To make adding your music and videos easier, iTunes automatically syncs devices when attached. Any time you connect your iPod, all content is synced without you having to press a single button. But what if you don't want to sync an iPod or iPhone automatically? There are several different ways to stop the auto sync feature in iTunes, including permanent and temporary methods.
Why Stop Auto Sync?
For those who love to just connect and go, it may be hard to find a reason why anyone would want to make adding content a manual process. Think about this. If you connect your device to another computer or you remove content from your own iTunes library, any content that doesn't match will automatically be removed from your iPod or iPhone. This is the downside to syncing. Your device is synced to match your iTunes library. All of our iPhone's for sale are set to not sync when sold.
Many users have large libraries and store content on external drives, which may not be connected at the same time the device is. Also, if you want to share files with a friend, you don't want to automatically sync their entire collection, just a few files or albums. Another problem is the fact that many users have a library larger than their device can hold. Only add the files you want by stopping automatic syncing in iTunes.
Temporarily Stop iTunes Syncing
If you actually want to keep automatic syncing enabled but need to stop it when using a friend's computer or when connecting someone else's device, connect the iPod or iPhone and immediately hold down the Command + Option keys on a Mac or Ctrl + Alt on a PC. Hold the key combination down until iTunes has opened and has recognized your device.
The other temporary method is to immediately close iTunes the moment you connect your device. This must be done the second iTunes opens or it will begin syncing.
Changing iTunes Sync Settings
The best way to prevent iTunes from syncing an iPod or iPhone automatically is by changing the sync settings in iTunes. First off, do not connect your device. Please note that you can choose your sync options when you first set up a new device on your system.
Open the iTunes software. Go to the Edit menu and select Preferences. Select the Devices tab. About midway on the screen, check the Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically box. Press OK to save your settings.
If you have already connected your device and temporarily stopped the sync process, you also have the option of stopping syncing on a single device. Select your device from the source column in iTunes and choose Options. Check the Manually manage songs and playlists box.
When you first connect a new device, complete the iTunes device setup process. In the summary window, check the Manually manage music and videos check box before completing the setup.
You can change your sync options at any time for a single device or all devices. When using the manual sync option, drag and drop the content you want to your iPod, iPhone or iPad. You can add single files, such as a song or video, albums or groups of files by using the Ctrl (PC) or Command (Mac) key while selecting files.