10 Alternatives to iTunes for managing your iPod

by Ross McKillop on July 8, 2007

iPod Linux Mac Windows

This overview details the features (with screenshots) of 10 different programs other than iTunes to manage your iPod. Tutorials are included for every program, and they’re all either free or Open Source.

If you’ve been wondering why I’ve been writing so many “How to use XYZ to manage your iPod” tutorials lately, now you know why.
 

Name Supported Platforms
Amarok linux icon
Banshee linux icon
Floola apple iconwindows iconlinux icon
gtkpod linux icon
MediaMonkey windows icon
Rhythmbox linux icon
SharePod windows icon
Songbird apple iconwindows iconlinux icon
Winamp windows icon
YamiPod apple iconwindows iconlinux icon

 



 
Amarok
Homepage: http://amarok.kde.org/
About: Amarok includes the following features: Album cover detection and downloads, lyrics support, wikipedia integration, contextual information (a quick view on your currently played music, and suggest similar track which you might like), statistics, Last.fm integration, multiple media devices support (Apple iPod, iRiver iFP and T players, Creative Zen and Nomad players, Generic USB players, Generic MTP players). Amarok is available as a pre-compiled binary for many Linux distributions, and its source is available for those of you who prefer compile your own programs.
Tutorials: How to use Amarok to manage your iPod in Ubuntu
How to install Amarok in Ubuntu (and get it to play MP3s)

Screenshots:

amarok
configure iPod
amarok
iPod contents list
   
amarok
transfer queue
amarok
transfer to iPod

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Banshee
Homepage: http://banshee-project.org/Main_Page
About: Banshee includes the following features: Rips music, burn CDs, share your music, displays cover art, tons of plugins, controllable via keyboard shortcuts, smart playlists and the ability to rate your music. Banshee is available as a pre-compiled binary for many Linux distributions, and its source is available for those of you who prefer compile your own programs.
Tutorial: How to use Banshee to manage your iPod in Ubuntu

Screenshots:

banshee
main Banshee window
banshee
highlight files
   
banshee
sync to iPod
banshee
sync in progress

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Floola
Homepage: http://www.floola.com/modules/wiwimod/
About: Floola includes the following features: Cross platform (works on any Windows (98 and above), any Mac and any linux distribution with GTK installed), Portable (put the application on iPod and launch it on any PC), add and extract songs to and from your iPod, integrated with Last.fm, add artwork to your songs easily, lyric support even on older iPods (3G and above), Videos can be added to iPod, Growl support (Mac only),
Tutorials: Floola installation FAQs
Notes: Floola was the only of the 10 iTunes alternatives that I couldn’t personally test. Floola (at this time) requires that iTunes 7.3 has never touched your iPod (works with iTunes 7.2 and lower), and sadly 7.3 is the version of iTunes that’s on all of my computers. Update: floola now works w/ iTunes 7.3.1. But I can’t test it right away as I no longer have direct access to an iPod. But when I do, I’ll update this post accordingly.

Screencast:

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gtkpod
Homepage: http://www.gtkpod.org/about.html
About: gtkpod is a platform independent Graphical User Interface for Apple’s iPod using GTK2. It supports the first to fifth Generation including the iPod mini, iPod Photo, iPod Shuffle, iPod nano, and iPod Video. gtkpod includes the following features: Read your existing iTunesDB, add MP3, WAV, M4A (non-protected AAC), M4B (audio book), podcasts, and various video files, view, add and modify cover art, sync directories, detect duplicates when adding songs, and much more.
Tutorial: How to use gtkpod to manage your iPod in Ubuntu

Screenshots:

gtkpod
main gtkpod window
gtkpod
adding files with gtkpod

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MediaMonkey
Homepage: http://www.mediamonkey.com
About: MediaMonkey (free version) includes the following features: Party Mode/Auto-DJ, CD Ripper, audio converter, auto-renamer, album-art lookup, reports and statistics, iPod and MP3 Player support.
Tutorial: How to use MediaMonkey to manage your iPod

Screenshots:

mediamonkey
MediaMonkey artist view
mediamonkey
transferring to iPod
   
mediamonkey
tracks on iPod
mediamonkey
safely eject iPod

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Rhythmbox
Homepage: http://www.gnome.org/projects/rhythmbox/
About: Rhythmbox is an integrated music management application, originally inspired by Apple’s iTunes. It is free software, designed to work well under the GNOME Desktop, and based on the powerful GStreamer media framework. Rhythmbox includes the following features: an easy to use music browser, searching and sorting, comprehensive audio format support through GStreamer, Internet Radio support and Playlists.

Tutorial: How to manage your iPod using Rhythmbox in Ubuntu

Screenshots:

Rhythmbox
Rhythmbox library
Rhythmbox
iPod library in Rhythmbox

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SharePod
Homepage: http://www.sturm.net.nz/
About: SharePod includes the following features: loads directly on to your iPod – no software to install, automatically finds an iPod attached to a PC, read/write track properties, remove tracks from an iPod, add/remove playlists on an iPod, copy tracks from an iPod to PC with customized output filename formats, integrated iPod backup & restore – tell SharePodLib where to store backups and how many to store, eject iPod from PC. Requires the Microsoft .NET 2.0 Framework.
Tutorial: How to use SharePod to copy files to and from your iPod in Windows

Screenshots:

sharepod
main SharePod window
sharepod
tracks loaded to iPod

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Songbird
Homepage: http://www.songbirdnest.com/
About: Songbird is a desktop Web player, a digital jukebox and Web browser mash-up. Like Winamp, it supports extensions and skins feathers. Like Firefox, it is built from Mozilla, cross-platform and open source. Songbird includes the following features: Plays MP3/AAC/OGG/FLAC/WMA and more, Multi-Language Support, Integrated Web Search, Smart Mixes, Play In Place (Songbird plays MP3s without leaving the page) and Add-ons (plugins).
Tutorials: How to use Songbird to manage your iPod
An Introduction to Songbird

Screenshots:

songbird
default iPod support
songbird
Songbird iPod view

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Winamp
Homepage: http://www.winamp.com
About: Winamp includes the following features: frankly there are too many to list, so visit their features page. It does pretty much anything you can think of. But I don’t think Winamp supports cover-art – unless there’s a plugin for it, which there probably is. Winamp has been my default media player in Windows since 1997 (it finally replaced Winplay3). As a completely unrelated but ‘fun’ side note, the very first version of ICY for Linux (now known as SHOUTcast, the streaming audio software) was compiled on my computer because Justin didn’t have a Linux machine at the time.
Tutorial: How to use Winamp to manage your iPod

Screenshots:

winamp
portable MP3 players in Winamp
winamp
iPod view
   
winamp
send files to iPod in Winamp
 

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YamiPod
Homepage: http://www.yamipod.com/main/modules/home/
About: YamiPod is a freeware application to efficiently manage your iPod under Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. It can be run directly from your iPod and needs no installation. YamiPod includes the following features: works with iTunes 7.3 (if you use the beta version of YamiPod), it’s stand alone program – no installation is required, your iPod is automatically recognized, mp3 and AAC files can be copied to/from iPod, playlist support, auto-download new versions, built in music player, News RSS and podcasts to iPod upload, multiple iPods support
and Last.fm support.
Tutorial: How to use YamiPod to update your iPod in OS X or Windows

Screenshots:

yamipod
main YamiPod window
yamipod
YamiPod with more tracks

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No matter which alternative to iTunes you use (if you use Windows), try out RegistryBooster 2009. Not only will your music software run faster, your whole system will speed up.