Top tips: get the most from iTunes and iPod

But if you want to make it even easier for yourself, make sure that you always type on it when it’s in the Safari landscape mode. Also, if you touch and hold your finger on the keyboard, this magnifies the buttons. Finally, an easier way to type a comma is to tap on the .?123 button and then slide your finger along to it.

iPod classic, nano and more

iPod reset

From time to time an iPod will crash and freeze. This is common and the solution is quick and painless. The method for resetting your iPod depends on the model you have.

If you own an older iPod (third-gen or earlier), you have to flick the Hold switch on and off and press the Play/Pause and Menu buttons until the screen resets and the Apple logo appears. For all newer iPods, do the same with the Hold switch, but instead of the Play/Pause and Menu buttons, hold down Menu and Select.

TV connection

If you own an iPod with a colour screen, you can connect it to a TV to view photos or videos (assuming you own a video-enabled iPod). You don’t have to buy Apple’s very expensive AV cable, either.

If you get any standard AV-to-RCA cable, which you can buy online from around £5, this will be fine, but you’ll need to connect it differently. The yellow RCA plug goes into the white jack on your TV, the red one goes into the yellow jack and the white one goes into the red jack.

Now connect the other end to your iPod and the picture should appear onscreen. If it doesn’t, go to the Video settings on your iPod and switch the TV out on.

Updating your iPod’s software

It may be hard to accept, but even your iPod will occasionally behave badly, and this may be down to a bug in the system software. When bugs are found (they’re not that frequent), Apple will update the iPod’s system software.

Make sure you’re connected to the internet and go to Software Update in the Apple menu. See if there’s a new version to download. Alternatively, iTunes will let you update your iPod’s software when you connect it if this needs to be done.

Golden oldies

If you have any music on vinyl or tape that you want to get onto your iPod, it’s a lot more straightforward than you might think. For starters, you need to get hold of a piece of software that will let you record live audio being played on your computer, and the one we recommend is Audacity.

It takes a bit of figuring out, but it’s free and will do the job perfectly well. Now get hold of a mini-jack-to-RCA cable and connect up your stereo to your computer.

Start Audacity recording and begin playing the tape or record and it will be stored live as a continuous MP3 file. When the recording has finished, stop Audacity and follow the application’s Help section on how to split your file up into individual tracks.

General tips

Finally, here are a few small tips that every self- respecting iPod owner should be aware of:

  • Ratings - you may not have thought of using the Ratings feature of your iPod (giving a song a rating between one and five), but it’s seriously worth doing, especially if you’re a fan of Smart Playlists. To add a rating to a song, press the Select button until the Rating screen appears and add it with the scrollwheel.
  • Skipping - want to skip through an audio or video file quickly? If you press down on either the left or right side of the wheel (depending on whether you want to go forwards or backwards through the track), it’ll skip through to the part you want.

Multiple iPods

Most households now have more than one iPod, but if you only have one Mac in the house, you have to find a way of syncing all the various iPods on that machine.

There are a couple of ways to sync more than one iPod with a single copy of iTunes. The easiest way is to set up playlists for each iPod. That way, when you connect each one it will only sync with the playlist (or playlists) you tell it to.

Alternatively, you could set your computer with a separate account for each member of the household. That way, when they log in they get their own personal Mac Desktop and unique settings for each piece of software.

Battery life

As with anything that runs on batteries, you want your iPod to play for as long as possible. To get the most out of the battery, make sure you don’t use things that drain it, such as the backlight (you can adjust the timer for this so that it switches itself off), the Equalizer and, oddly, files of 9MB or more like audiobooks.

Other useful tips include making sure that you always leave the Hold button switched on when you’re not using your iPod, and making sure that you charge it up correctly.

Your iPod will restore around 80% of its power after an hour’s charge, but it takes another three hours to bring it back to full power. And, to sustain the battery’s life, try to run the battery down completely before recharging it, rather than boosting it in between.