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iPod® FAQ

Ralph Graves is one of Crutchfield's blog editors, and part of the company's social media team. He writes about home audio/video gear, specializing in Apple-related and wireless technologies. Ralph holds a master's degree in music composition, and his works have been released on various labels. He's served as product manager for an independent classical and world music label, produced several recordings, and worked extensively in public broadcasting. Since 1984 he's hosted a weekly classical music program on WTJU, and is also active as a blogger and podcaster.

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Todd Cabell is the Senior Director of E-Commerce at Crutchfield. He drives a 2000 Ford F-150 with an Alpine stereo in the dash, Polk/MOMO speakers, a Rockford Fosgate amplifier, and an MTX Thunderform under the rear seat. He hopes to one day outfit his 1962 Mercury Comet with a worthy sound system as well.

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Get Everything You Need

Get the most from your player with iPod accessories. Find what you need to play your iPod in your car by using our iCarStereosm tool.

Q: Which iPod is right for me?

A: That's going to depend on how you plan to listen. See our article on choosing an iPod.
[Shop our selection of iPods and iPod accessories.]

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Q: How good is the iPod's sound quality?

A: The sound quality of any given track is determined mostly by the bitrate and format you use when you save tracks to your iTunes music library. For better sound quality, select a higher bitrate. To find out more about audio bitrates, see our MP3 bitrate chart. For better sound quality, select a higher bitrate.

Another way to get better sound quality is to purchase higher-quality headphones, which can deliver much more accurate sound than the recognizable white earbuds that come with an iPod.

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Q: Is it easy to transfer music from my computer to my iPod?

A: Very easy. First, download the free iTunes® software on your Mac or PC (available at Then use the USB cable that came with your iPod to connect it to a USB port on your computer.

When you start up iTunes, it will recognize your iPod and ask whether you want to automatically update the music on your iPod ("Auto-sync"), or manage your playlists manually by dragging and dropping songs to the player. It's that simple.

You can find more detailed information in our article A Beginner's Guide to the iPod

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Q: Will my iPod work with both my Windows PC and my Mac?

A: Although some users have reported being able to switch the iPod between a PC and a Mac with no problems, Apple claims that you must use software downloaded from their website to reformat the player when moving it between the two. Bottom line? You probably shouldn't count on interoperability between the two platforms.

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Q: Can I use my iPod with both my home and work computer?

A: Yes, but the iPod can only be set up to "Auto-sync" (see above) with one computer, which it considers its "home" computer. From the other computer, you can drag and drop files onto your iPod.

Music transfer happens only one way: from the computer to the iPod. This means you cannot use the iPod to move music directly from one computer's iTunes library to another's. (However, you can transfer music files between computers — just like any other data file — by using the iPod as an external hard drive. You just can't listen to the music files on their player when they are stored as data.) Remember that both must be using the same operating system (that is, both must be Macs or both must be PCs).

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Q: Can I use more than one iPod with the same computer?

A: Sure. Your computer will be able to tell the difference between your iPod and, say, your housemate's, so transferring different playlists to each iPod in your house is not a problem.

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Q: What if my iTunes music library contains more music than my iPod can hold?

A: iTunes is pretty smart — if it's set to Auto-sync with your iPod, it will recognize when there's not enough space on your iPod to store all your music, and it will switch over to manual update mode. iTunes will also give you the option of autofilling your iPod. iTunes will select a representative sample of your music to load onto your player.

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Q: I like to listen while I work out. Will my music skip?

A: It shouldn't. The iPod classic stores data on a hard drive and employs 25-minute skip protection, which is enough to prevent skipping in almost any situation. But if you want to be absolutely sure your music won't skip, check out the iPod nano, or iPod shuffle — their flash memory has no moving parts, making skipping impossible.

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Q: How do I connect my iPod to my home stereo?

A: Most iPod docks, whether from Apple or third party manufacturers, come with audio and video outputs for your system. Some are designed to work with specific makes of receivers for even greater interoperability. There are also several other types of accessories available for listening to your iPod at home — see Accessorize Your iPod for more information.

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Q: How do I connect my iPod to my car stereo?

A: There are several different accessories for this, including adapters designed just for the iPod, auxiliary input adapters, cassette adapters, and FM modulators and transmitters. For help finding the right accessories for you and your car, check out our article Getting the Best Sound Out of Your Portable Music Player in the Car.

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Q: What is iTunes tagging?

A: iTunes® Tagging is a process that lets you select the song you're listening to on an HD Radio station and save it for purchasing at a later time. (See our article on HD Radio to learn how digital HD Radio is different from regular AM and FM.)

To do iTunes tagging, you need three things: a docking iPod; an audio/video component with an HD Radio tuner, iPod dock and "Tag" button; and a local radio station that's broadcasting an HD Radio signal that has enabled tagging.

As you're listening to a station broadcasting a tag-enabled HD Radio signal, press the "Tag" button when you hear a song you'd like to purchase. The component saves the song information (but not the song itself) in its memory. When you dock your iPod to the device, the information automatically transfers to your iPod. The next time you sync your iPod to your computer, your tagged selections will appear as a list in iTunes, giving you the option of purchasing them through the iTunes Store. The tagged songs you elect to purchase are then downloaded to your PC's iTunes library, and copied to your iPod.

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Q: What is the Genius feature?

A: The iTunes Genius feature creates playlists based on a selected track, generated from music stored in your iTunes library. Genius learns your preferences and how you relate songs by following your listening patterns. It then uses those patterns along with other track information such as artist, genre, etc., to create its playlist.

The more you use iTunes, the more accurately Genius can anticipate your preferences. When you update Genius to the iTunes store, that information is added anonymously to that of everyone else who updated to the iTunes database. This accumulated data allows the Genius feature to make increasingly intelligent recommendations.

This feature is available in the current versions of the iPod nano, iPod touch, iPod classic, and iPhone. In this case, Genius generates its playlist for the selected song from music stored on the player.

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Q: How do I get videos on my iPod?

A: The best source of videos for your player is through the iTunes store. You?ll find a good selection of TV shows, movies, music videos and more available in the video section of iTunes. You can also transfer videos from other sources as long as you can first bring them into your iTunes library. The program does the necessary conversions for compatibility.

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Q: Can I share videos from my iPod?

A: As with music, video transfer is a one-way process going from your computer?s iTunes program into your docked player. Some players, such as the iPod nano allow you to shoot video. Videos shot with the player can be uploaded to FaceBook, YouTube and other websites via a Wi-Fi connection.

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Q: How do I get games on my iPod?

A: A few games come preloaded with each type of iPod. There?s a section on the iTunes store where you can purchase and download additional games.

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Q: Can I play games online?

A: If you have an iPod touch, then you can through the player's Wi-Fi connection. Some games available through iTunes are designed to be shared between iPod touches in close physical proximity.

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