How to sync music to an iPad

We’ll resist the urge to call the iPad “a giant iPod touch”, yet we cannot ignore the music capabilities of the new iPad. In iOS 5, the ‘iPod’ app is simply called the ‘Music’ app and it comes preinstalled on every new iPad. If you’ve finished setting up your iPad and installed some of the best apps, you might want to sync music to your new iPad. Follow along as we explore how to sync music to an iPad.

Sync Music iPad

Connect to iTunes
You’ll want to be sure you’ve got the latest version of iTunes, which you can download for free direct from Apple. Using the included 30-pin dock connector to USB, connect your iPad to your Mac or PC. Your iPad will appear in the left hand column under ‘Devices’.

If you select the iPad, you’ll notice a navigation bar across the top of iTunes just below the now playing windows. You’ll want to select ‘Music’. This will bring up a wealth of options for syncing your music collection to your iPad.

Sync Music: This is the main control for turning sync on or off. Make sure this is checked. If you select ‘Entire Music Library’, iTunes will sync all of your music and playlists to your iPad. Depending upon the size of your music library, this might not be a good idea since you’ll be using your iPad for photos, music, movies and apps.

Sync music iPad

Tip: Click on ‘Music’ in the left hand column. At the bottom of the iTunes window, you’ll see the number of items, the total listening time and how the storage space required by your music library.

iTunes Music Library

In my case, I have 46.80GB of music. While I was able to fit it on my iPad 2, it simply won’t fit on my 32GB new iPad. Don’t worry, because iTunes allows for a number of ways to get your favorite music synced to your iPad.

When you opt for ‘Selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres, you can easily customize what you’d like to sync. In the example below, I’ve selected the P90x playlist, Andy Taylor (yes the famed guitar player from Duran Duran), anything in the Christmas genre and Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits. As you make changes, you should note the capacity bar at the bottom. This is a real time update on how the changes you make to your playlists will affect storage on your new iPad.

Playlists iTunes iPad

Creating Music Playlists for your iPad
At the bottom right corner in iTunes, you’ll find a ‘+’ sign. Click on that to create a new playlist. You can title it, but make it memorable. ‘My awesome playlist’ is a good one. Click back on ‘Music’ and then drag songs you’d like to the playlist. Your songs won’t move out of your library, but iTunes will simply create a list of your favorites for the corresponding playlist. Shift click to select multiple songs such as an album or multiple tracks. Select the playlist to re-order your songs. Make sure you select that playlist as we’ve outlined above.

How to sync music to iPad without iTunes
Running iOS 5 or later along with iTunes 10.5 or later, you can make use of WiFi syncing. You have to do a traditional sync first, but then you can simply enable WiFi syncing under the Summary tab > Options. Check the box for enabling ‘Sync with iPad over Wi-Fi’.

Sync Wifi iPad

How to download music using iTunes Match and iCloud
Apple offers a yearly service called iTunes Match, which costs $24.99 per year. When coupled with iCloud, you can store your entire music collection on iCloud. To download music from iCloud to your iPad, simply click on the ‘download’ cloud icon as shown below.

  • Marie

    Thx 4 your tutorial,

    It help me so much ! I was in Paris last week and I rent an iPad to visit the city and before that i’ve never used an iPad. I wanted to install music on my iPad and I didn’t know how to do, so thank you very much because it help me passing time when i was traveling !

    Best Regards

    Marie

  • http://twitter.com/lilysykora Lily Sykora

    This was so helpful! Thank you! -Lily

  • Robbo

    I looked for three hours for this post. Thanks!

  • Lawry

    How long should this take? I’m trying to sync 10.36 GB of music from my old PC to my iPad Air without iTunes Match. It seems to be stuck on (Step 6 of 6).

  • Lawry

    How long should this take? I’m trying to sync 10.36 GB of music from my old PC to my iPad Air without iTunes Match. It’s seems to be stuck on (Step 6 of 6).