How to use Banshee to manage your iPod in Ubuntu

This tutorial will guide you in installing, setting up and using Banshee to manage your iPod in Ubuntu. Though the steps to install Banshee are specific to Ubuntu (or any Linux distribution that uses the Synaptic Package Manager), the steps to actually use Banshee can be applied to any Linux distribution.

Note: if you aren’t using Ubuntu, visit the Banshee downloads page to obtain Banshee for your version of Linux.

  1. Open the Synaptic Package Manager by selecting System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager. You’ll need to enter your password for Synaptic to launch.
  2. synaptic package manager
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  3. Click the Search button from the top of Synaptic, enter banshee and click Search.
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  5. Click the box next to the banshee entry and select Mark for installation.
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  7. A window will appear asking you to confirm that you wish to install Banshee and the required packages associated with it. Click Mark to continue
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  9. Click the Apply button.
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  11. A Summary window will appear asking you to confirm yet again that you wish to download and install Banshee. Click Apply.
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  13. The download and installation will being.
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  15. When it’s done, click Close.
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  17. Launch Banshee by selecting Applications -> Music & Video and then Banshee Music Player.
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  19. The first time you run Banshee it will ask you to import you music library. Select Local Folder from the drop-down list and then click the Import Music Source button.
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  21. Navigate to the folder you store your music in, select it and click Open.
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  23. Banshee will launch and display your music library. Double-click a file to start playing it. One of the features of Banshee is that related info can be displayed (if you’re online) while a song is playing. Notice the lower panel in Banshee.
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  25. Plug in your iPod if it isn’t already, and it should appear in the left column. High-light files you want to copy to your iPod, and drag them to the iPod entry.
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  27. Select your iPod from the left column and confirm that the tracks you added are listed. Click the Synchronize iPod button.
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  29. Review the info in the Synchronize iPod window and then click Save Manual Changes (unless you actually want to copy your entire music library to your iPod, in which case click Synchronize Library).
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  31. The files will copy over.
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  33. To eject your iPod, close down Banshee and right-click on the iPod icon on your desktop. Select Eject. You can now safely disconnect your iPod from your computer.
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  • Nice tutorial, cheers – just what I was looking for. I was trying to drag and drop playlists into the iPod but it wasn’t working for me – a little bemused I have to select songs by hand…but it works quite nicely

    What I would really like is a music player that creates playlists according to folder names in my music folder so that I don’t have to import music and all that hassle – any ideas? And when I create playlists on banshee importing songs and what have you is that creating copies of all the music files?


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  • comet

    Please help….
    I have a nano 3rd generation that Banshee has made me change it’s software so it can configure with it…
    It changed my iPod’s software and now I can’t sync my songs with banshee… it will just say synchronizing and then stop after a few seconds…leaving my iPod with no songs at all, even though Banshee shows my iPod with all it’s songs with playback possible… my iPod only shows 3.6 gigs of ‘other’ which was really was the amount of songs I had before I configured my iPod with Banshee. please help!!!

    I tried installing iTunes with Wine, and when I run iTunes, a message will appear saying:

    “The software required for communicating with the iPod is not installed correctly. Please reinstall iTunes to install the iPod’s software.”

    Which I already have installed iTunes a couple times with the same result… but I don’t even know if I can even uninstall iTunes because ‘uninstall wine software’ doesn’t show an option for iTunes-but for QuickTime and Apple software update, which only installs these software, not uninstall.

  • schnauzer

    Newer iPods won’t sync with Banshee, as Apple was kind enough to break all non-itunes compatibility. However, the folks at gtkpod have fixed this problem. Try a “sudo apt-get install gtkpod” and see if you can transfer files to the ipod with it.

  • godspeed

    I have an iPod video, and Banshee seems to be able to add new files to it fine, but the iPod icon on the left bar is greyed out and at no point am I given the option to “save manual changes” or “synchronize library”. (I want to do the latter.) I also can’t seem to find a “synchronize iPod” button or menu option anywhere, Any advice?

  • Chris

    Thanks! gtkpod is the only thing that works properly on a nano 3rd gen…

  • Chris

    ..but remember to eject the ipod in gtkpod first and in the file browser after (right click on ipod partition and ‘eject’). Also wait until the ‘OK to disconnect’ on your ipod disappears.

  • Trey

    Rhythmbox in Ubuntu supports iPod nano 3rd gen just fine.

  • luis

    Try a “sudo apt-get install gtkpod” and see if you can transfer files to the ipod with it. <– Im an ametuear , waht does that mean and how do i do it?

  • schnauzer

    open up a terminal: Applications > Accessories > Terminal, and type “sudo apt-get install gtkpod”, without the quotes.

  • luis

    I get a cannot unmount volume error and no music is on the ipod when i remove it from the file manager, can anyone help me with this?

