10 Alternatives to iTunes for managing your iPod

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.

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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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174 thoughts on “10 Alternatives to iTunes for managing your iPod”

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  13. Noah –

    Actually I really did want to include Rockbox but the only iPod I have access to is an iShuffle, which isn’t supported by RB. With any luck when my roommate comes back from his vacation he’ll let me install Rockbox on his and I’ll do some kind of tutorial/overview on it.

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  19. Umm, how the hell did ml_ipod not make this list? Winamp’s iPod support is the product of ml_ipod’s programmer being bought out by Nullsoft.

    Currently ml_ipod has better support, more features (including video and cover art), better browsing, native transcoding, and a host of other nicer things than Winamp’s stock iPod plugin.

    And it’s open source.

    http://mlipod.sourceforge.net/

  20. I support Noah I installed Rockbox on my Nano over a year ago and have never looked back. Real MP3 players support drag and drop of files.

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  22. hello …
    yeah … some times its really messy to use iTunes to manage one’s iPod …
    was wondering if they had any alternatives for macOS X …
    now that you’ve listed a few … will check them out …
    great article … thanks for sharing …

  23. Big thumbs up for Sharepod. It’s ideal for people who just want to manually move tracks from PC to iPod and back again. It makes an iPod as easy to copy files as a plain old USB PMP or a PFS PMP. And zero install with Sharepod on the iPod Disk area is the icing on the cake. The one catch is when your iPod ends up in Sync mode after being removed without being ejected. You need iTunes to clear the flag.

    Maybe I’m weird (probably) but I don’t want sync. I just want to drag and drop individual directories and files. The classic problem is Y Gb of music on your PC and only X Gb available on your iPod. It’s horribly laborious to define 300 sync folders out of your 500 on the PC in almost every ipod management software. And especially in iTunes.

    Big thumbs up also for Winamp. Such a shame there isn’t an exact clone of Winamp 5 Pro on Linux. Or alternatively that Winamp 5 Pro ran under WINE. Amarok is neat but it’s persistently buggy. And after 10 years of Winamp some of the features seem odd and counter intuitive.

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  33. I have tried many of these softwares including anapod (not mensioned here) but many of them as some short comings especialy on video support.
    Now I am using floola everyday with my ipod. and it is very stable and easier to use than itunes. They are updating frequently to support new itunes versions and adding new features.
    For example on 1.5 version now they have added builtin transconverting different file types for i pod. Now you can add youtube videos to your ipod with one click :)

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  42. Floola is terrible. Been trying it for a couple of months now and it’s just plain broken. Good for getting out your MP3’s out of the iPod, but for everything else you’re better off with iTunes.

  43. iTunes is the only ipod interface that allows me to adjust the start and stop times for songs. Or is there another ?
    This is the only function I need itunes for otherwise I would love to use another.

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  47. I used Floola to load music at work for a while. It has more bugs than a flophouse apartment. Incredibly unstable; constantly displaying error messages (some of which made no sense); most irritating, however, is the fact that the order of the tracks displayed by the program is NOT the order of the tracks on the iPod. Every time I updated my iPod and reordered the tracks, they would inevitably be in a random order with no resemblance to the one I’d chosen. Terrible software.

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  58. Well, I’m really into finding alternative ways of adding music into an Ipod…

    But I am really concerned about something:

    At first, I have tried the Floola. I could add songs and I really liked the program. It seems very useful and complete. Nevertheless, while using some options, Ive noticed that MOST OF MY ARTWORK WERE SITCHED. I was hearing U2 and seeing Madonna’s artwork. I was really freak out. Imediatly then, Ive tried Yamipod, which worked fine, and I didnt notice any artwork damage to my Ipod. A few days later… my Ipod started to work unproperly. My playlists were not working fine, and I coulnd simply select a song and play it. It was working, but seemingly with remarkable malfunctioning.

    Then I wanna know if something like that has ever happenned to any of you. I’m not near the main Itunes from which I sync my music and thus I need to use some of these alternative programs..

