How to sync iPad: Synchronization is the operation by which Apple family devices communicate with the computer (Windows PC or Mac) and exchange data with it. Through this procedure, devices such as iPad , iPhone and iPod can synchronize their multimedia libraries with the computer and transfer the files in the iTunes library on Windows or in the Music application on Mac (in the most recent versions of macOS iTunes not is more present).
With today’s guide, I want to focus on this mechanism and show you in detail how to sync iPad with any computer equipped with the Windows operating system or with macOS. Furthermore, we will see how to use cloud services to store iPad data securely and synchronize it with other devices, such as Android terminals.
In short, if you have recently purchased your first iPad and you want a hand to manage your data in the best possible way, you have come to the right place at the right time! Take a few minutes of free time, concentrate on reading the instructions below and try to put them into practice. I assure you that it will all turn out to be much simpler than you imagine. That said, all I have to do is wish you a good read and a big good luck for everything!
How to sync iPad with iTunes
As already mentioned at the beginning of the post, to synchronize iPad and computer you need iTunes : the historical Apple multimedia software that allows you to manage music, videos, podcasts and other multimedia contents and which, on Windows, also integrates the drivers necessary for the operating system correctly recognize iPad, iPhone and iPod. It can be used to sync music, movies, photos and other content with Apple devices.
iTunes is available as a free download for all popular versions of Windows , while it is included “standard” on Macs equipped with macOS 10.14 Mojave or earlier: starting with macOS 10.15 Catalina , however, has been divided into the Music , Podcast and TV , while the functions related to data synchronization with iOS / iPadOS devices have been delegated to the Finder (the Mac file manager). However, I’ll talk to you more about this shortly .
If you have Windows 10 , you can install iTunes directly from the Microsoft Store, by clicking on this link , then on the item to open the Microsoft Store and, finally, on the Install button . You may be asked to sign in with your Microsoft account.
On previous versions of Windows, however, you can download iTunes via the classic installation package in exe format, which you can find on the Apple website . When the download is complete, start the .exe file obtained and complete the setup, by first clicking on the Next button and then on Install , Yes twice in a row and Finish . For more details, check out my guide on how to download iTunes.
If you have a Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier, as already mentioned, you do not need to install iTunes, as it is already included “as standard” in the operating system (as well as the drivers to communicate with iPad, iPhone and iPod).
At this point, regardless of the operating system installed on your computer, all you have to do is connect the iPad to the PC using the supplied Lightning / USB-C cable, start iTunes (if it doesn’t start by itself) and accept its terms and conditions. use (if this is the first time you start it).
Then, if this is the first time you connect the iPad to the computer, click on the Continue button displayed on the Windows / macOS desktop, then on the Authorize button on the iPad and enter the unlock code on the tablet, in order to authorize communication with the PC.
Perfect: you are now ready to sync all the content of your interest to iPad. Clearly, for the procedure to be successful, the music, videos and other content you want to copy to the tablet must have been previously added to the iTunes library (or the Music application , on the most recent versions of macOS): if you do not know how to proceed in this sense, go to the File menu> Add file to library (or Add folder to library ) of the program and select the contents to copy to the library. More info here.
Having made the necessary clarification above, we can go to the point and see, in practice, how to synchronize iPad with iTunes : first of all, click on the tablet icon at the top left of the main iTunes window and select an item from Music , Movies , TV Shows and Photos from the Program Settings section (in the left sidebar).
Now, if your goal is to copy the iTunes music library to the iPad, select the Music item , then put the check mark next to the Sync music item and choose whether to synchronize the entire music library or just Playlists, artists, albums and genres selected (then proceeding to choose the contents to be synchronized from the appropriate boxes that appear below). Then click on the Apply button located at the bottom right and wait for the synchronization to be completed.
It should be noted that synchronizing music on iPad is only possible if the iCloud Music Library is not active on the device : a complementary service of Apple Music that allows you to upload to the cloud and synchronize your own devices on all devices associated with your Apple ID. favorite music tracks.
As for the videos, the procedure to follow is almost identical: select the Movies item from the iTunes Settings section (in the left sidebar), check the Synchronize movies box , select the movies to copy to iPad and click the Apply button , at the bottom right, to start the data transfer.
If you want to automatically synchronize with the iPad all the videos that meet certain criteria (e.g. the most recent or the oldest), instead check the Automatically include episodes box and select the option of your interest from the adjacent drop-down menu.
Practically the same guidelines apply to TV Programs , so go ahead and proceed as described above.
