iPad: How to Sync Media with 2 or More Computers

It’s a major drag, but you can’t sync the same type of content to your iPad tablet from more than one computer. For example, suppose you’re syncing photos from your desktop computer. If you then connect your tablet to another computer (your notebook, for example), crank up iTunes, and select the Sync Photos from check box, iTunes coughs up the dialog shown in this figure.

As you can see, iTunes tells you that if you go ahead with the photo sync on this computer, it will blow away all of your existing iPad or iPad mini data!

Syncing the same type of content from two different computers is a no-no in the iTunes world.
Syncing the same type of content from two different computers is a no-no in the iTunes world.

The deal here is that if iTunes sees that you don’t have any examples of a particular type of content (such as movies) on your iPad or iPad mini, it lets you sync that type of content, no questions asked.

In other words, you can sync your tablet with multiple computers, albeit in a roundabout kind of way. The secret is to have no overlapping content types on the various computers you use for the syncing. For example, if you have a home desktop computer, a notebook computer, and a work desktop computer, the following is a sample scenario for syncing your iPad or iPad mini with all three machines:

  • Home desktop (music and video only). Select the Sync music check box in the Music tab, and select all of the Sync check boxes in the Movies tab. Deselect the Sync check boxes on the Photos and Podcasts tabs.

  • Notebook (photos only). Select the Sync photos from check box on the Photos tab. Deselect all of the Sync check boxes in the Music, Podcasts, and Movies tabs.

  • Work desktop (podcasts only). Select the Sync box in the Podcasts tab. Deselect the Sync check boxes in the Music, Photos, and Movies tabs.