What is syncing?

Syncing makes it easy to keep things up-to-date between your computer, your iPad, and your other mobile devices. That way, you'll always have access to important files on any device whenever you need them. There are two ways to sync an iPad: 

Syncing with iTunes:

You can connect your iPad to your computer using the included USB cable. You can then use iTunes to sync music, photos, and files from your computer to your iPad. You'll also be able to back up your iPad's files on your computer. Download iTunes

Syncing with iCloud:

You can sync wirelessly to iCloud, which will work in the background to sync important information between your mobile devices. For example, you could take a photo on your iPad, then view it instantly on your laptop. Or you could create a to-do list on your work computer, then keep up with it on your iPad.

Learning about iTunes


iTunes comes on your iPad, and it helps organise media — music, movies, audiobooks, podcasts, and such. Install iTunes on your computer, and use it to sync (transfer) downloaded content to your iPad. You can also use iTunes to sync your contact data, appointments, e-mail messages, notes, photos, bookmarks, and computer apps on your computer with your iPad.Setup iTunes on your computer so that it syncs only the stuff you want transferred from your computer to your iPad.

How do you sync your iPad to iTunes on your computer?  You can buy music, TV shows, movies, books from the iTunes Store. There are also podcasts and courses available through iTunes U as well as storing photos on your iPad. You can access the store via iTunes that must be installed on your computer.

Download: How to synchronise media from iTunes to your iPad 


Connecting your iPad to your computer (MAC users)

If you have a MAC computer, by default iPhoto will open automatically when you connect your iPad / iPhone to iTunes. You want to quickly sync a few songs or podcasts to your iPad. You plug it in to your Mac expecting the process to take just a few seconds. But why is iPhoto opening? And it’s trying to load all my iPad’s pictures! Not only can this be very annoying but for me, it’s unnecessary because I do not use iPhoto to store my photos. So if you want to stop this from happening, follow these steps: How to disable iPhoto from automatically opening.

Why sync to iTunes?

It's a good idea to sync your iPad with iTunes on a regular basis. This provides a backup of your applications, movies, music and data that can be restored at a later point if you should have problems. Syncing with iTunes is also the process used for getting music, movies and even apps from your PC or Mac to your iPad.

When you first connect the device to your computer, Apple guides you through the setup, but at some point you will want to be familiar with the options available to you when syncing iTunes on iPad, which is basically the only way you manage most of your iPad’s contents, including music, contacts, photos, apps, and ebooks, and keeping it updated.

iTunes is required on your computer. If you've not installed it, you can get it here, then follow these steps for syncing your iPad.

See also the youtube playlist: iTunes and the iPad

The Summary tab

The Summary tab

Syncing your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad with your computer is really quite easy. Gather your device and its USB charging cable, and make sure you have installed the latest version of iTunes on your computer. Connect your device using the cable provided, and iTunes should launch, displaying your device’s summary screen.

If iTunes doesn’t immediately display your device, click the Devices button in the upper right corner of the iTunes window. (If you’re syncing more than one iOS device with the same computer, you’ll instead see a button called X Devices, where X is the number of devices you have.) Alternatively, select your device from the iTunes sidebar. If the sidebar isn’t visible, choose View > Show Sidebar.

To find options for what you can sync and how you sync it, click the tabs at the top of the iTunes window.

iTunes Libraries

Sync the iPad to iTunes - Understanding the iTunes Libraries

Part 1 of the series on how to synchronise your iPad to iTunes. This video looks at the libraries in iTunes, locating media on your hard drive, organising your media in iTunes, adding files to the iTunes library, and tweaking the iTunes toolbar to get a more productive interface.


The summary screen offers a brief overview of your device, displaying its name, capacity, phone number (if applicable), serial number, and iOS version number.

1. Here you can control how you back up your device. By default, iTunes asks you to choose one option (iCloud or your computer) for backing up. Still, if you choose to back up automatically via iCloud, you can always make an additional manual back up to iTunes by clicking the Back Up Now button you see here.

2. Additionally, if you’d like to use Wi-Fi Sync to connect your device wirelessly to iTunes in the future, click the ‘Sync with this iPad over Wi-Fi’ checkbox. As long as you are in the same wireless network as your computer - and that computer is switched on, you can sync your iPad wirelessly without connecting to the computer.

3. The capacity bar - an indication of how much space each type of media is taking up on the device.


Sync the iPad to iTunes 11 - The Summary and Info Tabs

Part 2 of the series on how to synchronise your iPad to iTunes 11. This video looks at the Summary and Info tabs of iTunes. This includes backups, automatic syncing, wi-fi syncing, syncing to iCloud, syncing calendars, mail and contacts

The Apps tab

The Apps tab

Click the Apps tab to see syncing options for all your apps. By default, any you’ve downloaded directly to your device are copied to iTunes when you sync (or if you’ve turned on Automatic Downloads in iTunes > Preferences > Store). On this page, iTunes lets you pick and choose the apps you’d like to sync, as well as rearrange your home screens.

1. Make apps appear and disappear: A comprehensive list of all the apps you own shows up in a column on the left side of the pane; this includes iPhone-only apps, as well as iPad-only and Universal apps. You can sort these apps by name, kind, category, date, and size by using the pop-up menu above the list. To load an app onto your device, click the Install button to the right of the program’s icon; to remove the app, click the Remove button.