As for Photos , you can synchronize the iPad Photos application with that of macOS or with a folder of your choice on Windows. To do so, select the Photo item from the iTunes Settings section (in the left sidebar), check the Synchronize photos box , select the Choose folder item from the Copy photos from drop-down menu , indicate the folder that contains the photos you you want to copy to iPad and click the Apply button , in order to start the data transfer.
If the folder you have selected includes sub-folders, you can choose which ones to synchronize with iPad, by placing the check mark next to the item Selected folders in iTunes and acting from the appropriate menu.
Please note, however, that photo synchronization is only possible if the iCloud Photo Library service is not active on the iPad , which allows you to store photos and videos online and synchronize them on all devices associated with your Apple ID. More info here.
How do you say? Would you like to have the ability to sync iPad and iTunes wirelessly ? No problem: you can do this too.
Select the Summary item from the iTunes sidebar, check the Synchronize with iPad via Wi-Fi option , click the Apply button (bottom right) and that’s it: if iPad and PC are connected to the same Wi-Fi network , you can synchronize them without physically connecting them via cable. Happy?
Data synchronization, by definition, means that all changes made on one device (in this case the iPad and the PC running iTunes) are automatically carried over to the other.
If you want to prevent this from happening and you simply want to copy data from PC to iPad , without activating a synchronization between the two devices, proceed as follows: select the Summary item from the iTunes sidebar, check the option Manually manage music and video (or Manually manage videos , if the iCloud Music Library is active on the tablet and therefore you cannot “manually” copy the music tracks to it) and click on the Apply button , at the bottom right.
Subsequently, select an item among Music , Movies , TV Shows , Books and Audiobooks from the On device section of iTunes (in the left sidebar), to have the possibility to copy your favorite contents to the tablet, simply by dragging them into the appropriate field of the iTunes window. These contents will then be automatically reported in the respective iPadOS apps (eg Music for music and Video / TV for movies).
Likewise, you can copy files to apps that support iTunes File Sharing if you wish . In fact, by selecting the File Sharing item from the iTunes sidebar and choosing the name of an app from the proposed list, you can in fact copy files into it by simply dragging them with the mouse to the adjacent field.
How to sync iPad with Catalina
If you use macOS 10.15 Catalina or a later version of the Apple operating system – as also pointed out in the guide -, you can sync iPad directly from the Finder , drawing on the libraries of the programs that have taken the place of iTunes: Music , TV and Podcasts . In addition there is Books , which allows you to synchronize ebooks and PDFs with the iPadOS Books app (but I told you about this in another guide).
The interface of the Finder, as regards the synchronization of data with iOS / iPadOS devices, is almost identical to that of iTunes: only the position of the menu changes, which is located at the top instead of on the left.
To synchronize data between your Mac and iPad, then connect the tablet to the computer via a Lightning / USB-C cable , authorize communication between the two devices (if necessary), open the Finder (the smiling face on the Dock bar ), select the name of your iPad from the left sidebar and then proceed as already seen for iTunes in the previous chapter of the tutorial . Easier than that?
How to sync iPad with iCloud
If you have an iPad and don’t take advantage of iCloud , you’re missing out on a lot of what Apple’s tablet can offer.
iCloud, in fact, is the Apple platform that allows you to save online all the data and files of your interest and to synchronize them on all devices associated with the same account. It can be used to sync contacts, calendar tasks, notes, internet browsing history, app documents, passwords, form information, photos, videos, music and much more.
iCloud is free up to 5 GB, after which, to take advantage of more online storage space, you need to subscribe to a paid plan, starting at 0.99 euros / month for 50GB.
To sync iPad with iCloud , you simply need to associate the device with an Apple ID and activate the cloud saving of the data and apps of your interest. By repeating the same operation on the iPhone, other iPad, Mac or Windows PC (in this case, through a special client to be downloaded separately ), you will find all your data synchronized on the device in use.
To associate your iPad with an Apple ID, if you have not already done so, go to the Settings app (the gear icon on the home screen) and press on the item that allows you to log in to the iPad . Then, enter your Apple ID details or, if you don’t have one yet, create it at the moment by filling out the form that is proposed to you. For more information on this, you can check out my tutorial on how to create an Apple ID.
Now all you have to do is go back to the Settings app , select your name from the left sidebar, then the iCloud item and activate the levers relating to the data and apps you want to synchronize with iCloud: Photos , Mail , Contacts , Calendars , Reminders etc.
