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Sync calendars to an older iPod iPod
I have a perfectly serviceable 5th generation iPod nano (2009-2010). Unfortunately, every time a new major version of iTunes is released, this iPod loses part of its usability.

In an earlier hint, I showed one way to restore the ability to sync Contacts. With the release of iTunes 11, Apple has also removed the ability to sync Calendars. Under the Info tab for my nano, I now see these incorrect and misleading messages:

"No contacts are available on this computer."
"No calendars are available on this computer."

Here are two ways to remedy that situation. In Calendar, select a calendar in the sidebar, then choose File > Export > Export... and direct the output to the Calendars folder on your older iPod. Repeat this operation for all the calendars you wish to export. (File > Export > Calendar Archive... also works, but on the iPod, all events will appear under All Calendars. If you have a lot of calendars or a lot of events, this option may make it hard to navigate through.)

I tried several ways to create an AppleScript to automate the above procedure, but it turns out that Calendar is not scriptable enough to get the desired result. The script below produces an .ics file for each calendar in the sidebar, but on the iPod everything still appears under All Calendars. It would take a "real programmer" to recreate the proper export format that the manual method produces.
-- set ipodCalPath to "/Calendars/"
-- for instance:
set ipodCalPath to "/Volumes/Chris Schram’s iPod/Calendars/"

tell application "Calendar"
	
	try
		do shell script ("rm -rf " & (quoted form of ipodCalPath) & "*")
	end try
	
	delay 5 -- so Calendar is fully launched and shell script is finished
	
	set allCals to calendars
	repeat with oneCal in allCals
		set thisName to name of oneCal & ".ics"
		set thisUID to uid of oneCal
		set thisPath to (do shell script "find ~/Library/Calendars -maxdepth 2 -name " & thisUID & ".calendar") & "/Events"
		set newPath to quoted form of (ipodCalPath & thisName)
		try
			do shell script ("cat " & thisPath & "/*.ics > " & newPath)
		on error
			do shell script ("cp -rf " & thisPath & " " & newPath)
		end try
	end repeat -- with oneCal in allCals
	
	say "done exporting calendars"
	-- quit -- application "Calendar" (Optional; you choose)
	
end tell -- application "Calendar"

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Listen to podcasts with Music app on iOS 6 iPod
With iOS 6, podcasts no longer show up in the Music app, if you have installed the Podcasts app. But if you like to make playlists of podcasts, the Podcasts app doesn't pick these up. If you want to get your podcasts back to the Music app, and be able to access playlists, just delete the Podcasts app. Podcasts will show up after you tap More in the Music app.
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Syncing Contacts to an older iPod nano iPod
I own a 5th Generation iPod nano (the one with the camera and the ability to play video). I have also tested this hint with a 1st Generation iPod nano. It may apply to other iPod models as well.

Up until the latest model, the iPod nano has had the ability to do a one-way sync from Address Book to its Contacts. At some point, this ability broke, either with OS X Lion, or with a specific version of iTunes. Attempting to sync Address Book to the iPod nano now produces a zero-byte file called iSync.vcf. I have reported this problem to Apple. There have been updates to both Lion and iTunes since I made that report, but syncing Contacts is still broken. Following is one possible solution that uses a four-step (or less) Automator Workflow.

Optional Step 1: Drag "Run Shell Script" into your Workflow window. In the script area, enter:
rm -f "/Volumes/<your iPod's name>/Contacts/*.vcf"
Be careful to use your iPod's EXACT name, e.g., if there is a curly apostrophe in "John Doe’s iPod".

Step 2: Drag "Find Address Book Items" into your Workflow. using the popups and text boxes change it to look something like this:
Find [people] where:
	[All] of the following are true
		[City][is not] xyzzy
		[State][is not] xyzzy
This action will find all your Contacts.

Step 3: (Your iPod must be connected to your Mac, and "Enable disk use" must be enabled in iTunes.) Drag "Export vCards" into your Workflow. Set these parameters in this action:
Export [individual vCards] to [Contacts]
If you have Optional Step 1 in your workflow, it does not matter whether you select [individual vCards] or [one vCard]. They look the same on your iPod, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. To complete this Action, choose "Other..." from the destination popup and navigate to the Contacts folder on your iPod.

Optional Step 4: Drag Run AppleScript into your Workflow. change "(* Your script goes here *)" to:
tell application "Address Book" to quit
Click the Run button to see if your Workflow works. If it does, save it in either ~/Library/iTunes/Scripts/ or ~/Library/Scripts/Applications/iTunes/, and give it a meaningful name such as like "Export Address Book." Run this script each time you want to update the contacts on your iPod nano.

[kirkmc adds: I no longer have an older iPod nano, and have not been able to test this.]
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Retrieve S/Ns of iPods connected to your computer iPod
If your iPod is lost or stolen you'll want to find its serial number. Luckily, your Mac keeps a record of all the iPods that have connected to the computer with the s/n and other info.

