Many first time users of Apple devices find it difficult to come to terms with the concept of iTunes 'Syncing'. While Apple has created one of the most easy-to-use devices, the iTunes software is far from easy to get used to. Many people find the idea of syncing iPhone with two computers to be scary due to the data erasing message they get right at the start, as soon as they connect the iPhone with a secondary computer, which has a different iTunes setup. If you find yourself in such a situation, this Techspirited article will show you how to sync your iPhone with two computers without getting any of your personal data, music and apps erased.
For new users of Apple iPod, iPad and iPhone, I highly recommend that you go through the online iTunes manual before you start using it, as it may save you from a lot of frustration. It would be good to know what this business of syncing data is all about before I outline a strategy to successfully sync your iPhone with multiple computers.
About Syncing Content Using iTunes
Most of us have access to at least two computers, among which one may be the home desktop, and second may be a notebook computer, that you use for work. You may have data on both these computers that needs to be saved on your iPhone. That is, you may need to sync data from both of them to your iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4. Syncing is copying data from your computer to the iPhone.
By default, the iTunes software installed on your computer is set to automatically sync all data, including your music, movies, contacts, apps and other stuff. This works well for users who use only one primary computer for iPhone data transfer. However, when you have two computers being synced automatically, your data stored by the first, may be erased by the second computer, unless you don't deactivate the sync feature.
How to Sync iPhone With Two Computers?
First, make sure that you have the latest version of iTunes. If you don't, then get it updated to take advantage of the latest features. Here is how you can sync iPhone with two computers without letting your data get erased.
For Syncing Contacts, Calendar and Bookmarks, Use MobileMe
The simplest way in which you can sync your iPhone with multiple computers to sync your contacts, calendar and Safari bookmarks, is through a subscription of 'MobileMe', which is Apple's cloud computing solution. It provides you with a facility to use email, save contacts, calendars and store data. Since all your data is saved online, you can sync your iPhone, MacBook and home PC automatically, without any issues. It is a paid service, with a yearly fee.
Just activate a MobileMe account and take advantage of the iDisk based cloud storage to sync your documents, photos and videos with your iPhone and multiple computers. Whatever changes you make in your data on the 'Me' website, will automatically be synced on your iPhone, MacBook and any other PCs, when you sign in to your account. Take a look through the MobileMe website to know more.
For Syncing Music and Movies, Use Manual Management Option
Okay, so the MobileMe feature takes care of your contact, email, calendar and photo syncing. What about your music and videos? How do you transfer music from two different iTunes libraries? It's quite simple. Open iTunes on the secondary computer (the primary one being the one with which, you synced your iPhone first) and connect your iPhone with it. Choose cancel, when a window pops up asking for erasing and rewriting of data.
Under the summary tab, there will be an option saying 'Manually Manage Music and Movies'. Check that option and transfer music and videos from that computer's iTunes library, to your iPhone by dragging and dropping them.
Once you have purchased apps, they stay purchased and you can reinstall any apps from an authorized PC, after signing in to your iTunes account. So that's how you can sync iPhone with two computers and protect your data from getting erased!
Thus, using MobileMe and the manual syncing feature, you can sync your iPhone with multiple computers. Since the iTunes account allows you to authorize up to five computers at a time, for purchasing music and content, you may sync your iPhone with those five computers. However, it is advisable that you keep the count down to two, as it's easier to manage data in that case.
Just remember to turn off the auto sync feature and choose manual management for your music and movies, to be able to transfer music from multiple iTunes libraries, without erasing existing content. If you are still confused about the whole thing, just refer to the Apple support website, which has detailed FAQs explaining iTunes functions.