Syncing an iPod with macOS Catalina

With the breakup of iTunes, the USB-based syncing of iPods and iOS devices has been moved into Finder. While I am fully on the Apple Music train, there are many users who still plug in their devices to move media onto them, and I’m glad macOS Catalina has been engineered with those users in mind.

When you plug in an iPod to a Mac running Catalina, the device appears in the Finder sidebar,1 and clicking it reveals a wide range of syncing options, organized in a much nicer fashion that what is found in iTunes 12:

As you would imagine, each section in this interface surfaces content across various apps on the system. For example, Finder sees the local files I have in the new Music app:

The same is true for videos. Here, I have a local file that I simply dragged from Finder into the TV app, and Finder sees it, ready to sync it to my iPod:

If all of this seems a bit simple and obvious, it is. Apple’s done a good job at keeping support for its older media ecosystem intact, just tucked away out of sight so the new one can shine.

  1. In this example, I am using a 7th-generation iPod nano. Even though Finder has Disk Mode disabled, the iPod still shows up as a mass storage device. I’m assuming that’s a bug in this early beta. I would have used one of my much older iPods, but my Catalina test machine is a 12-inch MacBook, so I can’t adapt back to FireWire with it.