Before reading this tip make sure you read the tip Syncing your Home folder.
This tip explains how to set up a ChronoSync Synchronizer document for your Music folder or, specifically, your iTunes Music Library.
Before you get started:
Before you run a bi-directional sync for the first time, make sure you back up your data in case something goes wrong. When you run a bi-directional sync, ChronoSync will archive any changed or deleted files. It is a lot easier to restore files from a back up rather than restoring from this bi-directional archive. You can use ChronoSync, Time Machine, or any other back up application to back up your Mac. Don't be one of those stories that you hear about where someone lost all their data because they did not back up. Syncing is not a substitute for backing up.
Verify your OS is the same on both Macs
You need to have the same version of Mac OS X and the same version of iTunes on both Macs in order to perform a Music folder sync. This means you must sync Tiger to Tiger but not Tiger to Leopard. You can sync music files, like .mp3 files, between any OS that your Mac can copy to. For instance, you can synchronize your music files between Tiger and Leopard or even Tiger and Windows XP. If you are unsure if you can synchronize a particular scenario, ask us by filling out our support form describing your situation.
Let's get started:
Your Music folder is where you should store all your music or audio files. OK, that's obvious. But it is also the location of the iTunes Library. The iTunes Library is a folder that stores all the music files in a complex way. ChronoSync can not merge two different iTunes libraries into one but it can keep them in sync once they are the same. You can, however, sync your iTunes Library back and forth between two Macs and keep them the same as long as you remember a couple of rules: always run when you switch Macs and always run your sync from the same Synchronizer document.
When you decide to use ChronoSync for your iTunes Library, there is a structured set of steps that must be followed. After using iTunes on one Mac, be sure to sync it with the other Mac so that your iTunes Library on that Mac will be the same and ready for you to use. This sync must be done before you begin using your other Mac.
If you need to combine or merge two different iTunes Libraries or use iTunes on multiple Macs at the same time, there are other applications that will do this. Some are mentioned below. You can also read Joe Kissell's article on how to Merge two iTunes Libraries. There is also the option to share iTunes. You can share iTunes with other computers on a network by simply turning on Sharing in the iTunes Preferences.
The steps below will tell you how to set up a ChronoSync Synchronizer document to sync your Music folder between two Macs. When you have completed all the steps, ChronoSync will automatically connect two computers and keep the Music folder synchronized between the two computers. Note: A step denoted with a red label is an optional step. We recommend that you perform these optional steps but they are not necessary to complete the sync.
Step 1. Mount the other computer.After installing ChronoSync, you need to now mount the second computer. You can do this by using Airport, Ethernet, FireWire, or the Internet. Once you set up your Synchronizer document, it will automatically mount the other Mac. For more information on connecting to another computer read our tip Connection Methods. If you want to use a go-between, like a portable hard drive, to keep two computers synchronized, then read our tip Sync Using an Intermediary.
Step 2. Copy over your iTunes Library.Before you run your first sync, drag the iTunes Library you do not want into a temporary folder on your Desktop. Next, copy the iTunes Library you want to use to the same location on the other Mac so that both iTunes Libraries are identical. Why do you copy over the iTunes Library? This ensures that both iTunes Libraries are identical on both Macs before the first sync.
If you have different files in both iTunes Libraries and want to merge the two iTunes Libraries into one common iTunes Library then you will need to get specialized software mentioned above in the "iTunes" section. After you merge the two Libraries you can continue on with this tip.
Step 3. Set up the Synchronizer document.Find ChronoSync in your Applications folder and double-click it to start it up. If a new, "Untitled" Synchronizer document does not appear, then choose "File-New-Synchronizer" from ChronoSync's File menu or use the shortcut keys Command-N.
Step 4. Set up your targets.Note: Understanding the concept of targets is important to simplify the synchronization set up. We oftentimes will refer to the targets as the source and destination. The source target is the computer that ChronoSync is installed on while the destination target is the computer you connect to. The ChronoSync Setup panel refers to targets as "left" and "right". Choose either one for the source target and use the other for your destination target. For this tip the left target will be the source, the computer that has ChronoSync installed on it, and the right target, the computer that is mounted, will be the destination.
On the Setup panel, choose your targets. This is done by clicking the respective "Choose..." button for each of the targets. This will drop down a file selection sheet for you to choose the Music folder inside your Home folder. For the left target, choose the Music folder. For the right target, select the other computer's hard drive from the list of mounted drives and navigate to "Users/username" to find the corresponding Music folder. Easier yet, you can simply drag and drop each folder onto the target.
