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How To Manage An iPod From A Linux Desktop With Amarok

This article shows how you can use an iPod on a Linux desktop with Amarok. It covers how you can upload MP3 files from your desktop to your iPod, download MP3 files from your iPod to your desktop, and how you can delete files on the iPod. Normally, Apple’s iTunes software is needed to manage an iPod, but iTunes is not available for Linux. Fortunately, there are Linux alternatives such as Amarok that can handle the task.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

I have tested this with an iPod nano on a PCLinuxOS 2007 desktop where Amarok is installed by default. If Amarok isn’t installed on your desktop, install it using your distribution’s package manager. The usage of Amarok is the same, regardless of the distribution.


2 Plug In Your iPod

First plug in your iPod into your desktop system using the iPod USB cable. The iPod should be mounted automatically, and you should find an iPod icon on your desktop. On my PCLinuxOS 2007 desktop, I get asked what to do with the new medium – I select Open in New Window to make sure the iPod really gets mounted (I close the new window then). Depending on your distribution, your iPod might as well be mounted at once, without a question.


This is how it should look if your iPod got mounted:


3 Configure Amarok

Now start Amarok (on PCLinuxOS 2007, it’s under Multimedia > Sound > Amarok):


In Amarok, go to the Devices tab (in the bottom left corner). It should say Media Device Browser in the left window, and No Device Available in the greyed-out drop-down menu above it:


Now go to Settings > Configure Amarok…:


A new window opens. Select Media Devices in the left menu, then click on the drop-down menu that says Do not handle and select Apple iPod Media Device. Click on OK then:


Back in Amarok’s main window, the formerly greyed-out drop-down menu that said No Device Available should now list your iPod, and in the window below it you should now find the contents of your iPod:


4 Upload Music To The iPod

Go to the Collection tab. It should list your local albums/MP3 files:


You can now select single files or whole albums and drag & drop them to the main window:


Afterwards, you should find your selected music in the main window:


Afterwards, you should find your selected music in the main window:


Now go back to the Devices tab:


Now mark the files you want to transfer to your iPod. If you want to transfer a single file, just click on it. If you want to transfer multiple files, hold down the CTRL key and then click on your desired files to mark them. To mark all files, just press CTRL-a:


Now drag & drop your selection to the left window (where the contents of your iPod is listed). You should then see a Transfer Queue window that lists all the files that you selected for upload to the iPod:


To start the upload, simply click on the Transfer button (right below Amarok’s menu bar):


The files are now being transferred to the iPod (you should see a progress bar below the Transfer Queue window):


Afterwards, you should find the uploaded music on the iPod:


To clear the contents of the right window, click on the Clear button above it:


5 Download Music From the iPod

To download music from your iPod to your desktop, go to the Devices tab again where you should find the contents of your iPod. Select the album/file(s) that you want to download and drag & drop it/them to the right window:



Then go to the Collection tab where you should find your local music:


Now mark the file(s) that you want to download. To mark a single file, just click on it. To mark multiple files, hold down the CTRL key and click on the desired files. To mark all files, press CTRL-a. Then drag & drop the file(s) to the left window:


A window named Copy Files To Collection opens. You can make changes here, but normally the default settings should be ok. Click on OK:


The file(s) is/are now being downloaded. Afterwards, the file(s) should be listed in your Collection:


To clear the contents of the right Amarok window, just click on the Clear button above it:


6 Delete Music On the iPod

To delete music, go to the Devices tab where you should find the contents of your iPod. You can now delete single files or even whole directories. Right-click on the item that you want to delete, and select Delete … Tracks from iPod:


Confirm your selection by clicking on Delete:


The item is now being deleted. Afterwards, it shouldn’t be listed anymore:


7 Unplug The iPod

Close all applications that use your iPod (e.g. Amarok).

There’s one thing you must do before you unplug your iPod from your Linux desktop: you must unmount it (otherwise the filesystem on the iPod could suffer). To do so, right-click on the iPod icon in your desktop and select the appropriate item. On PCLinuxOS 2007, it’s called Safely Remove. On other distributions, it might be something similar to Unmount or Eject:


The iPod icon should now disappear. You can now unplug the iPod from your Linux desktop.