- (Easy) Set up Documents and Library folders on iPod.
- (Less obvious) Set up appropriate links from hard disk to iPod.
- (Not at all obvious but very important) Arrange that critical apps do not run unless iPod mounted
- (Optional) automate opening of favorite documents or apps when iPod is plugged in.
[robg adds: This is a long, detailed, and potentially quite dangerous hint if you were to mess up a step or two. Please be sure you know what you're doing before you attempt this, and consider the wear and tear factor on your iPod as well. You are responsible for what you do to your iPod and/or computer, not us ... OK, now that all disclaimers have been applied, feel free to read the rest of the hint...]
OK, now, some step-by-step instructions. I will assume your short login name is me, and your iPod is named MyiPod. When carrying out the following instructions, replace with your actual short login and iPod names. Your iPod preferences must be set to activate as disk. To do this, go into iTunes, click on the iPod icon in the left column, then on the iPod preferences button that now appears in the bottom right corner of the iTunes window (fourth button from the right) and check the activate as disk option.
Be sure you have a proper backup before you go any further. Start Terminal and quit all other applications.
To avoid any ambiguity, I will name folders and files by their full Unix name (as it appears in the Terminal window). So your home folder is called /Users/me/ (also noted as ~/), and your iPod is called /Volumes/MyiPod/. Check the following: while your iPod is plugged in, go to the Terminal and type in ls -F /Volumes followed by the Return key; you should see (among other things) an entry /Volumes/MyiPod/.
- The first part is to move your critical documents and preferences from your main computer onto the iPod. Documents are easy (I just move the whole Documents folder; you could do the same with Pictures, etc. Don't put Desktop or Music on the iPod.). For preferences you need to be slightly more selective because some applications will misbehave otherwise.
Step by step:
- Create a me folder in the iPod (in Finder: double-click on MyiPod icon, press shift-command-N, rename). Its name is /Volumes/MyiPod/me/.
- Move the Documents folder from ~/ into the above (in Finder: command-drag). Its name is /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Documents/.
- Create a Library folder within /Volumes/MyiPod/me/. (I don't need to repeat the exact instructions, do I?)
- Create the following folders within /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Library/:
- Application Support
- Move the following folders from ~/Library/ to /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Library/:
- Move the following files from ~/Library/Preferences/ to /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Library/Preferences/:
- Move the following folder from ~/Library/Application Support/ to /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Library/Application
- Create a folder /Volumes/MyiPod/Applications/.
- Set the iPod's "Ignore privileges" option to avoid file permission problems. (Click once on the iPod icon; press command-I; check "Ignore privileges" in the fifth panel.)
- The second part is to set up pointers from your home on the hard disk ~/ to the iPod. This is slightly more involved because although some applications work fine with normal aliases, others only work with their Unix equivalent, "symbolic links". You need to go to the Terminal window to set these up. The general recipe for creating a symbolic link is the following: suppose you want ~/foo/bar to stand for /Volumes/MyiPod/me/foo/bar. In the Terminal window you would type the following two lines:
That last line ends with a space and a dot. To create an alias, as you surely already know, you just option-command-drag /Volumes/MyiPod/me/foo/bar into ~/foo/ in the Finder.
cd ~/foo/ ln -s /Volumes/MyiPod/me/foo/bar .
Step by step:
- In ~/ create an alias towards /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Documents/
- In ~/Library/ create aliases towards the following folders in /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Library/:
- In ~/Library/ create symbolic links towards the remaining folders in /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Library/. For this, in a terminal window, type the following (remember to replace me and MyiPod with appropriate names):
cd ~/Library/ ln -s /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Library/Caches/ . ln -s /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Library/Mail/ . ln -s /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Library/Safari/ .
- Similarly for Application Support:
Note the backslash character to protect the space inside the name Application Support.
cd ~/Library/Application Support/ ln -s /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Library/Application\ Support/AddressBook .
- Create symbolic links from ~/Library/Preferences/ to all your preferences in /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Library/Preferences/. Go to the terminal window and type:
Unix understands the asterisk * to mean "everything within this folder".
cd ~/Library/Preferences/ ln -s /Volumes/MyiPod/me/Library/Preferences/* .
- Thanks to the above, Mail, Safari, iChat and Address Book now store their support files on the iPod. Now we must arrange that these applications do not run unless the iPod is mounted, otherwise strange things will happen. (Mail is the most problematic, because it appears to work normally, but it creates a folder /Volumes/MyiPod/ even though the iPod is not present!)
The easiest approach would probably be to move the above applications from /Applications/ to /Volumes/MyiPod/Applications/. I haven't tried this, because I was concerned about space, and because I noticed that Software Update does not work properly for applications that are not in /Applications/. Instead, because I always start these applications from DragThing using a hotkey, I created aliases in /Volumes/MyiPod/Applications/, and dragged the aliases into DragThing. Thus, when I press a hotkey, DragThing looks for the alias on the iPod and complains if it is not mounted. (I had to play with the preferences of DragThing to stop it from resolving the aliases ahead of time.)
Now run Mail, Safari, iChat and Address Book. Look for the symptoms of a bad installation noted at the end of this hint. If all is well, you should be able to access your email, bookmarks, buddy lists and address book on every Mac you use.
For applications that I would not expect to find on a random Mac, for instance AppleWorks or Tous Comptes Faits, I just install them within /Volumes/MyiPod/Applications/.
- The last part is to open your favorite applications and documents automatically when the iPod is plugged in. I'll make that the subject of a later hint.
Here are some symptoms to look for, which may appear if you have done something wrong:
- iChat loses your identity.
- Address Book loses its contents.
- Mail loses access to mail folders stored on the Mac, or loses your rules, or the spam filter stops working properly.
- Safari complains that it can't access your bookmarks.
- In a terminal window type ls -F /Volumes; if you see /Volumes/MyiPod/ even while the iPod is not present, or you see several folders named something like MyiPod/, MyiPod 1/, MyiPod 2, then Mail is having trouble.