iPod Tips From Small Dog Electronics

This came as part of Small Dog ElectronicsKibbles and Bytes enewsletter. I’m keeping it here – below the fold – as a reference for me and for anyone who might find it useful. Thanks to Small Dog!

For iPod Newbies

A very good, very clever friend of mine was delighted to receive his first iPod this Christmas. He ripped open the package, turned the iPod on, and immediately set the language to Chinese. He does not read or speak Chinese. Rather than read the fine print in the manual, he called me to learn how to reset the iPod. He also had lots of other questions about how the iPod works – the same questions we hear everyday at Small Dog Electronics. Because many people will be receiving the iPod this holiday season, I decided to dedicate this article to answering six of these very common questions. If you are the person that all your friends call when they have ANY computer problem, hang on to this article for them!

1. You have several options for managing your iPod. You do this through iTunes, with the iPod connected to your computer. In iTunes, you find these options under File > Preferences> iPod. You can also manage iPod preferences by clicking on the iPod icon on the bottom right corner of the iTunes window, again with the iPod connected to the computer. It’s worth taking a look at these preferences.

By default, the iPod is set to automatically update and sync whenever it is connected to the computer. If a computer is set to
“Automatically update all songs and playlists,” it can only effectively be synced with one computer. Syncing it to a second computer with the default settings will overwrite all songs, playlists, and photos on the iPod. If you want to connect your iPod to more than one computer, select “Manually manage songs and playlists.” This way you can connect to multiple computers.

2. If you are connecting the iPod to both a Mac and PC, it’s better to first connect to the PC when the iPod is brand-new. This is because the iPod will be formated to the Windows file format, which the Mac can read and write to. However, Windows can’t read the Mac file format.

3. If you received an iPod shuffle, nano, or iPod “video,” you will need the USB 2.0 connection to sync and charge the iPod. If you don’t have USB 2.0, you will either need to add this to your computer, consider upgrading to a newer computer, or exchange your iPod for an older-model iPod. G3 iBooks and iMacs, most G4 iMacs, and some eMacs do not have USB 2.0, and USB 2.0 cannot be added to those machines. Small Dog has some brand-new, Apple-refurbished, previous-generation, and used iPods in stock. These older iPods use FireWire to charge and sync, and can sync with older machines. See our iPods here:

4. You can transfer music from your iPod, although that is not supported by Apple. You will need third-party software to do this. We sell a program called Valusoft Tune Transfer, which you can see here:


Other programs are available.

5. Some people have reported that their iPod does not show up when it is plugged into their computer. While this happens for several reasons, here are some common solutions:

  • Try connecting to a different computer.
  • Make sure you are connecting to a powered USB / FireWire port, typically on the back of the machine.
  • Connect directly to the computer, not through a hub or keyboard.
  • Try using a different USB / FireWire cable.
  • Download the most recent version of iTunes from .
  • Restart the computer with the iPod connected.
  • Finally, reset your iPod, following these instructions .

6. There are several ways to play music from the iPod in your car. The easiest way is to use a cassette adapter, if you have a tape player in your car. The Griffin Smart Deck is the best one. See it here:


With an FM transmitter, you can send a signal from your iPod to your car’s FM stereo. We sell several different versions of these. Popular models include:

Small Dog CAR Tune FM Xmitter iPod Charger – $33


Griffin iTrip LCD (Dock connector) FM Transmitter – $37


Monster iCarPlay Wireless Plus Charger FM Transmitter – $69


We sell many other FM transmitters, but those are the most popular models. Another option is to have an iPod harness hardwired into your car stereo. This is slightly complicated, but provides the best sound and control of the iPod. We sell the Icelink; many other options exist.

We sell three great iPod books for further reference. See these here:

The iPod Book: Doing Cool Stuff with the iPod and iTunes – $19.99


iCan iPod – $7.99


iTunes 6 and iPod for Windows and Macintosh: Visual Quickstart Guide – $19


Finally, check out the many good iPod-related websites.

Enjoy your iPod and Happy Holidays!