iPod Gear Guide

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Tip: Monitor the iPod shuffle’s Charging Progress

If you want to know when your iPod shuffle is fully charged, turn off the Enable Disk Use option in iTunes’ iPod preference pane. When Enable Disk Use is activated, the shuffle’s LED flashes amber—a warning that you shouldn’t unplug it—instead of showing you the battery’s status. Turning Enable Disk Use off overrides the warning.

Tip: Make Your iPod Mount

You’ve plugged in your iPod, but it’s not showing up in iTunes—these tips can help:

1. Make sure that the iPod is plugged into a high-power USB 2.0 port or a FireWire port. The iPod won’t be recognized if it’s connected to a low-power USB port.

2. Make sure that the iPod is not on a chain of FireWire devices. The iPod requires just about all the power a FireWire port can deliver, and if it’s on a chain of devices, it may not get the power it needs.

3. Your iPod may be locked up. Reset it by holding down the play button and the center button (for fourth-generation iPods, the iPod mini, and iPod photos) or the play button and the Menu button (for the first three generations of iPods) for about six seconds, or by switching it off, waiting five seconds, and turning it back on (for the iPod shuffle).

4. Restore your iPod using the latest iPod Software Updater. Note that this will erase all the data on it—music, contacts, calendars, and any other files.

Tip: Charge from any Mac

Unlike other iPods, the iPod shuffle is always associated with a particular computer—even if you don’t use Autofill, that behavior can’t be turned off. So be aware that if you configure and load the shuffle from your desktop Mac at home, iTunes will erase its contents when you plug it into your laptop at the office and agree to iTunes’ request to mount it. You can, however, charge it from another computer by clicking on the No button when asked if you want to link with the current computer’s library.

Tip: Rebuild Your iTunes Library

If you launch iTunes and suddenly find that there’s no music in your library, the music isn’t necessarily gone—you may just need to rebuild your library. Quit iTunes, and then locate the iTunes 4 Music Library file in your user folder/Music/iTunes. Change its name to

iTunes 4 Music Library (old)
or, if that file already exists, (old1). Relaunch iTunes, and the app will create a new database file with your music.

Rebuild Your iTunes Library

If that doesn’t work, you may need to remind iTunes where your music is stored (especially if it’s anywhere other than the default location, the aforementioned folder). Go to iTunes’ Advanced preference pane and then click either on the Reset button (if you’re using the default location) or on the Change button (to navigate to where you store your music).

Tip: Trick Autofill

If you enable iTunes’ Keep This iPod In The Source List option, you can select the iPod shuffle’s icon when no shuffle is connected. Then you’re able to click on the Autofill button to create a new playlist—and repeat the process until you find one you like. Since there’s no iPod mounted, iTunes won’t try to copy the files. Then highlight all those songs and choose New Playlist From Selection from iTunes’ File menu. The next time you connect your shuffle, you’ve got a ready-made playlist to copy over to it.

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