Connect your iPod to gtkpod

Jack Wallen
Dec 26, 2008
Updated • Jul 8, 2014

You're new to Linux. You have managed to figure your way around the desktop and you have become accustomed to the application installation process. Now it's time to go about day to day business of using your newfound obsession. Of course one of the first issues you might come across is that of application abundance. With Linux there are sometimes countless applications that can handle the same process. Which one to do you use? If you are like many new users you will find an application that does what you need and then you will stop looking. But with Linux there is always something that might be a little better or suit your taste a bit more. One of those applications is gtkpod. Although gtkpod does not contain many of the advanced features of iTunes it is one of the more reliable iTunes-like applications for Linux.In this article I will show you how to connect your iPod to gtkpod.

First Steps

The first thing you need to do is to plug in your iPod and mount the device. Before you actually plug in the device there are a few tasks to take care of. The first of these tasks is to create a directory where the iPod will be mounted. As the root user issue the command mkdir /media/mp3. You can name this directory whatever you want. Once you have the directory created you can plug in your iPod. Now issue the command dmesg so we can find out where your iPod was detected. When dmesg has completed you will see output like:

sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] 58605120 512-byte hardware sectors (30006 MB)
sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 68 00 00 08
sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] 58605120 512-byte hardware sectors (30006 MB)
sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 68 00 00 08
sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
sdb: sdb1 sdb2

As you can see my iPod was listed at /dev/sdb. So now we know what entry to add to /etc/fstab. As the root user again open up /etc/fstab and append the following line:

/dev/sdb2 /media/mp3 auto ro,noauto,user 0 0

NOTE: The above line will vary depending upon where your iPod was detected and what directory you created for mounting purposes.

With your fstab entry in place exit out of the root user and issue the command mount /media/mp3 (Where mp3 is the directory you created for mounting purposes).

If you issue the command ls /media/mp3 you should now see the contents of your iPod. And with the iPod mounted gtkpod should automatically detecte the iPod.

Fire it up!

Now it's time to open up gtkpod. This will most likely be in your Audio/Video or Multimedia menu subdirectory of the Main Menu. If you do not find it you will have to install it. Most distributions do not include gtkpod by default. If yo open up the Add/Remove Applications utility you can find it doing a search for "gtkpod".

Once gtkpod is open, so long as your iPod is mounted, it should detect the device and load it.

gtkpod main window
gtkpod main window

As you can see gtkpod is pretty much a no-frills means to sync your iPod in Linux. Using gtkpod is pretty straightforward: Click to add files or directories, click Save Changes (sync), click to Load your iPod. There is only one issue that you must know about. When you are done with your iPod you need to close gtkpod and then UNMOUNT your iPod! To unmount your iPod go back to the command line and issue the command umount /media/mp3 Where mp3 is the actual directory where you have mounted your device. If you do not unmount your device you risk losing your data.

Final Thoughts

Gtkpod is one of the most reliable iPod managing tools in Linux. Sure there are far better multi-media players (such as Banshee or Amarok), but their iPod support can be flakey at best. Give gtkpod a try. If you're looking for a reliable way to sync your iPod in Linux, this might be it.


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  1. GetEbooks.Info said on April 15, 2009 at 5:52 am

    nice article

  2. Craig said on March 10, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    How do I eject (unmount) my ipod using gtkpod?

  3. pau1 said on December 29, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    nice article, but important to note this will not work with the latest ipod’s, specifically the second generation ipod touch. apple has locked these down pretty well (at this point)

  4. Mimzy said on December 28, 2008 at 12:44 am

    Does this support album art for the newest iPod Nano? I have yet to find a Linux app that does…

  5. johnboy said on December 27, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Might I suggest Floola.. It is open source and cross-platform. I’ve used it for a couple of years and it works great for me. They seem to issue updates every couple of months so you know it’s active! Give it a go!

  6. jack said on December 27, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    it’s just the default font. that was taken on my laptop. i’ll have to fire it up later and take a looksee.

  7. jegor said on December 27, 2008 at 11:21 am

    what kind of font are you using?

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