2. Below the list, you’ll see a checkbox that allows you to automatically sync any new apps you’ve purchased on your computer in the iTunes Store. (If you have Automatic Downloads enabled on your device, this checkbox is irrelevant, as any new purchases you make on your laptop or desktop will automatically download directly to your iPhone.)

3. Organize your home screens: On the right side of the Apps window is a preview of your device’s home screens. You’ll see a large, editable screen, as well as numbered thumbnails representing your other screens. Click a thumbnail to reveal it in the editing window. Here, you can click and drag an app’s icon to change its location. Or, if you see an app you’d like to remove, mouse over it and click the X that appears in the top left corner of the app icon.

Create folders to organize your apps. Drag one app onto another app; after a slight delay a folder appears with the two apps inside of it. The folder name is editable and you can rearrange icons within the folder.


File sharing in the Apps tab

File sharing in the Apps tab

Add files to some apps: Scroll down further on the Apps tab to access the File Sharing section. Some Apple and third-party apps allow you to add files from your computer via iTunes. (If you have no apps that support file sharing, this section won’t appear.) Click an app in the Apps list to see any files associated with it. To add a file, just drag it from your desktop or click the Add button.

Sync the iPad to iTunes 11 - The Apps Tab

Part 3 of the series on how to synchronise your iPad to iTunes 11. This video looks at the Apps Tab in iTunes. This includes moving / deleting apps and rearranging apps, installing deleted apps, locating apps in your iTunes library, adding / deleting documents and files into Apps.

The Music tab

The Music tab

1. To add nonpurchased music to your device, click the Sync Music checkbox. iTunes lets you choose between two options: copying your entire music library or copying selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres. You also have the option to include or exclude music videos and voice memos.

Be more specific when selecting what musaic to sync over to your iPad. Select a playlist, an artist, genre or Album.

Sync the iPad to iTunes 11 - Managing music on the iPad using Music Match

Part 4 of the series on how to synchronise your iPad to iTunes 11. This video looks at managing music on your iPad - in particular with the Apple subscription service: iTunes Match. It shows you how to sort your music, turn on /off iTunes Match, create playlists, delete music, stream and download music from your iTunes Match account.

Sync the iPad to iTunes 11 - The Music Tab

Part 5 of the series on how to synchronise your iPad to iTunes 11. This video looks at managing music on your iPad - in particular, how to sync music from your iTunes library. It looks at developing playlists, smart playlists, purchasing music from the iTunes Store, ripping a CD

The Movies tab

The Movies tab

When you click the Movies tab, you see a list of all the movies you have loaded into iTunes, represented by name and a movie poster or selected screenshot.

Click the Sync Movies checkbox, and you can automatically include all videos, selected videos, playlists, most recently uploaded videos, or unwatched videos. If you’ve rented movies from the iTunes Store on your computer, they appear at the very top of the screen. Transfer a movie to your iPhone or iPad by highlighting it, and then clicking the Move arrow. If you decide you don’t want to load the film on your device, click the arrow a second time.

The TV Shows tab

The TV Shows tab

Click a show and, in the right column, you see a list of its episodes, organized by season. When syncing manually, you can choose only individual episodes or seasons of selected shows. You can also copy over playlists that include TV episodes. If you choose to sync automatically, however, you can copy over an entire series (or your entire television library). You can also filter within that series to sync only unwatched or newly added episodes.


Sync the iPad to iTunes 11 - The Movies and TV Shows Tab

Part 6 of the series on how to synchronise your iPad to iTunes 11. This video looks at how to sync movies and TV shows from your computer to your iPad using iTunes 11. It covers the Movies and TV shows libraries in iTunes, purchasing and streaming shows and how to play them on the iPad in the Videos app.

The Podcasts tab

The Podcasts tab

The Podcasts pane presents you with a list of all your subscribed podcasts, grouped by series. (If you haven’t subscribed to any, this pane won’t show up for you.) That said, this is one case when iTunes syncing may not be necessary. If you already have the Podcasts app on your iPhone or iPad, that will probably be enough.

Clicking a podcast displays a list of the show’s episodes, organized by date in ascending order. You can choose to sync your podcasts manually or use iTunes’ automatic options, which offer syncing for the most recently uploaded or unplayed episodes for selected shows or all shows.

The Books tab

The Books tab

The Books pane divides books and Audiobooks into two sections. Choose to sync All books or Selected books. You can peruse a list of your ePubs and PDFs if you want to pick and choose. The Sync Audiobooks pane is organized much the same way.


The Photos tab

The Photos tab

1. To sync photos, go to the Photos pane and choose the application or folder iTunes should link from. For example, if you keep all your images in iPhoto, enable the Sync Photos from option and choose iPhoto in the pop-up menu.

You can sync images according to how they are organized in that application. For example, if you use iPhoto, you’ll see images organized by date. Otherwise you can select only your Pictures folder or a custom folder of your choice.

Unfortunately, you can’t sync your iPhone or iPad with more than one program or with multiple folders. You have to choose one. As with all the other media panes, you can sync your entire photo library to your device or choose selected albums, projects, and (in iPhoto’s or Aperture’s case) Events, Faces, or images with certain star ratings.

This video looks at how some of the ways you can get movies for your iPad. It focuses on using iTunes to sync movies to and from the iPad (not streaming video). The three sources are: how to download from Youtube, purchase or rent movies form the iTunes store and ripping a DVD.