Step 5. Change synchronizing direction.Choose 'Synchronize Bidirectional' from the Operation popup menu. A bi-directional synchronization is performed by selecting the most 'up-to-date' file between the two targets and making sure that file is synchronized to the other target.
Step 6. Enable Synchronize Deletions.In nearly all cases, you will want deleted files from one target to also be deleted from the opposite target. To do this, turn ON the “Synchronize deletions” checkbox. When this option is turned ON, ChronoSync will delete files in the opposite target whenever it detects a deletion, keeping the two targets identical. Please note that no files will be deleted during the first synchronization because ChronoSync does not yet have a past history of any deleted files.
Step 7. Activate Archiving.To be safe, make sure that "Archive replaced files" is checked so that all of the deleted items will be moved to this folder in case a mistake was made and an emergency retrieval is needed. You can adjust your archive settings in the Options panel.
Step 8. Customize the Options Panel.
On the Synchronizer document's Options panel, there are several options that you can choose to customize your sync. Refer to ChronoSync Help for details on the options listed within this panel.
Step 9. Exclude Files or Folders.Sometimes there are certain types of files you do NOT want synchronized. An example would be if you did not want to sync the downloaded files to the other computer. To do this, highlight the particular folder or file in the Analyze view and choose "Exclude" from the Actions menu. An exclusion is denoted by an "X" in the status column and means that the file will not be considered during the synchronization process. When you exclude a file it will be ignored during the sync and when you select a folder, all of its contents will be ignored. For more information read our tip Excluding a File or Folder.
NOTE: The image to the left is only for example. It does not indicate which files or folders should be excluded.
Step 10. Save the Synchronizer document.One of the greatest advantages of ChronoSync is the usage of documents. Just like a word processing document, a ChronoSync document can be saved as a double-clickable document. Once you set up a synchronization, all the information that you specified in the document will be saved - even synchronizer options! Furthermore, this document not only stores all your settings, but it also keeps track of changes between every sync. That is how ChronoSync always knows what has changed since the last synchronization.
You can store your Synchronizer documents anywhere you want inside the Home folder. However make sure you do not the use Synchronizer documents from the destination computer. A good idea is to create a folder called ChronoSync under Documents and store all your ChronoSync documents inside of it. You can then exclude this folder from synchronizations (see step 8).
Step 11. Create a Synchronizer document for your Library folder.here are some Preference files you need to synchronize in your Library folder. The Syncing your Library Folder tip will let you know exactly what files to synchronize.
Step 12. Add it to the Container document.
A Container is a document that contains multiple ChronoSync documents. They allow you to control several ChronoSync documents as if they were one document. Running a synchronization on a container will execute each contained document in order.
We recommend that you do add your Synchronizer document to a Container document. You can choose not to, though. If you are going to add the Synchronizer document to a Container document, go to Step 4 in the tip Syncing your Home folder and complete the steps.
If you are not going to going to add the Synchronizer document to a Container document then proceed with the next step.
Step 13. Run the synchronization.Once you have all the above-mentioned settings in place, perform the synchronization. This can be done by choosing the "Synchronize" icon in the toolbar of the Synchronizer document.
Make sure to always synchronize each time you switch over to the other computer. If you fail to do this, conflicts may arise. A conflict is when the same file has changed on both computers. Since you have to choose between one file or the other, you would lose the changes made to one of the files. If a conflict does arise, then choose the file from the computer you last used.
Since you need to synchronize every time you switch Macs, it is not practical to schedule your Synchronizer document. Instead, you should manually run the sync every time you switch Macs to ensure the two Macs always stay in sync. Doing this will take some getting used to, but it's a habit that should be practiced.
Errors or Problems
If you encounter any errors or have any problems you can contact us by using our support form.
3 Things to Remember
Once you have everything set up, you only have to remember three things.
- Make sure to always synchronize each time you switch over to the other computer.
- Always run every sync from the source Mac using the same Synchronizer document.
- If a conflict should arise, choose the file from the computer you last used.
To switch from Left to Right Mac:
Using left Mac. Run sync from left Mac (The source Mac). Choose "Left Files" for any conflicts. Begin using right Mac.
To switch from Right to Left Mac:
Using right Mac. Run sync from left Mac (The source Mac). Choose "Right Files" for any conflicts. Begin using left Mac.
That's it! The flexibility and ease of using ChronoSync has so many advantages. If you have any problems while using our products, contact us by using our support form. If you wish to share a tip with us, post it on our comment form.