Syncing iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch with iTunes

  • Last Modified: April 26, 2010
  • Article: HT1386
  • Old Article: 305741

Summary

This article is an overview of how to sync the following devices with your computer and where to get additional information.

  • iPod touch
  • iPhone
  • iPad

When you connect your device to your computer, items automatically sync according to your preferences set in iTunes. You can, for example, enter email addresses of friends and family members on your computer, connect your device to sync, then unplug it and tap a friend's email address on the touchscreen to email them.

You can sync

  • Contacts—names, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, and so on
  • Calendars—appointments and events
  • Notes (sync with Mac OS X Mail* or Microsoft Outlook)
  • Web bookmarks
  • Music and audiobooks
  • Photos
  • Podcasts
  • Movies and TV shows
  • Applications
  • Ringtones (iPhone only)
  • Books (iPad only)
  • iTunes U content

Note: On iPad, you can also sync documents via File Sharing with apps on iPad that support it.

You only need to set which items are synced in iTunes on your computer once. After that, just connect your device to start a sync.

Contacts, calendars, notes, and bookmarks are synced from (or to) your computer, so if you add, change, or delete them on the device, they are changed on your computer, and vice versa. You can also sync contacts with your Yahoo! or Google Address Book.

Email-account settings, music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and photos are synced one-way, from your computer to your device (though you can import photos taken with iPhone to your computer and you can transfer purchases from your device to iTunes). Using an iPad, you can send photos back to your computer (typically captured on iPad via the Camera Connection Kit).

If you like, you can set your device to sync with only a portion of what's on your computer. For example, you might want to sync only a group of contacts from your address book, or you may want to sync only songs from certain playlists so you don't fill your device with your music.

* Syncing is over USB only and on a Mac requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later.

Products Affected

iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Set up syncing

You use iTunes on your computer to choose which items to sync. Make sure you have the most recent version of iTunes (on a PC, open iTunes and choose Help > Check for Updates. On a Mac, open iTunes and choose iTunes > Check for Updates.)

1. Connect

  1. Connect your device to your computer using the included cable. By default, iTunes opens automatically.
  2. Select your device in iTunes under Devices on the left-hand side and click the Info tab.

2. Choose which items to sync

Click the respective tabs in iTunes to specify which media and information you want to sync from your computer to your device.

For more information about syncing your device with your computer, see the User's Guide:

3. Sync

Click Apply in the lower-right corner of the screen. Your computer syncs with your device according to your settings.

The first time you sync your device, you are asked if you want to merge data, replace data on the device, or replace the data on your computer. When you choose to merge information, any differences between the data will be mingled together. If you choose to replace information, information from either the computer or device will overwrite the information on the other. These options can not be undone. After that, anytime you connect your device to your computer, iTunes opens and syncs with your device according to the settings in iTunes.

You can adjust sync settings any time your device is connected to your computer.

Note: Syncing won't delete any contact in Yahoo! Address Book that contains a Messenger ID, even if you've deleted the contact from your address book on your device or your computer. To delete a contact containing a Messenger ID, log in to your Yahoo! account online and delete the contact using Yahoo! Address Book.

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.

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