wiping the content on her phone in order to add content from computer #2.

    If at first the user thinks she has succeeded, she soon realizes that her content from computer #1 has been erased, only to be replaced by the selected content from computer #2. Enraged and in tears, user screams, "I hate Apple!" and throws her very expensive telephone on the ground.

    User realizes that she has been had. All that extra storage she paid for is practically inaccessible under many scenarios. User refuses to buy more Apple hardware, and user will never pay for DRM content through the iTunes store again.


    The iPhone is sufficiently powerful that the user considers it a computer. Just as she can copy arbitrary content into the iTunes libraries on computer #1 and computer #2, she expects to copy arbitrary content onto her iPhone. Instead, she is shackled by a "synchronization" paradigm that arguably works for contacts and notes but is entirely irrelevant to a 16 GB mobile library of music and videos.

    Please don't make your loyal users cry.
  2. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    uh, just like every ipod, you can click "manually manage music" and click and drag from any itunes you want.....
  3. RoboCop001 macrumors 65816

    Oct 4, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
  4. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
  5. fishmonger thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2010
    Unfortunately, clicking "manually manage music" on an iPhone (after plugging it in to a new computer) yields the following warning:

    "An iPhone can be synced with only one iTunes library at a time. Erasing and syncing replaces the contents of this iPhone with the contents of this iTunes library."

    And they mean it.

    Confirmed. I put 6.25 GB of music onto my iPhone from computer #1. Then I moved to computer #2, where I have been syncing contacts. I enabled 'manually manage music and videos,' and after a short delay, all 6.25 GB of music and videos were deleted by iTunes.

    Only photos, apps, and contacts remain.

    This is especially strange, since apps and contacts are more likely to require strict synchronization than music and videos. Conflicting music and videos should be merged. Otherwise, users should be allowed to build their libraries from any source, without iTunes erasing their media when they attempt to add new sources.

    Some users have speculated that this is a copy protection scheme, but that doesn't hold water. This content was legitimately licensed, non-DRM media. The videos were Creative Commons licensed, non-DRM files, and some even included videos copyrighted by the user. Nevertheless, iTunes deletes them all.

    Now there are two users with the same problem.

  6. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    Yes, whatever you have originally BEFORE manually managing music should be erased, after manual is enabled you should be able to hop from itunes to itunes no problem.

    You know, maybe learning about how something works before just rushing through clicking buttons is a good approach to life....
  7. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    There are guides all over google about working around this.
  8. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Fix: As designed.
    Workaround: Use iTunes to share your libraries, importing anything you want on the iPod onto a single computer.
  9. fishmonger thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2010
    The stated problem: iTunes makes users cry. There is no good reason to make the user endure data loss in the first place, and there is no reason the user should have to research something this simple.

    Expected behavior: enabling "manual management" of files should not delete files on the device. It should simply allow the user to manually manage those files. iTunes should preserve all files on the device before "manual" mode is enabled.

    The proposed workaround (starting over in a new mode) is not the same as a thoughtfully designed application. This bug pertains to the user's experience in iTunes. The need for a workaround proves that there is a problem here. You don't delete users' data, destroying their trust, and then pretend like it's alright just because you've enabled new way to load files onto the untrustworthy device.

    You expect the user to share 100 GB of music between multiple computers on separate networks? In separate locations? I think not.

    What happens if you apply the same logic to a portable hard drive? To a netbook? To a USB flash (keychain) disk?
  10. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    How many people have that problem? Most people have, at most, one computer on which they are allowed to store their music (since most work computers are not authorized for any personal use of that sort). Those that have more are the same people who are more capable of dealing with any difficulties arising from that arrangement.

    I have no sympathy for you. Just a few moments of informing yourself before you did something would have told you everything you needed to know and the method of avoiding the problem (which does not result in data loss, unless you ignore all common sense and Apple's warnings and delete the music from your computer, which would defeat the purpose of syncing it to the phone automatically anyways). Seriously, you're doing something the iPhone was never intended to do, and then getting upset it doesn't do what you wanted it to do (even though it was never advertised to do so).