    Glad for your help.
    remobra_amigo(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  72. I recently bought a 160 GB capacity ipod. The reason was that the price per GB of storage was pretty cheap. I also have an enormous amount of music – well over the 160 GB of the ipod. My computer is a macbook pro with a hard drive capacity of 150GB – slightly less than the ipod, so I have to use the ipod in manual disk management mode. In this mode, you cannot add folders to the ipod in itunes, something which I have to do because of the vast amount of music which I have and the necessity to organise the music effectively. You can only add folders to the ipod by first introducing them into the main itunes library and then synchronising the ipod. Unfortunately, syncing the ipod causes you to lose everything on the ipod to be replaced with the (much smaller) library on the computer.

    I have found that you can use the ipod as a storage for files without losing them, even though I am synchronising the ipod with the computer, and you are warned before syncing that you will lose all music from your ipod. First, I dowloaded my music in manageable tranches from the ipod to the computer using Senuti. I then transferred these files directly from the main itunes library to the ipod (in disk management mode), and then deleted the files from the library, hence leaving plenty of space on the hard disk.

    Having transferred all my music from itunes to the hard disk of the ipod, I was able to create all the folder I needed (including some spares) in itunes, and transfer these folders (and sub-folders) to the ipod by syncing. Then, switching back to manual disk management mode, I transferred all my music directly from the ipod disk storage to the ipod music playing side.

    This use of Senuti for downloading the files, and use of the ipod to store the files has provided a very effective management technique for the high capacity ipod, and hopefully will be of use to others.

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  76. I have to agree with most of the floola comments… it’s really buggy software. forcing a user to update to the latest version every time you run it (otherwise it quits) is not convenient… adding songs is a crap shoot, occasionally not showing up on your ipod. i’ve moved to yamipod and so far i’ve got no complaints!

  77. hey? which software/program is the easiest to load mp3 songs & pics in an i-phone or i-pod? can anyone help? i found so many options/solutions in this site, but donno which one to adopt. FYI, i have an i-phone, and it’s been cracked, so i’m afraid to use i-tunes. someone told me not to use i-tunes to avoid online hassles from Apple….plz help me someone….thanx.

  78. Floola is the best. I don’t know about you guys, but IT NEVER asks me to update ANYTHING. Not showing up on your ipod? That’s because those individual mp3 files are corrupt.

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  81. Many thanks for these alternatives! I bought a new iPod Classic (120 GB) yesterday and then couldn’t get iTunes to work!?! Many other programmes couldn’t even detect the iPod when it was connected to the computer. Then I used Google and came to this webpage. I tried Floola to no avail then I tried MediaMonkey and POW! It works perfectly. So happy now. Thank you very much indeed. :-)

  82. I used SharePod when I had a non, floola was too temperamental for me.

    I prefer the iriver clix 2, use it straight out the box, no third party apps needed and looks a hell of a lot cooler too!

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  84. It’s worth adding that if your iPod refuses to go into Disk Mode and you hear a noticeable clicking sound, it’s likely a faulty hard drive. If the unit is a Fourth Gen, however, the problem might just be corrosion on the HDD cable and will need cleaned periodically. Good luck & I hope this helps.

    ipod help

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  86. Good Morning Sir,
    I want know about manage i Tunes software.How to add new songs add in my ipod and iphone through this software.Please send me all functions information about this software.

    Regards
    Jasvinder kumar

  87. i just want to ask from where i can download itune for ipod for free
    i will appreciate if someone answers me .

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  89. Hiya,
    I have just got an ipod and HATE itunes.
    I am wondering what programme you recomend to manage my ipod. I have 4000 songs on my ipod and i have deleted them off my pc as they where taking up too much room, so obv i need a prog that wont delete them off my ipod, but something easy to get mainly music and videos on it. any ideas whats best before i crack up :p

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  95. this article is just GREAT. I started using Winamp and comparing to itunes, it is sooo easy and efficient to use. i have been trying to transfer some music to my ipod with itunes for the last 4 hours, till i come up with this article.

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  97. I have been having trouble with iTunes not putting all of my songs onto my iPod from my computer. So I got online to search for an alternative solution to my problem. I found your website, followed the instructions to use Winamp, and it worked great. Thank you for taking the time to set up this site and do your homework so to speak.

    Janet

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  105. Just tried Sharepod, excellent!
    Thanks so much.
    Copied 14GB, around 3000 songs from my ipod to my laptop in about 30 mins!
    I feel so much safer.

