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9 posts

Wannabe Geek

# 136798 9-Dec-2013 13:00
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Hello, here is a real newbie question for you guys. I have only just got into the world of Apple and iPhones (yeah, I have been living in a cave for the last 10 years).

Is it compulsory to "sync" your iphone with a computer ? i.e via iTunes or another third party synching app
Can I not just plug the iPhone in and drag files into particular folders when the iPhone disk icon appears in "My Computer" ?
If not, then why has Apple prevented this from being done ? Why are they so big on this 'synching' thing?
Can you put any file into iTunes and copy it to your iPhone or does it have to be digitally signed or 'authorised' to prevent pirated material being copied over ?

Thanks for a primer on this subject.

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Uber Geek

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  # 947999 9-Dec-2013 13:12
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If you want to copy music it has to be done through iTunes, or by linking the device to an iCloud and iTunes Match account if you have one. The only other option is to use a 3rd party service on the device like Spotify, or buy content on the iTunes Store on the device.

Apple is a walled garden, meaning no content (apps) can be installed on the device that isn't checked and signed by Apple and released on their store. The only way around this is by jailbreaking, but this is only possible on a select group of devices and software versions.

If you use Windows, the iPhone will appear as a removable drive in order to manually copy photos on/off the device, or you can sync through iTunes. That's all you can do from there.

If you want to copy documents or other files to the device, you have to have a compatible app on the device to open them, and then in iTunes when the device is connected you need to add the files you want via the Application screen for each file/app type.

There are some 3rd part apps that get around some restrictions, like iPhone Explorer and PhoneView, but I won't go into them here and in my experience they are better for retrieving content from the device rather than copying content to the device.

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Uber Geek


  # 948001 9-Dec-2013 13:13
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Syncing iPhone with PC/Mac - yes, you have to do this. You used to have to plug them in, but now it can be done over WiFi.
Drag and Drop: No, and I don't know why. You just can't. I think it has something to do witht he fact that music on the iTunes store is DRM free, and part of the tradeoff was that to put stuff onto your iDevice, it had to go through iTunes. It works well enough, and is easy.
You can put pretty much anything onto your iphone, but it has to go through iTunes to get there. If it is a video, it has to be in a format the iPhone will understand (MP4). Music, so long as you import it into iTunes first, no problem (you can import most anything - CDs, MP3s off the internet etc.). If you want to put photos on, best to setup an iPhone photos folder on your computer and tell iTunes to only sync that folder to your iPhone.


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Uber Geek


  # 948019 9-Dec-2013 13:25
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I seem to be pushing this a lot lately but I don't work for them honestly! :)

Bittorrent Sync will allow you to sync any folder/s from your computer to the iPhone without needing to connect it by cable.
You need the software installed on your computer and the app installed on the iPhone.
Then as long as you have the appropriate app on your iPhone to open whatever files you are sync'ing then you're good to go.
Really easy to setup a folder sync, you choose the folder in the software on your computer and it gives you a QR code to scan with the iPhone using the Bittorrent Sync app.

On the iPhone you can also setup Bittorrent Sync to automatically backup any photos you take on the iPhone to a selected folder on your computer.

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Master Geek

  # 959083 30-Dec-2013 15:15
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Dropbox app? Will synch files across all devices. Not sure if it stores a local copy on phone though, worth checking.

My EPL football websites: Get the results but hide the score of your team at Compare league positions with wage bills at

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  # 959204 30-Dec-2013 18:05
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If you are on a Mac, you can use to have more of a folder view of your iPhone. Works nicely to get things off the iPhone and to get things on it as well.

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