The file that stores info about iPods is located at /Library/Preferences/com.apple.iPod.plist. Open it with your favorite text editor.

Here's the hierarchy of the XML file with (descriptions):
<dict> (everything/root)
  <key>Devices</key> (the section that stores info about the iPods themselves)
  <dict>
    <key>XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX</key> (a unique identifier for each iPod, not useful to us
    <dict>
      <key>Connected</key> (the first iPod)
      (In here is the info about the iPod. Subsequently, I will refer to things at this level of the tree.)
    </dict>
  </dict>
  (ignore stuff in here; it's not useful to us)
<dict>
  • Line 2 of the section I said we'd focus on is a date. This is the last time you connected the iPod.
  • Line 4 tells us that the device is an iPod, which we already knew.
  • Line 6 tells us what 'family' the iPod is. My Nano G5 is a 16.
  • Line 8 is the firmware version in a single number (not the version that we usually see).
  • Line 10 is the firmware version as a the number we're used to (X.X.X).
  • Lines 12 and 14 are about games on the iPod, and not very useful to us.
  • Line 16 is that unique ID we saw earlier.
  • Line 18 is the language (language-country).
  • Line 20 is the big one: the serial number.
  • Lines 22 and 24 are info for the software update application, and not very useful to us.
  • Line 26 is the number of times you've connected that iPod.
If you've connected more than one iPod, you'll see another of the blocks that starts with <key>XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX</key>.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. This is pretty handy to know.]
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Don't trash an iPod with bad blocks on the drive iPod
I had bad blocks on my iPod classic 120gb. I was told to trash it and by a certified technician but I wouldn't give up. I tried reformating at least 50 times. My iPod would restore and show up in iTunes no problem but I couldn't copy more than 2gb of data before iTunes would hang.

I also tried reformating the iPod with Disk Utility. I was able to format but not with 'zero out data' selected (recommended for fixing bad blocks). I even tried changing the partition map through terminal but was unsuccessful.

You can try the following procedure which worked for me.
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Change scrubbing speed and resolution iPod
The clickwheel is gone and won't ever come back. [crarko adds: It's still there on the iPod Classic, although who knows for how much longer.]

However, until recently, it's been difficult to fast forward or rewind in a podcast, given the tiny little scrubber.

While scrubbing left and right, drag your thumb towards the bottom of the screen and the scrub speed will change from "High Speed", through "Half" and "Quarter" to "Fine Scrubbing", where moving the thumb from left to right effects only a few pixel change in the scrubber.

[crarko adds: I've done something like this on the iPhone and iPad, and it does give you a little tip about it when you go to scrub through the media you're playing. Still, it's one of those things that's not that obvious so I think it still qualifies as a hint.]
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Google Voice app on jailbroken iPod Touch iPod
The official Google Voice for iPhone application that Google release recently cannot be installed on the iPod Touch through iTunes, therefore this workaround will show you how to get the Google Voice for iPhone application working on your iPod Touch. You will need a jailbroken iPod Touch with Cydia loaded onto it.
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Automatically sync when connecting an iPod iPod
In older versions of iTunes you had the option to perform a sync, similar to clicking the Sync button in iSync in Mac OS X 10.5 and newer. For me this was a perfect solution to remember syncing my phones since I connected my iPod once a day to update some smart playlists. To mimic this functionlity I wrote an AppleScript and then attached it as a folder action to the /Volumes folder.
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A script to speedup audio file playback on iPod iPod
I frequently listen to spoken word content (podcasts and audio books) on my iPod. I find that most such content is way too slow for my tastes. I've been very disappointed in how Apple handles speeding up this sort of audio, so for a long time I've handled this manually, and I figured it made sense to share the method as a hint.

Apple has the ability on iPods/iPhones to play audio at faster than 1x but there are various problems with what they offer.
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Use iTunes 9.1 to create AAC formatted files for all devices iPod
iTunes 9.1 enables the 'Convert higher bitrate songs to 128 kbps AAC' for all of your iThings -- iPhones, iPods, iPads. This makes it as Apple-easy as one would expect to maintain a Lossless library, and yet use smaller AAC files on the mobile devices!

I have waited for this to happen for the last couple of days...well actually since I began working on the best workflow that enabled me to enjoy my music ripped to Lossless at home as well as being able to save space on my iPhone 3G, iPod Touch, my iPad, and all other future iThings. Now I can do this without having to use an iPod Shuffle -- it's now possible for my iPhone!

Note: the on-the-fly conversion takes place during the sync and does not alter anything within the actual Lossless Library. Syncing is blazingly fast on my Core i7 iMac.

The next step will now be to consolidate all the music on a sharepoint on my OS X Server and create a read-only access for my wife, then change the settings in her iTunes to:

- NOT Copy file to iTunes Media folder when adding to library
- NOT Keep iTunes Media folder organized

Then she can add (links) to the Lossless content from our one and only consolidated Lossless music archive (maintained by me), and get AAC 128kbps music synched to her iPhone/iPods.
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