In the specific case of photos, I would like to point out that photo streaming is enabled by default , which does not erode the storage space on iCloud Drive (5GB free) but only keeps photos from the last 30 days. To have permanent storage of photos (and videos), you need to activate iCloud Photos from the Settings menu > [your name]> iCloud Photos , knowing that this function, however, erodes the storage space on iCloud Drive and therefore almost always needs of the subscription to a paid subscription. To expand your iCloud space, go to the Settings menu> [your name]> iCloud> Manage space . More info here.
As for music, on the other hand, you can take advantage of the iCloud Music Library service associated with the Apple Music streaming platform, which allows you to upload your favorite songs to a private cloud (even those not in the Apple Music catalog) and to having them synchronized on all your devices (via the Music application or iTunes ). To activate the iCloud Music Library, go to the Settings> Music menu of iPadOS and activate the Sync Library toggle . To activate Apple Music, instead, activate the Show Apple Music lever (free for the first 3 months, then at 9.99 euros / month).
For more information and more information on how to use iCloud, do not hesitate to read the tutorial I have dedicated to the topic.
How to sync iPad with iPhone
After you bought your first iPad , did you feel so good that you bought an iPhone as well and are now looking for a way to sync iPad and iPhone ? Nothing could be easier: go to the settings of the “iPhone by”, log in to the same Apple ID that you set on the iPad and activate the synchronization functions for all the data and apps that interest you.
The steps to take are exactly the same as I indicated in the previous chapter dedicated to iPad : activate data synchronization with iCloud on both devices and, “magically”, your information – as well as your files – will be copied in time real from iPad and iPhone, and vice versa.
How to sync iPad with Android
Do you have an Android smartphone or tablet and would like to synchronize data between it and your iPad? In this case, the simplest solution that I would recommend is to use Google cloud services , through which you can synchronize contacts, emails, calendars, photos, videos and other data in real time between iPad and Android. Here are the “big G” apps and services that I recommend you use.
- Email, contacts and calendars – associate your Android device to a Google account and activate the synchronization of emails, contacts and calendars, as explained in this guide of mine. Next, on the iPad, install the Gmail app to manage your Google account email (you could also use the default Mail app, but it wouldn’t give you real-time notifications) and set up your Google account in the Settings menu > Password and account> Add account (on iOS 14 and later you need to go to Settings> Mail or Settings> Contacts ), taking care to activate the levers relating to the synchronization of Contacts andCalendars . Finally, go to the Settings> Contacts and Settings> Calendar menu and set the Gmail account as the default on your iPad. This way, emails, contacts and calendars on iPad will use Gmail sync by default. For more information, you can read my tutorials on how to set up Gmail on iPhone, how to sync iPhone contacts with Gmail and how to sync Google Calendar with iPhone, which also apply perfectly to iPad.
- Photos and videos – for photos and videos, I suggest you use the Google Photos app on both Android and iPad which, using the same service offered by “big G”, allows you to have a permanent backup of photos and videos online and to synchronize them on all your devices. It’s free if you accept a reduction in the resolution of photos to 16MP and videos to 1080p. More info here.
- Files – for work documents and your personal files, you can rely on the Google Drive service which, available as an app for both Android and iPad , allows you to archive and synchronize any type of file on a sort of “online hard disk” with a free capacity of 15 GB (expandable for a fee). More info here.
How to sync iPad with Smart TV
Would you like to sync iPad and Smart TV to project your device screen or your favorite video / audio content to your TV?
No problem: if you have a Smart TV with native support for AirPlay 2 technology or have purchased an Apple TV , you can project the tablet screen to the TV simply by calling the iPadOS control center (with a swipe from the top right corner screen down), pressing the Mirror screen button and selecting the name of your TV or Apple TV from the menu that opens.
To transmit individual contents, instead, you just have to start playback, press on the AirPlay icon (the screen with the triangle below) and select the name of your TV or Apple TV from the menu that opens. All this, of course, when iPad and TV / Apple TV are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
Apple TV 4K (32GB)
Alternatively, you can send video and audio to your TV by purchasing a third-party HDMI dongle, such as Google’s Chromecast, or by taking advantage of any wireless transmission technology included with your TV.
Finally, if you prefer the classic cables, you can connect the iPad to the TV using an adapter provided by Apple (Lightning or USB-C, depending on the model of tablet you have).
Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter
Apple USB-C to Digital AV Multiport Adapter
For all the details of the case, I invite you to consult my tutorial on how to connect iPad to TV, where you can find all the information you may need.