Multiple iPods, one computer. How best to manage them?


My future brother-in-law now has, thanks to Christmas, two new iPods where he had none before. One is a 512 meg Shuffle and the other is a 20 gig 4th generation HP iPod, and he needs to manage them both from the same computer (currently an HP PC running Windows.) Since the two are radically different in terms of capacities and capabilities, having iTunes set to treat them both the same seemed to me to be a non-starter last night when I was helping him to get them set up. The solution I arrived at was this:

1. Set up two playlists, one for each iPod
2. Set the iPod preferences in iTunes so that the iPods are manually managed.
3. When he plugs in the Shuffle, go back into Edit: Preferences: iPod and change the settings there so that it’s automatically updating from the Shuffle’s playlist. Then update. Then set it back to manual management in the iPod preferences in iTunes.
4. For the 20 gig, same thing except that iTunes is updating from the 20 gig’s playlist.

He’s a professional workout coach and personal trainer, so he really wants to keep both as both are great for different things (the Shuffle for while he’s working out, the 20 gig for while he’s in the car, etc.) but there has to be an easier way to manage this. Has anyone worked out a better way, on either the Mac or the PC (he’s a potential switcher)? If so, let me know in the comments.

Update: Apparently, iTunes is capable of handling multiple iPods automatically. Thanks to MC Brown and Sam Pullara for letting me know about this, it’ll be a big help! Sam even provided a screenshot of this in action:



Hi Guys,

I have an old 3rd or 4th gen ipod(it’s in black and white). my sister just bought a new ipod nano, so i set up a new user account for her. she started putting songs onto it and everything was working fine.

i then logged into my user account and my itunes program had disappeared. i tried to download itunes, but it won’t let me, saying it is already on the computer.

I’m pretty sure my music is still on the computer, but can someone please tell me how to get the itunes programe onto my account.

Please help or i’ll cry, boo hoo hoo



Hi…I am thick. Now I have told you that I feel better. I have a 60GB ipod. My daughter has a new 80GB ipod. I have loads of songs etc. on my (Windows XP) PC. Could someone very simply tell me (I am 60 – so make allowances)how I can use the same pc for my daughter – we dont mind sharing the exact same music as we have enough space. Do I have to put all my music from my LIBRARY into PLAYLISTS, or is there a way of my daughters ipod just getting what I have displayed on LIBRARY. Thanks so much – Elaine


I successfully had a 4 gig and a 1 gig nano running on itunes, untill the auto update tried to update the software on the 4 gig, it stopped half way through and “froze”. in the end I had to disconnect the ipod as it was doing nothing (the do not disconnect symbol would not go)!I lost all the songs that I had loaded onto it! Now itunes will not see the 4 gig at all, it only sees the original 1 gig!
I have tried running the 2 ipods on 4 different PC’s and it seems to corrupt the itunes on all the PC’s
it done something that stopped itunes seeing the 1 gig, on all PC’s exept the new windows XP which ‘luckily’ still sees it!! help!! I need the 4 gig as the 1 gig is not big enough.

Sarah P

can someone please help me as there is a lot of fighting going on at the moment here!

I firstly have an ipod mini, my brother just got a brand nw ipod. We have figued out how to deal with updating each others ipod. BUT -I not cannot listen to iTunes properly anymore. It’s only his music that is selected, so I have to manually click all my songs to play. And I can’t use shuffle as there’s only his selected. We have a PC (not mac) we have tried setting up two user accounts, but it hasn’t made a difference. PLEASE please someone help us before i kill him because it’s all working in his favour, even though I actually had the ipod first?!

We need TWo separate libraries!!


OK. I can see that having 2 different iPods on one PC (running Win XP) is doable.
Since am an iPod virgin and just want to see how this can be accomplished, is there a specific guide that someone could point me to, so that we can follow something step-by step.
Basically, the 2 iPods have different libraries of music.
Would it be possible to synch or move the music from the smaller capacity iPod to the larger one, so the larger one acts as the backup “device”.
Its going to take me longer to delete files/apps in my PC to create space for BOTH iPod libraries.
Appreciate any help/suggestion or forward to a link that can do so.


Hi.. Glad I’m not the only technophobe out there.
I have the latest 60g Video Ipod and my girlfriend an old 4g Mini Ipod. Can I update the Itunes on our chared PC with latest SW receievd with new video Ipod and will this version of Itunes work with the (very) old Mini Ipod?? Thanks for your advice.


My itunes didnt automatically recognise 2 different ipods (nano and 5g). So I set up 2 user accounts so now there are 2 itunes librarys – one for each windows user account. Easy Peasy


Hi Emily,
The post above yours explains how to do what you want.
Key thing is to turn off “automatic updating” for the smaller iPod. Then create a playlist for the small iPod, and use the instructions posted by Yat to set it up so it updates.


sorry , but my sister and i both have iPods. I just got mine yesterday, and it’s a shuffle. She has a mini, and no way does she have 120 songs on it. AND i dont have a Mac running OS X. So that is no help. What should we do to get both on the same computer?


what you need to do is(assuming you have windows) go to file then create new playlist, then create all the playlists you want for your own use,then create all the playlist that the other person who uses the ipod wants
than go into each playlist and add all the songs that eacj of you prefer

then go to edit> prefrances >choose the ipod tab at the top >then the music tab underneath then when the relevent ipod is plugged in and choose >aotomaticlly update selected playlists only, the depending on whos ipod it is tick the relevent playlists and
you have to then plug in the next ipod and do the same , this time selecting the remaining playlists

and viola………………….
when you add songs to each playlist, each ipod will only sync with the playlists which it has been told to sync with…..

useful anyone???


