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iTunes is the official media manager for iPods and all iOS Devices. It was pre-installed on macOS (OS X 10.0 Cheetah to OS X 10.14 Mojave) and HP computers from 2003 to 2005. iTunes is still available for Windows and can be downloaded from Apple's website.

As of macOS 10.15 (Catalina), iTunes has been replaced by separate Books, Music, Podcasts, and TV apps. iOS and iPod device management is now conducted via Finder. iPod support is not likely to go away any time soon since it is built into macOS.

This article will talk about iTunes under the lens of iPods. For a more broad and far-reaching look at iTunes, see the following:

Connecting iPods to iTunes

To connect an iPod to iTunes for syncing, use the cable meant for your specific iPod. If you are using a 1st or 2nd gen iPod classic, use a FireWire cable. If you are using a 3rd gen Classic, use either a FireWire or USB cable to sync (although the 3rd gen will not charge over USB, so make sure it is sufficiently charged). If you are using a 4th gen Classic or later, a Nano (1st-6th gen), or a Touch (1st-4th gen), use a 30Pin to USB Cable. If you are using an iPod nano 7th gen, or an iPod touch 5th gen or later, use a Lightning connector cable. If you are using a Shuffle 1st gen, connect it directly to the computer. If you are using a Shuffle 2nd gen or later, use the included 3.5MM to USB cable.

iPod Touch supports WiFi syncing with iTunes due to onboard WLAN capabilities. Once connected to iTunes via a USB Cable, you can tick "Show this iPod when on WiFi" and the iPod will now connect when both it and your Windows/macOS computer are on the same wireless network. You can then enable "Automatically Sync when this iPod is connected" to have the iPod regularly sync it's contents when it is plugged into power, without the need to directly connect the iPod Touch to your computer.

Syncing Content to iTunes

The computer, version of iTunes, and iPod in question will determine what content can be synced. This will focus on what each version of iTunes can sync to an iPod. Do note that you need a version of iTunes compatible with the iPod you are trying to use; generally iTunes version 10 will sync with most iPod's, however to sync to the latest iPod Touch models, as well as certain iPod Nano models, you will need iTunes 12.

iTunes 10: Music, Videos, Podcasts, Calendar Events, Notes, Contacts, Email Accounts, Apps and Games.

iTunes 11 - 12.6.3: Music, Videos, Podcasts, Apps and Games (to all iPods), Calendar Events, Notes, Contacts, Email Accounts (to iPod Touch Models only)

iTunes 12.7 Onwards: Music, Videos, Podcasts (to all iPods), Calendar Events, Notes, Contacts, Email Accounts (to iPod Touch Models only, depreciated in the latest versions of iTunes but still working as of iTunes

Older versions of iTunes (<10) will have similar functionality as iTunes 10, pending what content works on the particular iPod you are trying to sync.

Voice Memos recorded on an iPod will sync back to a computer with iTunes, and be saved in the persons music library under the album "Voice Memos"

Differences between iTunes for MacOS and the Music app for MacOS

Since MacOS 10.15, iTunes has been replaced by the Music and Finder apps on MacOS. Most previous syncing capabilities are still available; Music and Podcasts can still be synced to the iPod via the Music app (not the Podcasts apps) and iPod settings management and backups is now conducted via Finder. This does mean that an iPod with disk use turned on will now have two listings in Finder; One for accessing the files stored on the iPod, and another for managing the settings of said iPod. Contact, Calendar, and Notes syncing via iTunes is fully depreciated when using this function and will no longer work on MacOS Catalina and above; while the feature has been depreciated in iTunes, it still works as of the latest version for iPod Touch models.

Automatic syncing can be enabled using Finder instead of the Music app

Automatic Syncing VS Manual Syncing

iPod's can be synced to iTunes either automatically or manually. An iPod synced automatically will mirror all content, or selected whichever playlists, artists, genres are selected, whenever the iPod is plugged in to that particular computer. However, with Automatic Syncing enabled, an iPod cannot copy Music, Photo, and Video content from another computer without erasing what is currently stored on the iPod. iPod's synced manually will have to have content manually dragged onto them as apposed to automatically syncing, with the benefit being multiple computers can sync content to a single iPod.

This setting can be changed within iTunes, and can be changed from automatic to manual by selecting "Manually manage Music and Videos".

