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How to Use Your iPod nano without iTunes

written by: Rochelle Connery•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 10/6/2010

If you've been struggling to get iTunes to work with your iPod nano but keep running into difficulties, it's time to find out how to use iPod nano without iTunes. Learn how you can use iTunes alternative software to add music and movies to your iPod nano without using iTunes.

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    What is iTunes Alternative Software?

    iTunes alternative software is often shareware or freeware, meaning you don't have to pay for it and it's readily available online. That being said, there are different alternative software programs for specific purposes. Some software merely sync the iPod while others allows you to download your entire iPod library onto another computer. Some software offer free, fully functional versions with optional upgrades for unlocking more syncing abilities, such as managing photos or restoring the iPod.

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    Using CopyTrans Manager as an iTunes Alternative

    One of the best ways to use an iPod nano without iTunes is by downloading and installing CopyTrans Manager. This slick piece of software syncs new music and movies from your computer or your network onto your iPod nano within a matter of seconds. As soon as you launch the software, you will be prompted to plug in your iPod nano. In just a few seconds, the entire list of everything on your iPod nano will appear in the software window.

    From here you can manage music, movies, and existing podcasts to your heart's desire. You may also create new playlists (something particularly difficult to do in some versions of iTunes), delete existing playlists or edit the ones you already have on the iPod nano.

    It's also easy to manage song properties on CopyTrans. Just right click on a file in the window and rename the song, the artist, album and genre and apply Album Art right from your computer.

    Syncing new songs and movies to the iPod nano is fairly easy. In most versions of CopyTrans, you can drag and drop songs from folders into the software pane. Otherwise, just click "Add" and browse through folders on your computer to sync new media.

    CopyTrans also offers some paid upgrades. You can manage photos, repair the iPod, create backups and manage iPod libraries, depending on your needs.

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    Using SharePod as an iTunes Alternative

    SharePod offers even more options when allowing you to use iPod nano without iTunes. In addition to syncing music to your iPod nano, SharePod enables you to sync music from the iPod nano onto your computer, something iTunes does not typically allow. If you are running iTunes on that same computer, SharePod will automatically sync the music you download into the iTunes library for future use.

    SharePod is a great way to back up your iPod nano as well. Regular iTunes backups do not back up music and movies, especially those not purchased from the iTunes store. SharePod will help you back up your device and save it to a safe location on the computer.

    SharePod is a free iTunes alternative that typically comes fully equipped in its shareware form.

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    Drawbacks of iTunes Alternatives

    While you can use iPod nano without iTunes, you won't be able to download new podcasts from these free alternatives. Also, if the iPod nano ever needs updates, it will need a connection to iTunes itself, as iTunes alternatives do not facilitate internet updates from Apple. But those are some of the only things you'll need iTunes for. In most cases, you can get by without using iTunes for normal syncing needs and backup purposes.