MULTIPLE IPODS – everyone says that you can manage your ipods in itunes. every time i get a new one (i’m at number 4 now) i set it up the way is says to… and then itunes won’t recognize the old one. it seems to me it only recognizes one, the new one. how can i change the settings to handle all of them for different things. one for books, one for workout music, one for listening, one for “what was i thinking – there has to be a better devise?!”

Rich Trouton


If you and your brother have a Mac running OS X, set up different accounts for the two of you. He loads his music in his account, you load yours in yours, and then just make sure you’re logged into your own account when you want to sync your iPod.


I am having the same problem as Olivia. My brother and I each have an ipod and we do not want the same songs on them. If anyone knows how to make that happen please tell me!

Rich Trouton

Sorry to say it, Olivia, but whatever’s keeping your father’s computer from making new user accounts really needs to be fixed before you and your sister will be able to do what you’re asking to do.


My sister and I both have iPods. I got mine first so the library has all my music on it. I guess the library is the main source of music. So I put all her songs she wanted into the library and then put it into a playlist titled “Hannah’s iPod” and then deleted the songs from my library. Obviously it deleted the songs from her iPod library and then her iPod when she plugged it in.


Important note: My dad’s computer is not able to make new user names or accounts. So there is only one.


On iTunes 6 supporting multiple ipods (and the screenshot by Sam Pullara): does anyone know this works in Windows too? I can’t find anything about multiple ipods the help. (am deciding whether to buy a shuffle next to my 30gb)


My Fiance will kill me if I screw this up! Please help!

I removed the Autosync option on the Itunes software already but the XP (system software itself) New hardware wizard is my main concern at the moment. If I were to follow the prompts on the XP system’s “add new hardware wizard”, would my fiance’s ipod be overwritten in regards to the drivers?

Essentially, her Ipod has already been installed on the pc in question so if I were to plug my ipod into said pc (this is before I even open Itunes and concern myself with it’s recognition of the new ipod) and then install my ipod as well; would the original ipod be overwritten and no longer be recognised by XP?

I may be confusing this matter since I have no pc expertise at all. I really don’t want to cause more of a headache for my fiance when she is ready to go back in and update her ipod.

I mainly want to get a clear answer to the windows end of the process. Since I know that any disturbances with the drivers can cause havoc in the future.

Thank you for the quick response to my issue. I hope I can get further help.

Chris Holland

don’t plug your Fiance’s iPod into your PC unless you’re ready and willing for everything on your PC to overwrite what’s on her iPod. In your specific instance, it would likely erase everything that’s on it.

While you can have multiple iPods sync’ed on one PC or Mac, what it means is, you are able to have your PC’s library mirrored on multiple iPods. If an iPod was tied to antoher PC’s library, you can’t *merge* anything.

In other words, the process of synchronizing your music library is very-much a one-way process, it’s PC –> iPod. It’s not really synchronizing … well, depending on the definition of “synchronizing”. heh.

My Fiance will kill me if I screw this up! Please help!

My fiance and I have recently decided to use her PC to sync both of our Ipods. My question has to do with the very beginning steps of this process. When I plug my Ipod into her PC for the first time it reads it as new hardware. Do I follow the windows XP prompts to set-up this “new hardware” or is there something else I should do instead. The bottomline is: I don’t want to overwrite my fiance’s Ipod info on XP because she will see to my demise. Can someone please help me sync my ipod while not disrupting my fiance’s?


please help…. me and my sister both have ipods… and only one computer, we each would like to organize our playlists differently but cannot figured out a way to do this… some one pleeeeeaseee help!


the computer will not read the other i-pod. it just days that there is no i-pod connected


ok so i just got a new iPod and my son has already had an iPod, when I downloaded it they put all of his songs onto mine and basically deleted his account… how do i create a new account??

Rich Trouton


If you’re using Mac OS X, set up different user accounts for you and your son. That way, your iPod syncs up with the music collection on your account, and your son’s will sync up with his.


my son and i both have ipod nanos and my daughter has one on our other computer.How can me and my son have both ipods on the same coumputer??


Hi! Thanks to all that have posted and I am a goof it seems, because I am lost. Thanks to Christmas I too have two iPods, ona 30GB and one a 60GB both 5th generation I am told. I want to program one for my son and give it to him, but mange it on my work PC (yes, i do guage what the little one downloads and watches :o)). Anyway, again, I amlost as it seems i have a hard time managing even one. First, does it have to update every song every time they are plugged in??? I mean, the other day I went in and ‘unclicked’ everything except my new items that I had just added through iTunes, and sure enough, when i unhooked it, it only had the new stuff :o). So, in a nutshell, if someone could help, i’d be very grateful and will pass on the ‘niceness’ as I am just a nice person :o). Good karma for all involved – lol! Okay, i would ike to have some of the same songs and videos on the two, but mostly different stuff. And, I am wondering if it needs to update the stuff each time. Thanks!!!! Signed: CLueless.

Jon Petrie

i tunes 6 will support 5 ipods hooked up to the computer at once

Chris Holland

yeah i have a 4 year-old 10GB firewire iPod, a Shuffle, and as of this Christmas, a new 60GB iPod video. I haven’t plugged them all at the same time though.

Martin MC Brown

You dont need to ‘manage’ anything – iTunes automatically supports multiple iPods. You can even have multiple iPods plugged in at the same time. iTunes manages a completely set of preferences, and, if you’ve configured them as such, separately manage the individual play lists that are copied across.

You certainly don’t need to go through the hoops you suggest…


hey can you have ithouch and iphone but can you tranfer the apps to onoter new divise? can you have the same apps in the same divise and in the same itunes?

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