Because of their "easy to use" touch screens and bright, shiny icons, MP3 players can be quite difficult to handle. From syncing your device with your computer to ripping CDs and copying audio files, you can become master of your MP3 player by learning how to do a few key operations.
Method 1 of 4: Use an Apple iPod touch, Nano, or Shuffle with iTunes
All Apple devices share a similar interface, so these tips also apply to iPhones and iPads.
Step 1. Select one of Apple's MP3 players
If you don't already have one, know that iPod touch, Nano and Shuffle all allow you to listen to music. But beyond that, they differ in several ways. Find one that fits your budget and your lifestyle. Go directly to step 2 if you already have an iPod range MP3 player.
- iPod Shuffle: This is the smallest and cheapest of the iPod line. The Shuffle is slightly larger than a stamp and can hold 2 Gigabytes (GB) of music. You manipulate the Shuffle by pressing the physical buttons it has on its front face. As a bonus, it can attach to your clothes, which is great if you like listening to music while doing your workouts.
- iPod Nano: the Nano is Apple's “inter-two” device. It has a 2.5-inch (6.35cm) touchscreen, costs around $ 135 US import, and can hold up to 16GB of music. The Nano also lets you listen to FM radio and use training features like Nike +, which tracks your progress as you run.
- iPod touch: almost identical to the iPhone in shape, size and color choices, iPod touch is available in 16, 32 and 64 GB versions. You can download applications and games on it, browse the Internet, view your emails, and do just about anything else except make a phone call.
Step 2. Download iTunes
Apple has designed all of its MP3 players to connect with iTunes, a software available for PC and Mac that lets you buy and download music, videos, and apps to your devices. Go to http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/ to get the latest version.
- The iTunes download page offers you an installer file for Windows by default. If you're on a Mac, select the link Get iTunes for Macintosh (get iTunes for Mac) located under the blue “Download now” button.
- You can download the latest iTunes updates from the software download page if you have it installed already.
Step 3. Install iTunes by going to where you saved the installation file, and double-clicking it
Step 4. Connect your iPod to your computer using the USB cable provided by Apple
Apple ships each iPod with a special USB cable, designed to connect iPod devices to your computer. You can buy a replacement at almost any electronics store or on the NET by searching for “Apple USB cable”.
Step 5. Launch iTunes
iTunes may open automatically the first time you plug an MP3 player into your computer. If not, double-click on the iTunes icon, which is usually found on your desktop (Windows) or in your Applications folder (Mac).
Step 6. Click on your iPod when it appears on the panel on the left of your screen
On iTunes 12 and newer versions, an icon representing your device will appear at the top left, below the menu, and next to the TV and music note icons. In versions prior to 12, look for your MP3 player under the heading "Devices".
Step 7. Select the tabs located under "Settings" to find out what your options are
Among the tabs, there is the "Summary" to have a global view of your device, "Music" to manage the playlists and albums synchronized with your device, and more.
Step 8. Select the Music tab
Then click on Sync music at the top of the screen. From there, iTunes lets you choose between syncing all the music in your library, or just the playlists, songs, and albums you specified.
Your MP3 player can only hold a limited number of songs, depending on the available storage capacity. Keep an eye on the Storage bar at the bottom of the screen, which tells you how many Gigabytes (GB) you have left free
Step 9. When you're ready, tap the Sync button in the bottom right corner
Synchronization copies the selected songs to your MP3 player.
Step 10. Press the Eject button to safely unplug your device from iTunes
You'll find this eject button at the top left of the screen, near your device name.
Method 2 of 4: Buy music for iPod touch, Nano, or Shuffle
Step 1. Launch iTunes, then select the iTunes Store
The way to access and browse the content available in iTunes stores depends on whether your version of iTunes is 12 or newer, or an older version than 12.
- iTunes 12 and later: click on the musical note in the upper left corner, under the File and Edit menus. Then select the tab itunes store in the center of your screen.
- iTunes 11 and earlier: On the left side of the screen, select itunes store under the “Store” banner.
Step 2. Search for a song, or use the tabs in the center of the screen to navigate
The tabs contain choices like “Titles”, “Albums” and “Artists”. You can directly find what you are looking for by selecting the search bar at the top right of the screen.
Step 3. Browse your music by clicking on the music note in the side panel
Again, the way you can view your albums differs depending on your version of iTunes.
- iTunes 12 and later: after clicking on the music note, select the tab My music in the center of the screen. Otherwise, you can click Purchased in the side panel.
- iTunes 11 and earlier: after clicking on the music note, select a tab such as “Albums” or “Genres” to classify your music. To see all of your songs, select “All Artists” in the center of the screen.
Step 4. Sync your music with your iPod using iTunes
Go to the section Use an Apple iPod touch, Nano, or Shuffle with iTunes for instructions.
Method 3 of 4: Play music on iPod touch, Nano, or Shuffle
Step 1. Tap the Music app
Look for the musical note surrounded by an orange box.
Step 2. Tap the tabs at the bottom to browse your playlists
“Artists” sorts the songs you have synchronized by performer, “Playlists” groups them by lists, and so on.
- To push on More will allow you to choose from more rating options like “Albums” and “Genres”.
Step 3. Tap a song to play it
Use the controls at the bottom of the screen to pause and fast forward or rewind the song.
Method 4 of 4: Use other MP3 players
Copying music to MP3 players other than iPod series, such as the Samsung Galaxy Player, is done by following a simple procedure.
Step 1. Connect your MP3 player to your computer using a USB cable
Most MP3 players plug in using a mini or micro-USB cable, which are easily found and inexpensive. You probably got one when you bought your MP3 player.
Step 2. Locate the folder where you store your music on your computer
Double click on the directory to open it.
Step 3. Prepare to copy the audio files to your MP3 player
In Windows, go to Start, My Computer, then double-click on the name of your MP3 player. On a Mac, removable devices like your MP3 player will appear on the desktop. Double click on your MP3 player to open it. If your device does not appear, select the “Finder” emoticon at the bottom of the screen and look for your device under the “Devices” label on the left side of the screen.
Step 4. Select and drag the music to the Music folder on your MP3 player
The name of the music folder on your device may differ. But for the most part it's just “Music”.
Step 5. Eject your MP3 player properly to avoid data corruption
Do not just unplug your USB device after you have finished copying the files.
- In Windows, right click on the green check mark in the lower right corner of your screen, then select “Eject” followed by the name of your device.
- On a Mac, launch Finder and click the button Eject next to the name of your MP3 player.
- Put money in a good pair of headphones so that you can enjoy your music in public places without disturbing others.
- If you are looking to get a new MP3 player, you don't have to buy a "new" MP3 player. MP3 technology changes every few years, so a used MP3 player a few years old will do just as well as a brand new and super expensive MP3 player.
- Expand your library by extracting music from your CD collection and copying it to your MP3 player.