How To Set Up The IPod Shuffle

The iPod Shuffle is different from the other iPods: it doesn’t have a screen. And while there are a few other differences, setting one up is fairly similar to setting up other models. If you’re setting up an iPod for the first time with the Shuffle, take heart: it’s pretty easy.

These instructions apply (with minor variations depending on the model) to the following iPod Shuffle models:

  • 4th generation iPod Shuffle
  • 3rd generation iPod Shuffle

Begin by plugging the Shuffle into the included USB adapter and plugging that into a USB port on your computer. When you do this, iTunes will launch if you haven’t already launched it. Then, in the main iTunes window, you’ll see the Welcome To Your New iPod screen shown above. Click the Continue button.

Next, you’ll be asked to agree to some legal terms of use for the Shuffle, the iTunes Store, and iTunes. You’ll need to agree to them in order to continue, so click the checkbox and then click the Continue button to proceed.

Create or Sign In to iTunes Account

set up an ipod shuffle, step 2
 Sam Costello

The next step in setting up the iPod Shuffle is to sign into, or create, an Apple ID/iTunes account. You’ll need this both because it’s associated with your Shuffle (or any other iPod/iPhone/iPad you use) and because it’s required to purchase or download music, podcasts, or other content from the iTunes Store.

If you already have an iTunes account, sign in with it here. If not, click the button next to I do not have an Apple ID and follow the onscreen instructions for creating one.

When you’ve done this, click the Continue button.

Register Your Shuffle

set up ipod shuffle, step 3
 Sam Costello

The next step is to register your Shuffle with Apple. Fill in your contact information and then decide if you want to receive email marketing from Apple (leave the box checked if you do, unchecked it if you don’t). When the form is filled out, click Submit.

Give Your Shuffle a Name

set up ipod shuffle, step 4
Sam Costello

Next, give your Shuffle a name. This is what the Shuffle will be called in iTunes when you sync it. You can change the name later, via iTunes, if you want.

When you’ve given it a name, you’ll need to decide what to do with the pair of options below it:

  • Automatically sync songs to my iPod will automatically update your Shuffle with music, podcasts, and Genius mixes each time you sync your Shuffle. Most people will want to check this. Only uncheck it if you want to manually manage your music and have experience with that.
  • Enable VoiceOver will add VoiceOver to your Shuffle, which allows it to speak menu items and song and artist names to you. If you choose this, installation instructions for the Voice Over kit will appear in a pop-up window. Simply follow the onscreen instructions to complete that step.

When you’ve made your selections, click the Done button.

iPod Management Screen

set up ipod shuffle, step 5
Sam Costello

The next screen you’ll see is the default iPod management screen, which will appear each time you sync your Shuffle in the future. This is where you control the Shuffle’s settings and what content gets synced to it.

There are two boxes to pay attention to here: Version and Options.

The Version box is where you do two things:

  • Check to see if there’s a new version of the software that runs the Shuffle and if so, update it.
  • Restore the Shuffle from backup.

The Options box offers a number of settings:

  • Open iTunes when this iPod is connected – As noted on the last page, you’ll probably want to keep this checked so iTunes will sync your Shuffle each time you connect it.
  • Sync only checked songs – Lets you control what songs are synced to your Shuffle. Check this if your iTunes library is bigger than your Shuffle’s capacity (which it almost certainly will be). Learn how to sync only certain songs here.
  • Enable Sound Check – Check this to turn on a feature of the Shuffle called Sound Check that attempts to equalize the volume of all songs so some aren’t very loud while others are super quiet.
  • Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC – Converts songs to the AAC format during syncing to conserve space and enable you to bring more songs with you. When you check this, the songs are only changed on your Shuffle, not in iTunes.
  • Manually manage music – As noted on the previous page, choose this only if you want to prevent automatic syncing and manually add and remove all songs on your Shuffle.
  • Enable disk use – Lets you use the storage space on the Shuffle to not just store songs but also store files like a removable hard drive.
  • Voice Feedback – As noted on the previous page, this enables Voice Over. It also allows you to choose the language that Voice Over will speak in.
  • Limit Maximum Volume – Enable this to prevent the volume from being raised over a certain level. This can be good for protecting your hearing. If you enable it, slide the volume level below to set the maximum. If you want to lock this setting (for instance, if you’re setting up the Shuffle for a child), click the lock icon.

Syncing Music

ipod shuffle instructions, step 6
 Sam Costello

Across the top of the screen, you’ll see a handful of tabs. Click the Music tab to control what music you synced to your Shuffle.

  • Sync Music – Check this to add music from iTunes to your Shuffle.
  • Entire Music Library Syncs all your iTunes music to your Shuffle (big surprise, right?). Since most people’s iTunes libraries are larger than their Shuffles, you probably want to be able to choose this option. Instead, you’ll want to select the next option.
  • Selected playlists, artists, and genres
    • Choose this to control what music is synced from iTunes to your Shuffle. Sync playlists by checking the playlists you want on the left or everything from a given artist by checking the boxes on the right. Sync everything you have in a particular genre, or just a specific album, by clicking the bottom boxes.
  • Automatically fill free space with songs – Fills unused space on your Shuffle with music that’s not already synced to it (obviously this doesn’t work if your Shuffle is already full).

Syncing Podcasts, iTunes U, and Audiobooks

set up ipod shuffle, step 7
 Sam Costello

The other tabs at the top of the iPod Management Screen allow you to sync other kinds of audio content to your Shuffle. They are podcasts, iTunes U educational lectures, and audio books. Controlling how they sync is the same for all three.

  • Sync – To sync these items, you must click the Sync Podcasts, etc. button at the top of each screen. Do that and the other options will be enabled.
    • To sync individual episodes, click the name of the series in the left-hand column. This will show all available episodes. In the right-hand column, click the boxes to the right of the ones you want to sync to your Shuffle.
  • Automatically include – Automatically sync content that meets criteria you set: unwatched, newest, newest unwatched, oldest unwatched, and all content or just selected items.
  • Books/Podcasts/Collections – Lists all of the series in your iTunes library, and how many episodes of each you have. New or unlistened to episodes have a blue dot to their left. Click each podcast/collection for the list of episodes from that series.

When you’ve completed making all your sync setting updates, click the Applybutton in the bottom right-hand corner of the iTunes window. This will save your settings and update the contents of your Shuffle based on the setting you just created.

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