Almost every Mac user that I know has more than one Mac in their household. My husband and I are no exception. MacPro. iMac. MacBook. Mac mini.
Keeping email, contacts, and calendar events synchronized between multiple Macs is handled rather easily with MobileMe. Keeping our iPhones and iPods in sync with what’s stored on our Macs or PCs is just a click away.
What about synchronizing iTunes music and your photos in iPhoto? It’s easy and not so easy.
Until recently, my preferred method for both backing up and syncing music, movies, TV shows in iTunes (and photos in iPhoto) was to use ChronoSync. It’s a flawed method, but effective for back ups.
Flawed? Yes. Simply copying iTunes files from one Mac to another also meant that one Mac had to act as the “master” Mac, where all purchases and settings and playlists were created, then copied to the other Macs.
That method is quick, works well, provides good back up copies, but doesn’t give you what you want—complete back and forth syncability (I made that up) between Macs.
Enter Syncopation, one of those great Mac utilities that does one thing very, very well. It’s billed as a hands-free way to keep iTunes synchronized across multiple Macs.
This nifty Mac utility will keep your music and TV shows and movies and everything else fully in sync between your MacBook and an iMac, or multiple MacBooks, or whatever.
It even runs in the background silently and seamlessly to keep that growing iTunes library both backed up and running on each Mac. The benefit is that you can buy music on your Mac notebook while on the road, and have it synced automagically when you come back home.
Add music from the iTunes Store on one Mac, and it gets copied and synchronized to the other Macs in your household. It works on music, podcasts, TV shows, movies, whatever.
Syncopation has a set of filters so you can control which media files get replicated, which get synced, but which don’t. My husband likes hard rock. I like jazz. So, Syncopation lets me keep his loud, offensive, degraded music away from my tender, sophisticated ears.
Sounds like a great way to manage your iTunes among multiple Macs, right? But, there are some caveats to worry about. Smart Playlists cannot be copied from one Mac to another but ratings and play counts are.
There’s no Windows version, either, and many Mac households are multi-ethnic these days, with iTunes on both Mac and Windows PCs.
All in all, Syncopation is a handy utility which does both sync and back up between Macs.
What about your photos in iPhoto? Is there a way to synchronize the iPhoto library between Macs? My ChronoSync method noted above does the same with iPhoto as with iTunes. It creates a great back up from one Mac to another.
Otherwise, there isn’t a true back and forth sync method available. Yet. I like iPhoto Library Manager which lets Mac users create and manage multiple iPhoto libraries with ease, but isn’t ready to handle true synchronization.
One modern trend is unmistakable. Synchronizing between devices is important, critical, and, very soon, part of the expectation for computer users with more than one computer, or many computers in the household.
Apple does a great job between iPhone or iPod touch and your Mac or PC. Keeping iTunes, iPhoto, even iMovie files synchronized (which also makes for an effective back up) between Macs is the next great file management frontier.
Do you sync? If so, how? Share your method in the Comments section below.