A lot of people have often asked me how to efficiently use the iPods, I for one got my iPod at a whopping 14,900/- INR and using it for playing music only with all default looks seemed a dumb proposition, being the g33k I am it was quite obvious that I will be snooping around for tools to make the best of my iPod.
Part 1 of the guide will tell you:
- How to manage Audio & Video.
- How to back up your iPod library.
- Transfer songs from the iPod to the PC in way that the file names are the same as the song title or artist/album.
- How to add you tube videos in a few clicks without having to convert manually.
I own a 30 GB 5G iPod. 5G are the ones that are video enabled and don’t have the search feature and most noticeably Cover Flow. 30 GB is a lot of space even for the hardcore audiophiles, however Apple decided to up the ante and increase the base capacity to 60 GB & add features like Cover Flow.
But that certainly does not mean that our 5G iPods are obsolete or no good rather they have more potential in them as Apple claims. Here is a list of tips, tricks & softwares that will help you.
1. Audio Management:
I am not an Apple fan & this is a fact well known but when it comes to the iPod I would strongly recommend you to use iTunes for managing your iPod library.
By default iTunes has a setting by which it will make a duplicate copy of the songs you add to it’s media library in a predefined folder in it’s settings. This can and should be unchecked as I assume you are smart enough not to use C:\ drive as the location to store your media.
Have a look at the following screen shot, this will show you what I want you to uncheck.
I will advise you to un-sync your iPod, that is, manually manage your songs, iTunes has an option by which it will automatically – add/erase songs from your iPod depending on the contents of the iTunes Music Folder as shown in the above screen shot. Now, this is more a hassle than a boon for most of us. When you plug in your iPod start iTunes and then click on your iPod in the left navigation bar:
Under devices you will see your iPod.
Click on it and then press F2 to rename your iPod. When you click your device the right screen shows you the details about your iPod, the firmware version etc. below you will see the options, I would suggest you to have the same as mine.
The options are self explanatory. For more information on them click here.
Playlists: iTunes has a feature called ‘Smart Playlists’ which automatically makes playlists based on parameters set by you, Apple has a tutorial written to help you make Smart Playlists. Follow this link.
Tag Editing & Album Art: Tag-Editing is a must for iPods. If you have messed up tags you will have a horrible time browsing through the songs on the iPod. I use a combination of methods to ensure that my tags are well maintained. Album Art is cool, it looks amazing on the iPod and even on your PC’s media player.
Winamp 5.53 + mp3Tag + iTunes + Google = Proper Tags & beautiful Album Art.
Winamp‘s latest version have an auto-tag feature and it works like a charm, it will search for the tag info based on filename & incomplete tag information. It also has a search for Album Art.
mp3Tag is a great tool for embedding Album Art, which means that even if you change the location of the song, the Album Art is not lost.
iTunes‘ multi file tag editor feature is something that I find really helpful, you can choose the songs together, let’s say a group of songs belonging to the same album or by the same artist and you can edit the artist/album info of all the files together at 1 go. Also if you can get yourself an iTunes account, you can download Album Art for your songs – for free. Pretty cool :P
Google – well use it to search Album Art which you can’t find.
2. Video Management:
Music Videos & Movies are something that a lot of us add to our iPods despite of the pathetic battery life. iTunes as I said before makes it very easy to manage and add videos to the iPod.
Please note that iPods only recognize .mp4 format of videos, so before you add your videos you will have to convert them, iTunes has an inbuilt media convertor which I am not very fond of and would suggest the same.
There are quite a few tools that allow you to convert videos to .mp4 for free. I would recommend you to use:
Now that you have converted your videos and are ready to transfer them on your iPods, iTunes has a little gift for you.
You can tag your videos as TV Shows; Music Videos; Movies. If you choose Music Videos you can add Artist/Album etc., for TV Shows, you have the options of Episode No. etc.
Remember Smart Playlists? You can make Smart Playlists of Videos too so whenever you add and tag a new music video it will be automatically added to you Music Videos playlist.
3. You Tube Videos:
You Tube, the famous online video site, a lot of people have often asked as to how to download and transfer songs from You Tube to the iPod and have got tedious methods, now let me tell you a single click auto-conversion and transport tool.
Ares Tube: Formerly known as iTube and now Ares Tube, is an application where you simply have to configure it and enter the URL of the You Tube video, it will take care of the rest. Have a look at the following screen shot, you get the idea how easy this software makes downloading and importing videos to the iPod:
You can choose the format of conversion and even choose to automatically open iTunes and import it to the iTunes library. Pretty neat :P
4. Transfer Songs from iPod to PC:
One of the biggest problems faced while using an iPod is that 1 cannot transfer songs from the iPod to the PC easily, the method used and recommended by many is that go into the system folders of the iPod and then copy songs, that’s stupid when you have something like Share Pod.
This little app is the best thing that happened to my iPod. It is a portable application, which means you put in your iPod and run it on any computer, result, you can give any song to your friend and even take any song from your friend. You can backup your entire collection of songs & videos in a few clicks.
It has a real time search engine like iTunes. a media player, options on how you want to transfer the songs to the PC – whether you want the songs to have only song title as the file name or artist or both and a lot of other options. Trust me guys this is the best application out there for this purpose.
This Part 1, Part 2 will be a lot more amazing, have faith in me. In the mean while if you liked what I have shown, please do leave a comment, will make me happy :)