How does sync in iTunes work?

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by Timey, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. Timey

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    iPad Fan

    Jul 20, 2011
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    Hi everyone, today I've had a problem with my iPad and had to reset it... I've never ever synced... But now I'd like to get everything tidy if possible... I have music in my iTunes library (I don't know how it works but I'm not sure I can sync because I dragged and dropped it in iTunes library). I did a backup before restoring of course but... If I restore from back up I'm back at the same problem, if I sync I lose everything. So... Can anyone kindly explain me how does this "sync" thing work? I've had iPhones, iPads for a long time, but really never did this... I also have some photos that I'd like to put back obviously, but not sure how to do that with the sync... I only want to put back the photo I had before the restore, not every single photo in my computer... Thanks a lot
  2. twerppoet

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    iPad Legend II

    Jan 8, 2011
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    One thing to hold in mind, nothing you to/with the iPad will remove content from the iTunes library on the computer. You may accidentally add stuff you don't want, but you won't delete anything from the computer.

    Here are the basic things you will want to do.

    Make sure your computer is authorized with your Apple ID under the Store menu.

    When you first connect your iPad to the computer, open iTunes, and select the iPad in iTunes; refuse any automatic dialogs. These are OK for setting up a brand new iPad, but will cause problems with an iPad that already has content.

    Go to the Files menu, the Devices submenu, and select Transfer Purchases. This will copy any of the iStore content you have on the iPad (but not on in iTunes on the computer) to your iTunes library.

    In iTunes Preferences, the Devices tab, turn off automatic syncing/backups. This will keep things from happening until you are ready for them to happen

    Now go through each of the sync settings tabs, one by one, and select the options that you want. In the Apps settings, turn off the automatically sync option for now. You can experiment with it later, but it's a prickly sort of thing that can add or remove apps from the iPad unexpectedly. You can add them back or remove them later, but that can be a pain.

    If you are using iCloud to sync, leave the Info section alone. If not, you're probably better off turning everything off there anyway. You can experiment with it later if you really 'must' sync something directly with your computer instead of through an online service like iCloud, Google, Yahoo, etc.

    If you don't understand what a sync settings is going to do, and you don't want to fine out by accident, use iTunes Help in the Help menu to search for it. It's also a good idea to bet the iPad User Guide for your iOS version. You can find an online version of it in the Help menu, a PDF in Apple's iPad support pages, or an ePub version in the iBooks store. All free.

    The ePub version is what I prefer.

    Don't forget you can ask specific questions here, if the other resources don't do the job. You can always use the Revert button instead of the Sync button if you're not sure you like what you've done.


    As more an more of the iPad's functions go to the cloud there are fewer reasons to use iTunes. You might want to list what you expect iTunes to do for you, and decide two things.

    One, can you do it another way.

    Two, is it worth the extra effort of using iTunes to accomplish this task.

    In general, there are on a few things that you absolutely have use iTunes for on your iPad.

    • Adding non-iTunes Store tracks to the Music app on your iOS devices. (you can use third party music apps instead).
    • Creating a backup on the computer. If you are using iCloud backups the iTunes backup is a prudent extra, but not necessary. I do one, manually, about once a month.
    • Backing up older iOS app, in case they disappear from the App Store. (rare, but happens)
    • Other minor stuff I'm probably forgetting.
    That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Be prepared to make a few mistakes and spend some time learning iTunes. It's not a simple app.

    Good luck.

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