  11. Steve686 macrumors 68030


    Nov 13, 2007
    US>FL>Miami/Dade>Sunny Isles Beach>Condo
    LOL at a computer program making a "grown man" cry. Dahahahahah.
  12. fishmonger thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2010
    Nope, upon further testing, the suggested workaround fails.

    If you enable 'manually manage music and videos' on computer #1, iTunes will erase your music and videos. Now you can copy new media from computer #1 onto the device.

    If, then, you move the device back to computer #2 the 'manually manage' mode's checkbox is unclicked. If you proceed to enable 'manually manage music and videos,' iTunes refuses to proceed unless you permit it to delete the new media you just copied. Now you can copy new media from computer #2 onto the (empty) device, but not from computer #1.

    If you return to computer #1, 'manually manage' mode is off, and so the cycle of violence perpetuates itself unto the next generation.
  13. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    Again, if you actually, i dont know, LEARN before DOING then you wouldn't have the problem. Very few people swap regularly from auto sync to manual management.

    Hmmm, maybe that little thing that pops up WHEN YOU SET UP THE DEVICE that asks how you want your music managed, should have tipped you off to something.

    I have no sympathy for people with a shoot from the hip approach to technology, learn how to use it right and don't bitch it doesn't work exactly how you want it to.

    You may have to authorize the computer, you can't just steal music from any computer you want that has itunes on it.
  14. fishmonger thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2010
    Anyone with two computers in the house, or one computer at home plus a computer at an office where they are not subject to degrading and draconian oversight by their IT department. These scenarios are quite common.

    The problem is not that iTunes inflicts needless data loss because it is a poorly conceived application. Sure, it warns users when it insists on purging files. The stated problem is that iTunes in fact gives the average iPhone user no easy way to copy media from two different computers. The purported workaround with manual mode fails. This is true even for non-conflicting categories like music and videos.

    The various unauthorized hacks, documented elsewhere, do not constitute bugfixes.
  15. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008

    Also, you apparantlly have no idea what a "bug" is. I don't go around saying there is a bug with my computer just because i can't directly sync all my media to my xbox. Things arent bugs just because they don't work exactly as you want them to.
  16. fishmonger thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2010
    Authorizing the computer does not help, and in this case authorization is not a factor, because the iPhone makes users cry when all content is non-DRM media, all bought and paid for by the user or copyrighted by the user herself.

    Surely you are not seriously suggesting that we pay $500 for a phone full of nannyware. What if you apply the same logic to an external hard drive? To your laptop? What if you weren't allowed to copy a public domain PDF from the internet onto your laptop without authorizing the transaction via iTunes, an application published by an entity who is not the copyright holder for the files in question?

    Don't ask corporations to police your private life. You might get what you deserve.
  17. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    Idk what the hell you are talking about buddy, if you authorize the computers and enable manual management you should be able to pull your tunes from those computers. You sound like you have an issue somewhere when you said the "manually manage music" box doesn't stay checked. If that is checked, the computers authorized, you should be able to get your music that simply, if not, then you definitely have some sort of unique problem that ive never seen before, and I've useed/serviced hundreds of ipods and iphones.
  18. TheSpaz macrumors 604


    Jun 20, 2005
    The iPhone does not work like an iPod or iPod touch.


    This is correct. You can only sync 1 iPhone with 1 computer at a time regardless of manually managing music

    You obviously do not own an iPhone because if you did, you wouldn't be talking such nonsense. Only the iPhone is unable to sync music from more than one computer. Get your facts together man. You're embarrassing yourself. The iPhone does not behave the same way as an iPod touch.

    You don't know what you're talking about. Get an iPhone, try it... then eat your words because you'll be wrong.

    The only way I've been able to make this work is by taking my iTunes database file and using the SAME database on multiple computers. Then you may copy different files in iTunes. This tricks the iPhone into thinking it's the same computer because your iTunes database file has the same ID number. I've done this and it works. It's a pain, but it does work.

    I agree that users shouldn't have to use workarounds to do simple things that an iPod can do, but we got screwed.