Note: an iPod does not automatically sync with a computer, but an iTunes/Music library file (see below for more information on library files)

iTunes Library Files

iTunes for Windows and MacOS (and the Music/TV apps on MacOS) use Library files. With automatic syncing enabled, an iPod will link itself to this library file. This Library can be copied between computers, and if an iPod has Automatic Syncing enabled, it will continue to sync with that library.

On macOS Catalina or later, due to the library files being seperate between applications, an iPod will link itself to that computers library files, regardless of whether that particular type of content is turned on (if an iPod has automatic syncing turned on but is only syncing music, it will also still be linked to that computers Video library despite it being a different file). While you can still copy these library files onto another computer for Automatic Syncing, you cannot use library files that originate from 2 different computers.

Apple Music and iPods

Apple Music is a separate service to the iTunes Music Store released in 2015, and as such as very limited service on an iPod. Only DRM-free music within iTunes, or music purchased from the iTunes Store linked to your account indefinitely can be synced to an iPod. This means that the Apple Music catalogue cannot be synced to an iPod. Apple Music can however be used to up-sample music you own to up to 256KBS, as Apple Music will download songs you have uploaded at up to 256KBS quality (this can be useful if you have obtained a lower quality music file and would like to increase the quality of said file using a copy from Apple's servers)

iTunes Match

iTunes Match is a service offered within iTunes. This feature was released in 2011, and allows a user to upload their iTunes Library to the cloud to be streamed on any device running iOS 5 or above, or iTunes 10.5 and above. Any music uploaded to this service can be downloaded to any computer running iTunes authorized to download prior purchases, and can then be synced to an iPod.

This service is also bundled with Apple Music (called iCloud Music Library), and any music uploaded to this service can still be downloaded and synced to an iPod. This does not include music added from the Apple Music catalogue to your library: Only music uploaded to your library (from a local audio file or ripped CD) can then be later downloaded and synced to an iPod.


iTunes can also be used as an alternative to iCloud for making backups of an iPod touch. These backups allow you to restore the contents of your iPod Touch at a later point in time should it be reset, or you want to transfer the data to another iPod Touch. Backups can be restored on any device running the same or later version of iOS as the backup was made on (a backup of an iPod Touch 5th generation on iOS 6 can be restored on an iPod Touch 4th Generation running iOS 6, however a backup of an iPod Touch 5th generation running iOS 7 or above cannot be restored on an iPod Touch 4th generation running iOS 6), even if the device is completely different (a Backup of an iPod Touch can be restored on an iPad Pro or iPhone, for instance).

These backups can also be encrypted with a password. This enabled the storing of more sensitive information within the backup (such as HealthKit data and passwords). However, this password is tied to the iPod as well as the backup, so if this password is forgotten, it is impossible to restore backups made using this iPod without resetting the iPod.

iPod Games

Almost all models of iPod have support for games. Certain models however have support for 3rd party games, which could be loaded via iTunes (see above for versions of iTunes supporting games). All iPod Touch models with access to the App Store support all games an iPhone running that particular version of iOS can support, however certain other models of iPod Nano and Classic support 3rd party games as well. These include:

iPod Video (5th gen)

iPod Classic (6th and 7th Gen)

iPod Nano (3rd and 4th gen)

To play these games, your iPod must be running a modified version of the official firmware (currently only the 5th gen Video supports this) OR you must have purchased the games on your iTunes account and still have them downloaded to your computer (as there is no way to redownload the games from Apple anymore, however it is possible to modify an existing .ipg file for the game to sign with your appleID if you previously bought the game). If you purchased the games when they were available, then you will still be able to sync them via iTunes, under the "Games" catagory.

Older Versions of iTunes

There are a few older versions of iTunes available to download from Apple directly. These include:

iTunes 9.2.1 (Windows and MacOS):

iTunes 10.6.3 (MacOS Only):

There are also downloads to many versions of the MacOS versions of iTunes. These files are hosted on the Discord Content Delivery Network (CDN) until we/I find a more permanent solution.

[Unavailable for Legal Reasons]
We cannot mirror/redistribute copies of iTunes which do not stem from Apple's servers. Until this is rectified there should be NO versions of iTunes published here.


Apple's Official iTunes Download Page: