How to Sync Media with Your iPad mini

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

If you chose to let iTunes manage synchronizing your iPad mini data automatically, welcome. Here, you find out how you get your media — your music, podcasts and videos — from your computer to your iPad.

Podcasts and videos (but not photos) from your computer are synced only one way: from your computer to your iPad. If you delete a podcast or a video that got onto your iPad via syncing, the podcast or video will not be deleted from your computer when you sync.

That said, if you buy or download any of the following items from the Apple iTunes, iBooks, or App Store on your iPad, the item will be copied back to your computer automatically when you sync:

  • Songs

  • Ringtones

  • Podcasts

  • Videos

  • iBooks, e-books, and audiobooks

  • Apps

  • Playlists that you create on your iPad mini

And if you save pictures from email messages, the iPad camera, web pages, or screen shots, these too can be synced using your favorite photo application.

You use the Apps, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, iTunes U, Books, Audiobooks, Tones, and Photos panes to specify the media that you want to copy from your computer to your iPad. To view any of these panes, make sure that your iPad is still selected and then click the appropriate tab in the list of Settings on the left.

Music, music videos, and voice memos

To transfer music to your iPad mini, select the Sync Music check box in the Music pane. You can then select the option for Entire Music Library or Selected Playlists, Artists, and Genres. If you choose the latter, select the check boxes next to particular playlists, artists, and genres you want to transfer. You also can choose to include music videos or voice memos or both by selecting the appropriate check boxes at the top of the pane.

If none of these options sounds just right, you may prefer using the On This iPad tab.


If you choose Entire Music Library and have more songs in your iTunes library than storage space on your iPad, you’ll see an error message when you try to sync. You’ll also see a yellow alert on the right side of the capacity chart at the bottom. To avoid such errors, select playlists, artists, and genres that total less than the free space on your iPad, which is also displayed in the capacity chart at the bottom of the iTunes screen.

Music, podcasts, and video are notorious for using massive amounts of storage space on your iPad. If you try to sync too much media content, you see lots of error messages. Forewarned is forearmed.

Finally, if you select the Automatically Fill Free Space with Songs check box, iTunes fills any free space on your iPad with music. Think long and hard about enabling this option. You may want to choose against it because when it’s enabled, you can easily run out of space for pictures and videos.


To transfer movies to your iPad mini, select the Sync Movies check box and then choose an option for movies you want to include automatically from the pop-up menu. If you choose an option other than All, you can optionally select individual movies and playlists by selecting the boxes in appropriate sections.


TV shows

The procedure for syncing TV shows is slightly different from the procedure for syncing movies. First, select the Sync TV Shows check box to enable TV show syncing. Then choose how many episodes to include and whether you want all shows or only selected shows from the two pop-up menus. If you want to also include individual episodes or episodes on playlists, select the appropriate check boxes in the Shows, Episodes, and Include Episodes from Playlists sections of the TV Shows pane.

Regardless of the choices you make in the pop-up menus, you can always select individual episodes by selecting their check boxes.

Podcasts, iTunes U, and books

You can also sync podcasts, educational content from iTunes U, two types of books — e-books for reading and audiobooks for listening — and photos.

If you like to read e-books or watch or listen to podcasts or iTunes U courses, visit the App Store and grab copies of Apple’s free Podcasts, iBooks, and iTunes U apps. Audiobooks, on the other hand, don’t require a special app; you can listen to them using the Music app.



To transfer podcasts to your iPad, select the Sync Podcasts check box in the Podcasts pane. Then you can automatically include however many podcasts you want by making selections from the two pop-up menus, the same way you did for TV Shows. If you have podcast episodes on playlists, you can include them by selecting the appropriate check box in the Include Episodes from Playlists section.

iTunes U

To sync educational content from iTunes U, first select the Sync iTunes U check box to enable iTunes U syncing. Then choose how many episodes to include and whether you want all collections or only selected collections from the two pop-up menus. If you want to also include individual items or items on playlists, select the appropriate check boxes in the Items section and Include Items from Playlists section of the iTunes U pane.


By now we’re sure you know the drill: You can sync all your e-books and audiobooks as well as just sync selected titles by choosing the appropriate buttons and check boxes in the Books pane.

To sync e-books, you need the free iBooks app; if you don’t already have it, you can download it from the App Store.


If you have custom ringtones in your iTunes library, select the Sync Ringtones check box in the Tones pane. Then you can choose either all ringtones or individual ringtones by selecting their check boxes. Ringtones can be used also as text tones and alarms.