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How to sync your iPad with Linux

by Sukrit Dhandhania

Apple makes some great hardware, but their closed eco system is far from Linux-friendly. Thankfully it can be done – here’s how you can use your iPad, iPhone and iPod with your Ubuntu Linux computer…

Sync your contacts via Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One is a cloud-hosted storage and streaming platform from Canonical. It is available as a limited free version as well as a paid service with more space and features. You can use it to synchronise your iPhone or iPad contacts and other information with your Ubuntu computer.

16. Working with Ubuntu One
Head over to https://one.ubuntu.com and create an account for yourself. Then you will be instructed to add a repository to your installer setup. After this you can install the Ubuntu One client with the command ‘# sudo apt-get install ubuntuone-client’. Once the installation is complete, you should find the Ubuntu One application installed under Applications> Internet>Ubuntu One. Follow the steps shown in the application in order to add your computer to your account.

17. Set up your device
Head over to https://one.ubuntu.com/mobile/ and set up your device with your account. Note that the mobile version of this service comes at a price, which is mentioned on the website. You will require a username and password for this account. Take note of this information as you will need it later.

18. Install Ubuntu One Contact
On your Apple mobile device, search for and install the Ubuntu One Contact app from the App Store. Launch it and enter your username and password along with the server address as ‘http://syncmbl.one.ubnutu.com’. Once you have done all this, like magic, your contacts will be synced with your account. Go to the Contacts tab in the Ubuntu One Dashboard to view them. You can set the details of how you want the sync to your account on the app on your mobile device.

19. Integration with Nautilus

If you are an Ubuntu 10.04 or 10.1 user, one thing you might notice is how well your Apple device integrates with the Nautilus file manager. You can not only browse through the contents of your device, but Nautilus also gives you a link to view and manage your photos and music with the applications available for these tasks.

20. Unmount
When you are done with using your iPad, iPod or iPhone with Linux, make sure you unmount the device before you unplug it from the computer. Right-click on the Desktop icon and select the Unmount option. When the icon disappears, it’s safe to unplug the device.

How to sync your iPad with Linux
Right-click to unmount your device before unplugging it

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    • Pingback: How to sync your iPad with Linux | Linux User « Invisible Links Blog

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    • dakira

      This article is strange. First you explain how to install libimobiledevice for Ubuntu 9.10 even though this Ubuntu version is outdated. There is a long-term-support release (10.04) AND a new regular release which is called 10.10 btw, and not 10.1! Both of which support what you write about out-of-the-box.

      What would be nice to know, is how to sync stuff, install apps, usb-tether or backup/restore the device. These are the things you gain by installing the new version of libimobiledevice.

      Also: You don’t have to “unmount” iPhone/iPod touch/iPad as long as they don’t say “synchronizing” on their screen. The OS on the devices takes care of it automatically. In fact “umounting” the newer iDevices doesn’t do anything but removing the icon from the desktop.

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    • steve

      Hi there,

      My ipod nano is seen as is the music on it, however i cannot drag an drop music to it, i get an error message saying “read only file system”. I am using 10.04.

    • steve

      Ok looks to be working now, not quite sure why though, but hey.
      Also while it does not “sync”, you can remove tracks as well as add in Rythmbox.
      I have just cleared my daughters Ipod nano of 200ish songs and added on 1092.
      Happy days.

    • geeko

      Using openSUSE 11.3 fully up-to-date I spent 5 hours or so with a clean fresh iPod classic and could not get past HFS+ being both read only.

      I could see (read) the iPod but do nothing else

      I understand that if I use MS Windows to initialize the iPod the filesystem would have been changed to VFAT32

      I’d really like to know if the author has actually done all that he claims, or, having used an MS Windows initialized iPod, has assumed that everything else would be as easy?

      This article is more convincing http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Hfsplus

      however there is also this

      http://forums.opensuse.org/english/get-help-here/applications/449185-read-write-hfs-how-can-i-do.html

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    • K. F.

      I attempted to add music to my iPad using Rhythmbox. I had previously synced the iPad with iTunes on my Windows machine. Rhythmbox removed all album artwork from all songs and movies before crashing, without actually adding a single file. I then restored the artwork using iTunes, then tried GTKPod, with the same result.

      Any suggestions for how to actually add songs to the device without completely obliterating my album artwork?

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    • Smartie77

      better solution : sell iPad/iPod/iPhone, buy Android tablet / phone , plug Android device into Linux, enable USB mount as offered by Android wizard.

      enjoy read/writeable contents from and to your device. Android does not care if your epubs/mp3s/movs are pirated or drm’ed. Therfore it does not need “iTunes” as the gatekeeper.

      If you prepare your Android’s SD-card with a simple textfile in its root labeled

      .is_Music_Player

      and insert in the file this simple

      [Music folder]
      “Music”

      you can happily sync from and to with Amarok,Rhythmbox,banshee etc .

      Try this with any Apple device.. ios5.x wont even let you add music, only import via a one-way-road but not vice versa ..

      Useless toys these fruit devices. ( at least ubuntu one has an app on the appstore, but even that is severly limited on what it can “sync” ).

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    • Mohammad Hajarat

      I am not sure that this whole thing works too. I tried it on Linux Mint, and Kubuntu, doesn’t work at all. made me wonder, did the guy who wrote the article actually got things working!!!! so read the comments to see if someone got it working!!!!! in my case. Not Rhythmbox, not Amarok, not even gtkpod worked!!!!! Rhythmbox, says Transferring files, then nothing gets actually transferred, gtkpod, starts then crashes. I wil give it a try on Fedora, but things not looking good.

    • Mohammad Hajarat

      I am not sure that this whole thing works. I tried it on Linux Mint, and Kubuntu, doesn’t work at all. made me wonder, did the guy who write the article actually got things working!!!! so read the comments to see if someone got it working!!!!! in my case, not Rhythmbox, not Amarok, not even gtkpod worked!!!!! Rhythmbox, says Transferring files, then nothing gets actually transferred, gtkpod, starts then crashes. I will give it a try on Fedora, but things not looking good. another example of spending hours on Linux for NOTHING. I really want to transfer to Linux, but things are always daunting, you read a tutorial on how to do something, you spend hour after hour following instructions literally, to end up with NOTHING.