  106. MEDIAMONKEY !!!

    The only choice for Win. Works great! Simple interface no Itunes needed.
    Generate Key with Mazuki Kgenerat0r.
    ;)

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  109. winamp is brilliant and i think its better than itunes. Especially if you download from toplist.fm (free no surveys etc)

  110. I would simply like to see the iPod as a drive so I can simply copy my MP3s to/from it as with any other MP3-player. Nothing simpler than that. No software necessary at all.

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  114. I’m just starting getting into ‘blogging’, and i must say i really like what you did with your
    site. Good job! I came upon this originally because i wanted an alternative to iTunes.

  115. good
    I have been having trouble with iTunes not putting all of my songs onto my iPod from my computer. So I got online to search for an alternative solution to my problem. I found your website, followed the instructions to use Winamp, and it worked great. Thank you for taking the time to set up this site and do your homework so to speak.

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  117. would any of these alternatives that you listed work with an ipod shuffle 4th generation (2GB)? all i want to do is put music on it in the most simplest way with out iTunes..any suggestions?

  118. Just a heads up, songbird dropped support for the Ipod. You have to use an older version of songbird to get the plugin to be compatible. They dropped it at version 1.3. The current is 1.9.3 and there is still no plugin for the ipod. Just a heads up. Sort of makes songbird worthless for so many people

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  120. Does any of these programs allow you to transfer in playlists from iTunes? I lost my gift iPod and won’t pay for one, but I’d hate to have to remake my brilliant and irreplaceable playlists. I’m thinking a Sansa for my new player, but I really want one that’s easy to connect and use.

  121. Former Songbird user

    Guess the list should be fixed.: the Songbird folks dropped Linux supportt :-( Pretty stupid decission I guess but I don’t know their reasons. Strikes me odd as I thought it was a XUL based application and more or less platform indepentend.

    Might consider Clementine Player now.
    http://code.google.com/p/clementine-player/

  122. I’d wish to own a music player not tired to iTunes or Amazon but syncs with any. Currently I use Panamp iPhone app. It has basic iOS music player features, and it is outstanding by it’s ability to make dynamic queues: quick mix of selected tracks
    and power search that quickly and efficiently find the artict, album and tracks. Most compatible with iTunes collection. And developers are planning to integrate iCloud in the fall (import tracks over both Wi-Fi and 3G)

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  124. Just to have a simple site that allowed me to drag and drop songs, videos etc and back to my PC would be great, I’m sick of logging onto to i tunes only to find half of my songs with exclamation marks by them even though they were obtained legally!!?? I’m always worried about syncing my i pod in case I lose half of my songs!!

  125. Just wanted to say that Floola is awesome, since you couldn’t test it yourself. It’s incredibly simple, and has an awesome plug and play, drag and drop feature. Haven’t had any video or audio conversion issues yet, and my ipod is running great.

  126. Good job! I came upon this originally because i wanted an alternative to iTunes.

    I have been having trouble with iTunes not putting all of my songs onto my iPod from my computer. So I got online to search for an alternative solution to my problem. I found your website, followed the instructions to use Winamp, and it worked great.

    Thank you for taking the time to set up this site and do your homework so to speak

    1. I know another alternative called WALTR for Mac/PC
      This is an amazingly simple app that transferes any music/video files to iOS devices very quickly . All you have to do is to drag and drop
      Look it up

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    1. WinAMP was purchased by a company named “Radionomy” (from AOL) and in *theory* they’re “working on it” – but that’s been the status for over a year now. iTunes does have 64bit support, if that makes any difference.

      In terms of wanting a music player for your PC (that supports scrobbling to last.fm) – http://www.last.fm/group/Does+It+Scrobble has a bit list of the Apps that support last.fm. Of the Apps in that list, I would recommend VLC (it’s plain and boring but WORKS), Foobar2000, and though I’ve never used it, I’ve heard decent things about MediaMonkey. Hope this helps :)

      1. Thanks a lot! You know I also bought Media Monkey last year because I had iPod issues, but once that was resolved I never got to use it properly. I’ll give it a try. Hopefully it won’t go away like Winamp or MusicMatch..I sure can pick them. Lol

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