How to Sync Your iPhone 4S with Your Computer - dummies

How to Sync Your iPhone 4S with Your Computer

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

To sync your iPhone 4S with your computer, you use either the included dock connector–to–USB cable or connect wirelessly over Wi-Fi. However, if you want to sync wirelessly, you’ll still have to connect your iPhone to your computer with a cable just this once.

Follow these steps and you’ll be ready to sync in just a few minutes:

  1. Start by connecting your iPhone to your computer with the dock connector–to–USB cable included with your iPhone.

    When you connect your iPhone to your computer, iTunes should launch automatically. If it doesn’t, check that you plugged the cable into a USB port on your computer, not a port on your keyboard, monitor, or hub.

    If you don’t see an iPhone in the source list, try restarting your computer. If iTunes doesn’t launch automatically, try launching it manually.

  2. Select your iPhone in the iTunes source list.

    If you’re setting up this iPhone for the first time, you’ll see the Set Up Your iPhone pane:


    If you’ve already named your iPhone, skip to Step 5.

  3. Name your iPhone.

  4. Choose what, if anything, you want iTunes to automatically synchronize, and then click Done.

    Your best course is to leave both boxes unchecked and set everything up manually. That way, you’ll see additional options for syncing contacts, calendars, bookmarks, notes, e-mail accounts, and apps, as well as how to sync media including movies, TV shows, and podcasts.

  5. Click the Summary tab near the top of the window.


    If you don’t see a Summary tab, make sure your iPhone is still selected in the source list.

  6. Click Back Up to iCloud or Back Up to This Computer in the Backup section of the Summary pane.

    Your iPhone creates a backup of its contents automatically every time you sync, regardless of whether you sync using a USB cable or wirelessly.

The check boxes in the Options section give you lots of, well, options:

  • Click to put a check mark in the Open iTunes When This iPhone Is Connected check box to automatically launch iTunes and sync your iPhone whenever you connect it to your computer.

    Even with this box selected you can prevent your iPhone from syncing automatically:

    • After you connect the iPhone to your computer, click the Summary tab in iTunes and deselect the Open iTunes When This iPhone Is Connected check box. You can still start a sync manually by clicking the Sync button.

    • Launch iTunes before you connect your iPhone to your computer. Then press and hold Command+Option (Mac) or Shift+Ctrl (PC) and connect your iPhone. Keep pressing the keys until you see your iPhone appear in the iTunes source list. This method prevents your iPhone from syncing automatically without changing any settings.

    If the Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from Syncing Automatically option in the Devices pane of iTunes Preferences is checked, the Open iTunes When This iPhone Is Connected option in the Summary tab is disabled.

  • Select the Sync with This iPhone over Wi-Fi check box if you want to sync automatically over your Wi-Fi connection.

  • Select the Sync Only Checked Songs and Videos check box to sync only items that have check marks to the left of their names in your iTunes library.

  • Select the Prefer Standard Definition Videos check box to have high-definition videos automatically converted into smaller standard-definition video files when you transfer them to your iPhone.

    Standard-definition video files are significantly smaller than high-definition video files. You’ll hardly notice the difference when you watch the video on your iPhone, but you can have more video files on your iPhone because they take up less space.

    The conversion from HD to standard definition takes a long time, so be prepared for very long sync times when you sync new HD video and have this option enabled.

  • Select the Convert Higher Bit Rate Songs to 128Kbps AAC check box to automatically create smaller audio files (so you can fit more music on your iPhone).

    Most people don’t notice much (if any) difference in audio quality when listening to music on most consumer audio gear, but your iPhone will hold roughly twice as many tunes with this option enabled.

  • Select the Manually Manage Music and Videos check box to turn off automatic syncing in just the Music and Video panes.