    As for the rest of you cutting this guy down, that's really unnecessary because I've owned every iPhone version there is and NONE of them let you sync across multiple computers (without the workaround I just mentioned). It doesn't matter if you use manually manage music or not, it simply does not behave like an iPod touch. This was one of my biggest complaints when I switched from an iPod touch to the iPhone... I HATE that feature/bug.

    Sorry to burst your bubble again, but until you have an iPhone to do that with, don't make fun of the guy. He's not an idiot and he's doing everything correctly. You're the one who doesn't know what you're talking about.

    This is how you sync an iPhone with more than one computer. This ONLY APPLIES TO IPHONES AND NOT IPODS.

    NT1440: You're a nice guy and all, don't get all 100% sure of yourself about something you do not own. You're wrong in every way. Have a nice day.
  19. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    If you really are talking about computers on the same home network, there is an easy solution.

    Put ALL media on computer 'A.' Sync all iPods and iPhones and Apple TVs with computer 'A.'

    Now, use the sharing feature in iTunes on computer 'B' and 'C' and 'D' to watch or listen to any media you like on those computers.

    This is what I do at home and it works fine. Is there a problem with doing it this way?
  20. TheSpaz macrumors 604


    Jun 20, 2005
    No, sorry... you're wrong again. We're not talking about authorizing multiple computers to play files on. The OP is talking about non-DRM music that do not need authorization and even if he DID authorize both computers, they still won't sync to the iPhone from more than one computer at a time. The iPod touch is completely different and does exactly what the OP wants to do, but not the iPhone.

    It goes like this:

    Plug iPhone in, select manually manage music. Authorize computer (not needed). Copy some songs over to it.

    Go to second computer, plug iPhone in. Suddenly the "manually manage music button" is turned off and if you attempt to turn it on again, it will erase your entire iPhone music collection and pair with the new computer. Then copy some songs from the new computer to the iPhone.

    Go back to the original computer and the same thing happens again. Manually Manage Music is unchecked again and you have to erase your iPhone to copy music to it.

    Unlike you, I actually KNOW what I'm talking about and what you are telling him he can do will NOT work on the iPhone.

    Get an iPhone, get 2 computers and record a video of you doing it, because I would like to see you struggle. Really.

    He doesn't have a problem getting songs onto each computer, he has a problem with trying to add songs to his iPhone from EITHER computer he wants without having to erase the iPhone each time he wants to add songs from another computer. Using the sharing feature would not help him copy songs to his iPhone... it would just help him get the songs on the other computer.

    The reason this bug/feature bothers me is that I have a computer at work and a computer at home. Sometimes I'll think of a song I want to listen to on the way home, but I can't copy it to my iPhone from iTunes at work because my iPhone only syncs with my computer at home, so I'm stuck. This is why I use ReaddleDocs because I can use PhoneView to copy songs directly to that app's content folder and listen to the music through the third party ReaddleDocs app. This works great.

    The other situation is if I find a cool ringtone at work... there's no way to get the new ringtone on my iPhone unless I'm jailbroken.
  21. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Go back and read my advice again. You misread something, I think. I know it solves his problem because it's what I do at home.

    There are 3 Macs, 2 iPhones, 1 iPod Touch, and an Apple TV in my house. I can put whatever media I want on ALL 6 devices whenever I want to. That's exactly what he's asking to do, is it not?
  22. TheSpaz macrumors 604


    Jun 20, 2005
    Perhaps he doesn't have 2 computers on the same network. I was talking more about me than him. Sometimes while at work, I wanna get a song on my phone, but I can't due to Apple's limitation with the iPhone.

    For some odd reason, it works for the iPod touch... I used to do it all the time and it was great.
  23. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    At one point he said something about multiple computers on a home network, but, yeah, he's been brining up a lot of hypotheticals and examples during all his posts so I am honestly not sure what his exact situation is anymore.
  24. TheSpaz macrumors 604


    Jun 20, 2005
    True. However, the fact remains, the iPhone cannot sync to more than one computer at a time.

    His only option right now is to do what you said and use Home Sharing to sync music from to the computer that syncs with the iPhone and then to the iPhone.

Share This Page