  • i dont have a synchronize ipod button…

    i just cant figure out how to put files on my ipod

  • Oni

    Oigan tengo un ipod classic y seguneste la compu lo lee esmas el sist lo lee pero banshee no lo esta leyendo. que creen que sea ayuda por favor

  • FYI: Your link to the Banshee’s download page is coming up error 404 site not found (as well as the Banshee Wiki main page). Good article though, very helpful.

  • Thanks FlightDreamz – link fixed :)

  • john

    i have ubuntu and am using banshee to manage my music. when banshee is open and i plug my ipod in it shows up on my desktop but won’t show up within banshee. I have a nano, and i think its 1st or 2nd generation. I tried the “sudo…” command and it still isn’t showing up. anyone have any tips? thanks.

  • Ashlyn Smith

    When syncing to an Ipod, can you make it only sync the play lists and not your whole library? reason being is that my whole library won’t fit and I want to make sure my play lists fully transfer over before some random songs that I only listen to on occasion




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  • Hello, I’ve got a 3rd generation iPod Shuffle. While I tried having a sync between iPod and banshee, it rebuilt my iPod database. When I unplugged my iPod, it doesn’t play. Anyone got a solution for this?

  • eonar

    Wie lassen sich die Filmorder ändern,Banshee hat bei meinen ipod video alle Filme unter Musikvideos abgelegt….

  • Anna

    I have an Ipod Touch. I did all the steps but when i plug it in it doesn’t show up that an ipod has been plugged in!?
    Now what do i do?

  • peter

    I am with Anna – the ipod will not appear in the left column so will not sync. It’s a Video Ipod 30GB and Ubuntu/Mint 8. Not a newbie.

  • AN

    i have ubuntu and am using banshee to manage my music. when banshee is open and i plug my ipod in it shows up on my desktop but won’t show up within banshee. I have a nano, and i think its 1st or 2nd generation. I installed gtkpod and it still isn’t showing up. anyone have any tips? thanks.

  • jamesgate

    Same experience as Anna using brand new IPOD 160, Banshee can’t see it.

  • Eric

    I think the people who have iPod Shuffle, iPod Classic, and iPod Nano can check if their players are formatted to Windows format. For an iPod Touch, you need to jailbreak it before you can use it with Linux. That or you might be able to use iTunes through a virtual machine. There’s a document here: for iPod Touch and iPhone

  • Eric

    Also, perhaps when Linux Mint 9 comes out in May there might be better support?

  • i work with ubuntu and am using banshee to manage my music.

  • Ubunto is my favorite linux and i manage my music with banshee ;-)

  • Seth

    Whenever I “Safely Remove” my 5th generation video iPod, it makes this horrifying “CHNK” noise, and acts like it crashed (it displays the apple symbol for like 20 seconds and then goes back to the menu). :( Any suggestions? Is this hurting my iPod?

  • Eric

    @ Seth. Does this happen with other ipod managing software? I’ve been using gtkpod for my ipod touch because nothing else seems to work very well with ipod touch. That’s one of the things I don’t like about Linux. It is so hard to get peripherals working properly, but I guess that can’t be helped.

  • anonymous

    I can’t get my ipod to show up in the left column. It’s a really old nano (ca 2005)… just switched to linux from windows (my dad did this, not me, and I am not at all computer savvy). I can play music from cds in banshee but I can’t get my itunes to cross over.

  • bob burland

    support for 6th gen ipod nano?

  • Jana

    Banshee for Ubunto to manage music is very nice. I love both.

  • Toma

    Thank you very much, it helped me a lot.

  • Max

    i have a generation 5 nano and am syncing to banshee on mint. i successfully sync my ipod on it, however, when i disconnect, all i see on my ipod is a white screen with a checkmark that says ok to disconnect. do i need to format my ipod differently (currently FAT), or willit just not work with this newer generation ipod? thanks

  • Emily

    I have tried to load a couple of new songs on my iPod Shuffle, I bought it in 2009. It starts to load, then I see something that says Synchronising iPod, then Preparing To Sychronise but nothing happens but an Orange dot moves about….It has charged ok and the library already on my iPod hasn’t been wiped…I am new to Ubuntu and right now not that happy.

  • sam

    i have linux mint and i tried gtkpod with my ipod touch and it didnt work. it put the music on my ipod but i couldnt play them and could only see them when i opened file manager and looked for them.

  • se7ensnakes

    I purchase an IPOD Nano and sorry i did. While my other music players just simply drag and drop this Apple product has to be difficult. Right now Banshee keeps its fist close telling me i cannot copy and i cannot copy. Tried many things still I cannot copy. I have a more expensive hifiman re-400 that plays everything from MP3 to WAV files. It works easy. If you do buy a hifiman get the better ear phones.