How To Put Music On an iPod

how to put songs on an ipod
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Having an iPod is cool, but iPods aren't much use without music on them. To really enjoy your device, you have to learn how to put music on an iPod. This article shows you how.

iPods Sync With iTunes, Not the Cloud

You use the iTunes program on your desktop or laptop to download songs to an iPod, using a process called syncing. When you connect your iPod to a computer running iTunes, you can add almost any music (and, depending on what model you have, other content like video, podcasts, photos, and audiobooks) on that's on that computer to the iPod.

Some other Apple devices, like the iPhone and iPod touch, can sync to computers or access music from the cloud. However, because iPods don't have Internet access, the traditional iPod models—the Classic, nano, and Shuffle—can only sync with iTunes.

How To Put Music On an iPod

To sync music to your iPod, follow these simple steps:

  1. Make sure you’ve got iTunes installed on your computer and have added music to your iTunes library. You can get music by ripping songs from CD, downloading it from the Internet, and buying it at online stores like the iTunes Store, among other means. iPods don't support streaming music services like Spotify or Apple Music
  2. Connect your iPod to your computer using the USB cable that came with it (not just any cable; you need one that fits Apple's Dock Connector or Lightning ports, depending on your model). If iTunes isn’t already open on your computer, it should open now.

    If you haven’t set up your iPod yet, iTunes will prompt you through the set up process
  1. After you've gone through that process, or if your iPod has already been set up, you’ll see the main iPod management screen (you may need to click the iPod icon in iTunes to get to this screen). This screen shows a picture of your iPod and has a set of tabs along the side or across the top, depending on what version of iTunes you have. The first tab/menu is Music. Click it
  1. The first option in the Music tab is Sync Music. Check the box next to it (if you don't, you won't be able to download songs)

  2. Once you've done that, a number of other options become available:

    • Entire Music Library does what it says: It syncs all the music in your iTunes library to your iPod
    • Sync Selected playlists, artists, and genres allows you to choose what music goes on your iPod using those categories. Check the boxes next to the items you want to sync
    • Include music videos syncs any music videos in your iTunes library to your iPod (assuming it can play video, that is)
  3. For more detailed control control over what songs get downloaded to your iPod, you can make a playlist and sync only that playlist, or uncheck songs to prevent them from being added to your iPod
  4. After you’ve changed settings and determined which songs you want to download, click the Apply button at the bottom right of the iTunes window.

    This will begin the downloading songs on to your iPod. How long it takes depends on how many songs you're downloading.

Once syncing is complete, you will have successfully added music onto your iPod.

If you want to add other content, like audiobooks or podcasts, and your iPod supports this, look for other tabs in iTunes, near the Music tab.

Click those tabs and then choose your options on those screens. Sync again and that content will be downloaded to your iPod, too.

How to Put Music On an iPhone or iPod touch

The iPod is limited to syncing with iTunes, but that's not the case with the iPhone and iPod touch. Because those devices can connect to the Internet, and because they can run apps, both of them have many more options for adding music. Check out these articles for some ideas on other ways to get music: