How To Set Up Instruction For IPod Nano

For folks who have owned other iPods, setting up the iPod nano will seem pretty familiar – though there are a couple of new twists. For those who are enjoying the iPod for the first time with this nano, take heart: it’s pretty easy to set up. Just follow these steps and you’ll be using your iPod nano to listen to music or take videos in no time.

Note: Apple discontinued the iPod Nano on July 27, 2017.

These instructions apply to:

  • 7th generation iPod nano
  • 6th generation iPod nano
  • 5th generation iPod nano

To begin, take the nano out of its box and click anywhere on the click-wheel (5th generation model) or the hold button (6th and 7th generation) to turn it on. Use the click-wheel on the 5th gen. model, or the touchscreen on the 6th and 7th, to select the language you want to use and click the middle button to proceed.

With the 6th generation, just plug it into the computer you want to sync it with. With the 7th generation model, plug it in and, if you’re syncing the nano with a Mac, iTunes will “optimize for Mac” and then restart the nano automatically.

With that done, you need to register the nano and begin adding content to it. Make sure that your computer has iTunes installed (learn how to install iTunes on Windows and Mac) and that you’ve got some music or other content to add to the nano (learn how to get music online and how to rip CDs).

The iPod nano will show up in the Devices menu at the left in iTunes and you’ll be ready to begin

Register Your iPod

IPod Nano
Justin Sullivan / Staff

 The initial phase of setting up your nano includes a lot agreeing to Apple’s terms of service and creating an Apple ID to register the iPod.

The first screen you seen will ask you to agree to Apple’s legal terms of use and licenses. You have to do this to use the nano, so check the box that says you’ve read and agree, then click Continue.

Next, you’ll be asked to log in with your Apple ID, assuming you’ve already created one. If you have one, do so–it will help you get all kinds of great content at the iTunes Store. Then click Continue.

Last, you’ll be asked to register your new nano by filling out the product registration form. When you’re done, click Submit to continue.

Choose Setup Options

Next you’re able to give your iPod a name. Do that or use the default name.

Then choose from the three options:

Automatically sync song to my iPod will add your iTunes library to the iPod right away. If your library is too big, iTunes will add a random selection of songs until it is full.

Automatically add photos to this iPod will add the photo albums you have in whatever photo management program you use to the iPod for mobile viewing.

iPod Language lets you choose what language is used for onscreen menus and for Voice Over–an accessibility tool that reads onscreen content for people with visual impairments–will use, if you enable it. (Find Voice Over in Settings -> General -> Accessibility.)

You can select any or all of these options, but none are required. You’ll be able set syncing options for music, photos, and other content next even you don’t choose them here.

Music Sync Settings

At this point, you’ll be presented with the standard iPod management screen. This is where you control the settings that determine what content goes onto your iPod. (Get more detail on the options on this screen.)

If you selected “automatically sync songs” in the last step, iTunes will begin to auto-fill your iPod with music (you may not want this if you’re planning to save space for photos, video, etc.). You can stop this by clicking the X in the status area at the top of the iTunes window.

If you’ve stopped that, or didn’t choose it in the first place, it’s time to edit your settings. Most people begin with music.

In the Music tab, you’ll find a number of options:

  • Sync Entire Library is just what it sounds like.
  • Sync Selected playlists, artists, and genres allows you to choose what music goes on your nano.
  • Include music videos syncs them to your iPod if you have any.
  • Automatically fill free space with songs has already been discussed.

If you plan to sync only certain music to your iPod you choose to sync playlists by checking the boxes on the left or all music by particular artists by checking the boxes on the right. Sync all music in a particular genre by clicking the boxes at the bottom.

To change other sync settings, click another tab.

Movie Sync Settings

The 5th and 7th generation models (but not the 6th! Sorry, owners of the 6th gen. nano) can play video. If you have one of those models, you may want to sync videos from your iTunes library to your nano to watch while you’re on the go. If so, click the Movies tab.

On that screen, your choices are:

  • Sync Movies – Check this box to sync movies or other (non-TV show) videos from your computer to your nano. Once this is checked, the movies shown in the Movies box light up and have a checkbox next to them. To sync a given movie, click its checkbox.
  • Automatically Include – Click this to have iTunes automatically sync movies without you having to choose them. The drop-down menu lets you set preferences for what movies to sync and how.
  • All or Other Options – Here you can choose the most recent movies added to your iTunes library whether you’ve watched them or not, all unwatched movies, or unwatched movies based on when they were added.

Make your selections and then move on to other tabs to choose more settings

TV Episodes, Podcasts, and iTunes U Sync Settings

TV shows, podcasts, and iTunes U educational content may seem like pretty different things, but the options for syncing them are all basically the same (and very similar to the settings for Movies). The 6th generation nano only includes the podcast and iTunes U options, since it doesn’t support video playback.

You have a few choices:

  • Sync all, or a set number, of unwatched or new TV shows, podcasts, or iTunes U lessons.
  • If the content is a series, like a TV show or podcast, you can sync all episodes by clicking the checkbox on the left.
  • If you want to sync only some episodes, select the series and then click the check boxes on the right.

To change other sync settings, click another tab

Photo Sync Settings

If you have a great photo collection that you want to bring with you to enjoy yourself or to share with other people, you can sync it to your nano. This step applies to the 5th, 6th, and 7th generation nanos.

To sync photos, click the Photos tab. Your options there are:

  • Sync Photos From – Use the drop-down to choose the photo management program you store your photos in (i Photo on the Mac; there are a few options on Windows) and want to sync from.
  • All photos, albums, Events, and Faces – Choose this to sync all photos, all the time. Keep in mind, though, if you have a big photo library, it may fill up your nano quickly. The Faces feature only works with iPhoto.
  • Selected, albums, Events, and Faces, and automatically include – Select this to limit what photos you sync. Use the drop-down menu to choose what photos will be synced based on your preferences.
  • Include full-resolution photos – While the photos on your nano will be shrunk down for the device, you can use the nano as a disk to transfer full-size, full-resolution photos to other devices. You just need to enable disk mode on the main management screen.
  • Albums, Events – If you choose to sync only selected items, you can check the boxes next to the albums and events–and if you scroll down, other options–you want to sync to your nano.

When you’ve made your choices, you’re almost done. Just one more step

Additional iPod nano Options and Settings

While the standard iPod content management process has been well fairly well covered in earlier steps of this article, there are some options on the main screen that weren’t addressed.

You’ll find these options in the middle of the iPod management screen.

  • Open iTunes when this iPod is attached – Will automatically open iTunes when you plug in the nano. A good idea to do this, unless you connect your iPod to this computer only for battery charging, not syncing.
  • Sync only checked songs and videos – This is a way to prevent certain items from syncing to your iPod. If you check this, you can uncheck the box next to items in your iTunes library to prevent them from being automatically synced to the iPod.
  • Manually manage music and videos – Using this means that your content will never automatically sync – you’ll have to do it all by hand. This option does allow you to play the music on your iPod through computers other than your own, though.
  • Enable disk us – Lets you store files on the iPod as if it were a portable hard drive. You can use this feature and also use it as a music player.

Voice Feedback

The third-generation iPod Shuffle was the first iPod to feature Voice Over, software that allows the iPod to speak onscreen content to the user. The feature has since expanded to the iPhone 3GS’ Voice Control. The 5th-generation nano offers VoiceOver only.

  • Enable VoiceOver – This feature will enable the suite of features that allows the iPod to speak the names of the song and artist currently playing to you.
  • Enable Spoken Menus – Lets the iPod speak the names of the menu items on screen to you (this is primarily an accessibility feature)
  • Use system voice instead of built-in voice – The default voice built into the nano is a bit robotic. This option lets you use a voice already present in your computer’s software for a more human experience. This requires iTunes to create Voice Over messages using this new voice.

Finishing Up

When you’ve changed all the settings in the tabs, click Apply at the bottom right corner of the iPod management screen and it will begin syncing content to your nano.

When that’s done, remember to eject the iPod by clicking on the arrow button next to the iPod icon in the left-hand tray in iTunes. With the iPod ejected, you’re ready to rock.

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