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Step by step: How to sync your Apple iPod (iPod 1g through 5.5g, iPod Mini and iPod Nano 1g) with Songbird using Rockbox

Hi everybody,

Here's a basic step by step guide to show you hot to sync your Apple iPod with Songbird without the no longer maintained iPod Device Support Addon. Maybe the idea of installing a new firmware on your iPod scares you, but in reality it's very simple and if you don't like the Rockbox interface you can easily uninstall it and go back to iTunes.

First of all you maybe want to know what rockbox is:

Basically it's an open source project aiming at providing more features for your digital music device by loading it's own small OS but NOT touching the original firmware. That means that your Device still can be restored to its original condition if you don't like Rockbox.
For more details have a look here: Rockbox FAQ

The main advantages are that your Device will become an MSC Device and that you'll have much more features than with the orignal Firmware.

These devices can be used with Rockbox:

Apple: iPod 1g through 5.5g, iPod Mini and iPod Nano 1g
Archos: Jukebox 5000, 6000, Studio, Recorder, FM Recorder, Recorder V2 and Ondio
Cowon: iAudio X5, X5V, X5L, M5, M5L, M3 and M3L
iriver: iHP100 series, H100 series, H300 series and H10 series
Olympus: M:Robe 100
SanDisk: Sansa c200 series, e200 series and e200R series
Toshiba: Gigabeat X and F series

So how do you install your Rockbox:

1. Grab the Rockbox installer for your OS and follow its instructions to set up your Rockbox device:

Please refer to your Device's rockbox manual for any questions which can be downloaded here:

Important: If you are using Ubuntu Karmic, you'll have to start the Rockbox utility with the "gksu" prefix to be able to access your iPod. How do you do that: right click on the extracted rbutilqt and select "open with another application" and under command type: "gksu". This gives Rockbox admin rights which will ensure that it can work properly.

2. After installing Rockbox you can simply create a Folder on your iPod, e.g. /media/IPOD/music and either manually copy your music onto your device or let Songbird to do that.

If you are running Songbird on Windows you can install the MSC Device Support addon for syncing to the music folder on your device or you can use the OS independent FolderSync Addon .

I must admit that I haven't tried it with the MSC addon as I'm a Linux user. Any comments if it works or not are welcome.

With the FolderSync addon you can easily select Playlists or your whole library to be transferred onto your device with many options (e.g. a certain folder structure).

I must say it works like a charm and after a short time of adjustment you'll love Rockbox with its many features (e.g. for Doom fans out there, yes you can play doom on your iPod ;).

I hope that this small how to encourages you to give your (maybe soon rockboxed) iPod and Songbird a second chance as the ipod device support is not seeming to come back soon.

Any comments/reports are appreciated.


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